About Forge

Are you a budding designer, future PR pro, aspiring copywriter, avid videographer or developer in training? Spark your creative career with Forge, Emspace’s professional development program for college students.

Selected students will explore the creative process, how teams collaborate and what it takes to deliver the best work.

Qualified applicants must be in the second half of their degree program or recent graduates of a college or university. Creative professionals from the Omaha area will join Emspace to share perspectives from a variety of disciplines. Sessions will take place on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

For a first hand look at Forge, read this blog from 2016 alum, Dawaune Hayes.

Download the Forge poster


January 24

Welcome to Forge 2018!

So you applied to Forge and got accepted. Now what? We’ll jump right in with a bird’s eye overview of effective collaboration and what it’s like to work on a team with multiple disciplines, roles and priorities.


February 7

First things first: research. This session will explore how to pave your path to success by creating goals, building a solid team and making the most of client relationships.

Courtney Brewer, Live Well Omaha
Michael Watkins, Freelance writer
Liz Hunt, DayCloud Studios
Sarah Lake, Emspace


February 21

Planning is key. We’ll dig deep on setting objectives, managing timelines and deliverables, creative thinking, and strategic problem solving.

Angie Hempel, Emspace
Lisa Lorraine, Swanson Russell
Patsy Sumner
, MediaSpark
Thad Thomas, Plumb Web Strategy


March 7

The creative process is a process within a process. Where do you begin? We’ll take a look at how to overcome creative blocks, juggle projects, stay organized, and integrate development and production before you’re crunched for time.

Justin Kemerling, Designer
Nicolas Fredrickson
, Hand letterer
Patty Malone + Kyle Theobald
, Malone & Co.


March 21

Time to put everything into action. The DO session will dive into delivery, implementation and sustainability, failure to launch, tasks and management, community engagement, and how to collect, archive and MEASURE.

Anthony Banks, Thrasher
Ashley Anderson, Flywheel
Dawaune Hayes
, Forge alumnus
Jessica Pape, Regal Printing Co.


Measure — Prepare for What’s Next

April 4

Let’s celebrate! In our final session, we’ll send off our 2018 graduates with some young professional hacks — including job search advice, interview tips and guidance on creating opportunities in Omaha and beyond.

What’s more, area professionals and Forge alumni will join us to help polish those portfolios and resumes. 


Christine Dunn, 2013

Christine Dunn, 2013

“The effort to set yourself up for a career come graduation is not an overnight feat. Looking back, I continue to see and hear about the great work people are doing who were both guest speakers at Forge and participated as a student. You get out of the experience what you put into it. Get excited. Get creative and, for God’s sake, get out of your comfort zone!”

Nicolas Fredrickson, 2013

Nicolas Fredrickson, 2013

“Get your work out there, and make sure it’s your work. It’s important to recognize trends, but you won’t stand out if you replicate trends and don’t have your own style.”

Palwasha Azimi, 2015

Palwasha Azimi, 2015

“Strive to learn more. Being a one-trick pony doesn’t help you much. Try to have two or three interests — pursuing and striving to be the best you can be at those will help you build a solid foundation and maintain longevity in your career.”

Isabel Taule, 2016

Isabel Taule, 2016

“Use the connections created at Forge! Email and set up coffee dates with all of the guests, and build those relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and enjoy the great opportunity!”

Dawaune Hayes, 2016

Dawaune Hayes, 2016

“Follow your heart — it’s the conductor of life, just trust it. When you lead with deep passion, the rest will follow. That is not to say you won’t be lost or confused, as that is literally all of life, but it is alright to be afraid and/or unsure of what happens next. You will make a TON of mistakes and will often have no idea what to do, but that is when you ask for help from your peers!”

Brick Demique, 2016

Brick Demique, 2016

“I would tell a future/present Forger or anyone to never stop chasing your dreams, continue to put yourself out there even when you’re afraid, and it will all work out.”

Oliver Alonzo, 2017

Oliver Alonzo, 2017

“My advice for a future Forger would be to trust in themselves, but always stay humble! I didn’t think I had what it takes to be a Forger, but I gave it a shot and made it, so I could have trusted in myself from the beginning.”

