From the start, Charlotte Cannon had always known that she wanted to attend Virginia Tech. A passionate art student since childhood, Cannon was determined to pursue an education in both of her passions - graphic design and cello performance.

“The biggest thing that drew me to Virginia Tech was the fact that I could do both music and design, I looked at other universities but this was really the place where I felt supported by the faculty and by the school itself to pursue my passions,” said Cannon.

Born and raised in Blacksburg, Cannon said she has always been motivated by her desire to create. “Art has always been something that I’ve been passionate about,” she explained. “I took music, art, and graphic design classes in high school and decided from there that this is what I want to do.”

Cannon, who is also a student in the Virginia Tech Honors College, accomplished exactly what she set out to do from day one. Graduating with a double major in cello performance and graphic design, she has sharpened her creative skills and continued to share her art with the world.

Employing her passion for performance and the unique opportunity to hear some of the world’s greatest artists through the School of Performing Arts and the Moss Arts Center, Cannon was able to attend a special master class with the legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 2017.

She had the unparalleled experience of performing a solo cello piece, Bach’s Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, for Ma. “It was a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget,” Cannon reflected. “He had such an amazing philosophy on music and talking to him was an otherworldly experience. It was like he considered music first and the world around him second.”

For Cannon, participation in student organizations was key in finding her style and creating her own path. She has served as creative director for PRISM, Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary advertising agency. She has also served as co-president for the AIGA student group, as a designer for Virginia Tech NASA SUITS, and as a student ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

“Working with other graphic designers and learning about new facets of design has helped me realize what I want to do and where I want to focus my design direction,” Cannon explained.

“As a creative, I am always looking for new ways to learn about design and its impact on everyday actions and these experiences with student organizations have been impactful in helping me learn that about myself.”

“Visualizing experiences and designing solutions is my passion,” Cannon continued.

“I now know that I want to go into UX/UI [user experience and user interface] design and there was no way that I would have known that at the beginning of college. I had to take on new learning opportunities and work with other designers to find out that for myself.”

After graduation, Cannon plans on taking some time to reflect on her experiences at university. She hopes to learn and grow from them before finding the place she wants to be for her career.

While Cannon may not know exactly where she wants to begin her career, she still possesses the certainty she had when she first enrolled at Virginia Tech. Wherever she ends up, Cannon is determined to continue pursuing her passion to create and to remain open to whatever new opportunities come her way.

“As long as I am somewhere where I am still passionate about what I do and where I can help and empower others through design, I know I will be happy.”

Written by Julia Vaughn