College of Technology Professor Named Woman of Distinction

Monika Zarzycka. Photo courtesy of the University of Houston.

Monika Zarzycka. Photo courtesy of the University of Houston.

Monika Zarzycka, instructional associate professor with the University of Houston College of Technology Digital Media program, was one of 10 women honored as a Woman of Distinction at the Graph Expo & Print 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. The annual award celebrates the achievements of women in the graphics communication industry.

“It’s such a great honor to be recognized as one of the Women of Distinction among many great female leaders in the graphic communications industry who were chosen for this award,” Zarzycka said. “I would like to thank Jerry Waite for supporting me and helping me strive in my career.”

The Women of Distinction designation is an industry recognition program from OutPutLinks Communication Group, which has been honoring women for 15 years. All honorees were nominated by their peers and selected based on their contributions to the industry.

Zarzycka began her teaching career at the University of Houston in 2005. She and Waite created the digital media major in 2008 and secured a six-year accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications in 2010 and in 2016. The major currently has nearly 500 students. Through university grants, Zarzycka designed interactive lessons for various courses, including those that help students improve their writing. This fall, she obtained a $25,000 Teaching Improvement Grant to utilize interactivity and gaming in online teaching.   

“Seldom in a professor’s career is it possible to watch a young student grow from an inquisitive and hardworking college student to a nationally-renown Woman of Distinction,” said Waite, coordinator of the University of Houston Digital Media program, which is housed at the Sugar Land campus. “I am fortunate because I was her teacher at the University of Houston and am now her proud colleague. Even though I’ll always consider her my ‘padawan learner,’ she’s grown to a position of national prominence and is a positive force in our digital media industry.”

Zarzycka is the former president of the Graphic Communications Education Association (GCEA), past director of college relations for the Houston Production Management Association and faculty sponsor of a student chapter of GCEA. She has published scholarly articles in the Visual Communications Journal and presented her research at numerous national and regional conferences. Zarzycka joins 117 women worldwide, representing professional, technical, entrepreneurial and management, who have been recognized by OutPutLInks Communications Group.

Originally from Poland, Zarzycka moved to United States in 1996 as a high school exchange student. Her American host family exposed her to graphic design and printing, which inspired her to pursue studies in that area. A scholarship allowed her to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of Houston College of Technology, where she earned a degree in technology leadership supervision. She later earned a master’s degree in training and development and later a Master of Divinity.