A Redesign for my Life


It’s not always easy to make a change. Taking a leap of faith, Hannah Kretzschmar ventured out from the status quo and uncovered a whole new world waiting to be explored. 

by Hannah Kretzschmar, Class of 2007
St. Agnes ‘11 • Arizona State University ‘16 


I think Presbyterian School prepared me really well for life. One of the best things that PS expects in its students is a certain level of maturity. Of course, we were still allowed to be kids, but I think PS instilled a sense of responsibility that a lot of my friends didn’t seem to get from their own K-8 school experiences. I’m extremely grateful for Presbyterian School because even in high school I could tell that I was better prepared for the real world.

I thought I wanted to be an architect when I came to 
Arizona State University. I had grown up around beautiful homes and since my dad was a lighting designer, I was inspired to study architecture. However, I quickly found out that architecture was another year to my college career. All of the design programs at ASU are extremely intensive with an expectation that students contribute 20-40 hours of work outside of class every week.  I won the ASU Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration design campaign (www.asu.edu/mlk or on social media with #reflectmlk), and my work was featured prominently across all five ASU campuses this year, as well as at the annualbreakfast celebration. More of my work is featured online at www.hmkretzschmar.com. Design has ended up being my passion. I truly love what I do, and I have learned that if you love what you do, you’ll dedicate your life to it. . . and it won’t even seem like work. definitely not for me. I decided to switch to graphic design even though it would add 

I draw inspiration for the work I do from the world around me.  When I am starting a new project, I do a great deal of brainstorming and list-making before I even start sketching a concept. ASU’s program has a very strong base in the fundamentals of graphic design, so I’m always able to draw on that foundation when I get stuck. I also follow lots of graphic designers on Instagram and Tumblr, and I find www.designspiration.net to be a great resource as well.

This past summer, I interned at an app design firm in Beverly Hills. One of my bosses was asked to create a presentation for a new non-profit called the Hidden Tears Project (HTP), which focuses specifically on child trafficking in the United States. Long story short, he gave the project to me, and I became the lead graphic designer. I made investor pitch decks, social media graphics, invitations, and so much more – and then I got to walk my first Hollywood red carpet! Since I spent so much time researching and doing design related work about human trafficking, it was an easy decision to choose human trafficking as my senior social issue thesis. 

I could write pages about what I’ve learned while researching this issue, but I think I can sum it up in a few sentences: Human trafficking is a deplorable industry that plagues every single country in the world, including the United States. The fastest way to end this underground industry is to bring it to the surface and to talk about it. Because it often involves sex, it’s become a taboo issue, but there shouldn’t be anything taboo about fighting to end modern-day slavery. You can read all about my senior social issue project and more about human trafficking at www.thepriorityproject.org. I designed this website and am currently looking for investors for the iOS app development. I hope that the Priority Project will go viral and that people will start to talk about this issue and feel more comfortable reporting tips to the hotline. 

My advice to current PS students is don’t be afraid to fail. Fail fast and fail hard – otherwise you’ll spend too much time on dead ends when you could’ve already discovered the solution. If it weren’t for my failure in architecture, I never would have changed my major and discovered my true passion. 

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