Holly Johnson, 2017

Holly Johnson, 2017

“If I could give any advice to any future Forger, it’d be to embrace it! Realize the speakers you’re hearing from are some of the greats in their fields and learning how to think and speak like them can make YOU one of the greats. Keep an open mind about each topic you hear about. It’s really an amazing experience that has been crucial in my career thus far. Put yourself out there, apply and grow!”


Rico Childs

Graphic Design, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dafnis Delgado

PR & Graphic Design, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Allie Dobberpuhl

Web Design & Development, Creighton University

Lizzie Erftmier

PR & Marketing, Creighton University

Sophie Ford

Graphic Design & Social Media, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Lyle Kwiatkowski

Videography, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Brooke Lehman

Branding & Event Planning, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Paul Meyer

Graphic Design, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Liz Milke

Hand Lettering & Illustration, Southeast Community College

Katie O'Neil

Copywriting, University of Nebraska at Lincoln


Oliver Alonzo

Design and Web Development, Creighton University

Kristina Beiermann

Graphic Design, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Connor Brandt

Freelance Designer

Sydney Davidson

Events and Alumni Manager, Omaha Central High School Foundation

Evynne Doue

Designer and Developer, Appsky Labs, LLC

Kerrigan Flynn

Journalism & Media Communication, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Kylie Holman

Webmaster and Brand Manager, Job's Daughters International

Holly Johnson

Web Designer/Developer, University of Nebraska

Mackenzie Millard

Account Coordinator, Mirata Marketing

Ingrid Najera

Graphic Designer, Nature Hills Nursery


Brittany Bengtson

Marketing Communications Specialist, LovelySkin.com

Brick Demique

Student, Creighton University

Cody Fenske

Graphic Designer, Clark Creative Group

Dawaune Hayes

Communications Manager, The Union for Contemporary Art

Danielle Kosalka

Banquet Intern, Tiburon Golf Club

Marilynn Martinez

Violinist/Vocalist, Mariachi Zapata

Teresa Patten

Metropolitan Community College Graduate

Sebastian Rodriguez

Freelance Photo Editor, Hearst Digital Media

Michael Stevens

Graphic Designer, Bozell

Isabel Taule

Community Liaison, Agape Red


Jake Anderson

Copy Writer, Omaha World-Herald

Palwasha Azimi

Animation Student, Rochester Institute of Technology

Sarah Bergeron

Graphic Designer, HDR

Angela Eastep

Marketing Manager, Reinhart Foodservice

Ellesandra Meyer

University of Nebraska at Lincoln Graduate

Molly Misek

Designer, Emspace

Catherine Norris

Freelance Designer

Nicole Palafox

Freelance Photographer

Maria Watson

Transition Support Specialist, Portland OIC/Rosemary Anderson High School

Tiffany Wieser

Designer, opendorse


Alyssa Brunswick

Web Designer, Oriental Trading Company

Kyle Christensen

Graphic Design Team Lead, Red Branch Media

Josh Collinsworth

Happiness Engineer, Flywheel and WordPress Instructor

Monica Ghali

MSN Candidate 2017, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

Samantha Hegge

Graphic Designer, HDR

Emily Hoffman

University of Nebraska at Omaha Graduate

Billy Sobczyk

Executive Director, Omaha Jitterbugs

Shelly Xiong

Web Developer/Designer, United States Air Force


Devin Bertelsen

Marketing Director, Heuser & Heuser, L.L.P.

Michael Bruening

University of Nebraska at Omaha Graduate

Nick Chickinelli

Product Designer, Flywheel

Kristi Doran

Creative Design Specialist, Professional Research Consultants, Inc.

Christine Dunn

Event Project Coordinator, Vic Gutman and Associates

Nicolas Fredrickson

Hand Letterer, Nicolas Fredrickson | Design & Lettering

Kathy Jurek

Freelance Artist/Illustrator, Kathy Jurek Art & Illustration

Elisa Lau

University of Nebraska at Omaha Graduate

Christian Peterson

Metropolitan Community College Graduate