"Well, I think working for the aquarium is a luxury in many ways...We've been so welcomed by the community and the aquarium has been so successful that it allows us to make the best exhibits we possibly can. Also, we're right here on the ocean and we're tapped into marine life...It's there and I can go see it anytime I want."
Meet Jody Armstrong Stebben
There are many steps to the team effort of designing an exhibit. It's usually a two-year process that begins with brainstorming ideas about a marine topic. Jody does research and architectural drawings to decide how to present these ideas and messages in a three-dimensional form.
How did you land a job here?
"I once had a job as a maid cleaning rooms and one of the rooms had a balcony. One day I went out onto the balcony and looked out and noticed there were people doing landscaping. There was a woman directing men with this big equipment and I thought to myself, 'That's what I want to do. I want to direct building stuff' and somehow I ended up in the exhibit world."
Jody graduated from Southwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA). She majored in graphic design and minored in business.
During school, she worked doing free-lance design work. She started her own business silk screening signs and, eventually, ended up landing a job at the aquarium.
"If you go into any kind of design, it's good to get a really broad base. Even though everything's computerized now, you should really develop your drawing skills because that helps you create and get your ideas across. Definitely take graphic design because it's a whole field in itself. If you want to get more into three-dimensional design, take classes in architecture, industrial design or exhibit design. In any field, you really need strong writing skills because that's how you communicate. If you know where you want to go, it's a lot easier to get there."