Alumna Helps NYC Nonprofits from Home in Minnesota During Pandemic

Victoria Turcios Laparra
Victoria Turcios Laparra

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused her internship to be canceled, freelance graphic designer and ThreeSixty Journalism alumna Victoria Turcios Laparra wasn’t fazed. It was just another change.   

“Change is the only constant there is,” Turcios Laparra said.   

A recent college graduate, Turcios Laparra, 25, immigrated from Guatemala to Minnesota in 2002. In 2020, her life was flipped upside down when she almost lost her father in a car accident. Last spring, she didn’t get to walk during her college graduation. Despite this, she shows resilience in her everyday life regardless of the changes life throws at her.  

This mindset is not used only in her personal life, but also in her career. As a freelancer, embracing change has become second nature — and giving a voice to her clients whose stories may go unheard.  

On her website, Turcios Laparra has a section dedicated to the work that she’s done related to social impact. Because of her experience growing up as an immigrant, she has a special place for stories that make a change. Some of her projects include designing business cards for The Coven, a community working space for women, nonbinary and transgender people, as well as designing suicide prevention posters for the Indigenous Peoples Task Force. These posters are now posted at bus shelters around the Twin Cities.   

This summer, she had the opportunity to intern with the GROWTH Initiative Fellowship. Because of the current pandemic, she participated in the internship virtually.  She and her fellow interns were placed into teams of about 15 people. These “mini agencies” worked with New York City-based nonprofits to help spread the word about the work they do. They even created a TV ad.  

Her other work ranges from designing websites for startups to creating posters to inform the public about the impact of wildfires on our ecosystems. As a freelancer, she is able to select her clients.  

“I really like to create relationships with my clients so that I can get to know them better,” Turcios Laparra said. “They can share their stories with me; that requires a lot of trust for it to come out and look visually well and be well executed.”  

Her career thrives on change. When a new trend emerges, everything changes.   

“I constantly need to be pivoting and reinventing the wheel of my work,” Turcios Laparra said.  

“Change is always going to be a constant for me,” Turcios Laparra said. “It’s not necessarily like, ‘Oh man, I’m doomed. Life is doomed, everything is going to go down the drain at some point.’ I think that it’s more about being OK with not being OK and being comfortable with the uncomfortable.”  

Next for Turcios Laparra is a new job with Target. She will be taking on a digital designer contractor position, designing content for their website in categories like women’s clothing and accessories. This is a great fit for her, since she writes a style blog and has done styling for fashion weeks and photo shoots.    

As for what the future holds, Turcios Laparra is uncertain. But while others might fear not knowing, Turcios Laparra thrives on it. She continues to learn, grow and change in response to her environment, all while sharing it with the world through her art.