Laura Chessin feeds several passions through her teaching and research: typography, photography, documentary studies and writing, and community engagement. She earned an MFA in Graphic Design from RISD and a BFA in Photography from Cornell University. Prior to her position at VCU, she maintained her own studio in Amherst, Massachusetts focused on publication and print media design based with such clients as Smith College, Williams College, the Clark Art Institute, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Lego Corporation. As a consultant in Boston she apprenticed with designers at WGBH, Cambridge Seven Associates. She has published articles on typography, lettering arts, and design thinking and presents at several conferences annually both in the US. and abroad. An early project “Image of Safety,” combining photography with text to address issues related to domestic violence and changing public perceptions, has been exhibited extensively across the US and in Europe. Her current documentary project is an oral history of the Sharon Indian School serving the Upper Mattaponi Indian tribe of Virginia from 1919 until forced desegregation closed the school in 1964. She is the U.S. ambassador to the ICOGRADA initiative INDIGO and Associate Editor for the on line design journal MULTI.