The Journey to Become an ACA Champion

The journey from Las Vegas to Anaheim only takes about four hours. However, Las Vegas native and UNLV student, Ana Katarina Charvet, knows that her journey from Vegas to Anaheim for the 2017 ACA World Championship was much longer.

Ana Katarina, known by her friends as Kai, earned her Adobe Illustrator certification in June 2017, and prepped for months to compete in the 2017 ACA World Championship. Her dedication definitely paid off. Little did she know that her hard work would win her the first place prize and a $7,000 scholarship!

We couldn’t wait to find out more about Kai’s journey, her thoughts on the ACA World Championship, and her plans for the future. Check out our exclusive interview:

Certiport: Let’s talk about the ACA certification itself. How has certification helped you achieve your goals?

Kai: My Illustrator certification is only the beginning. After receiving it and experiencing the ACA World Championship, I want to learn more. I’m working towards getting my Photoshop and InDesign certifications and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and New Media at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Certiport: That’s fantastic! In addition to helping with your education, what other opportunities have opened up for you because of you Adobe certification and your participation in the ACA World Championship?

Kai: The ACA Competition has opened many new doors for me and my career. I’ve been offered internships, part-time, and freelance positions that will help me further my learning of design, and I’m grateful to Certiport for giving students around the world the chance to show their talent and skill.

Certiport: How awesome that you get to do what you love to put yourself through college! I’m sure you’d recommend the competition to other students as well then…

Kai: I would definitely recommend everybody who has a passion for graphic design to certify and compete in the ACA Championship! It’s not like anything I’d ever done before, and it was such an incredible experience. I met new people and it was such a thrill to see other people’s work and get so inspired by others.

Certiport: Absolutely! We’re inspired every single year by the students who compete. You all have such amazing talent. As the winner of the competition, what are three things you learned and would share as advice for others participating in the competition in the future?

Kai: One thing I learned is to read the directions carefully and list out everything the client wants. It’s going to be a total waste of time for you to spend hours working on something they don’t even need!

I also learned to take my time and use it to my advantage. So don’t be afraid to go through the ENTIRE design process, and never underestimate the power of brainstorming and drafting! It will make it so much easier when transferring ideas onto the computer because you know the basic composition and concept. Save often and double check your work towards the end. Because you have the time at the competition, walk out of the room proud of what you’ve made!

And my last piece of advice for students participating in the competition is to make new friends! Meet with others and don’t be afraid to talk to them. They’re probably just as nervous or shy. Even more so because it may be their first time in the United States! Be supportive of each other’s work and make long-lasting connections!

Certiport: That is awesome advice and I’m sure our future competitors will apply that. One more question: What was your favorite part of participating in the ACA World Championship?

Kai: I think the best part of the ACA Championship is that it shows us the impact of design and what a powerful tool it can be to bring people together. We live in a time where our differences, unfortunately, still divide us. However, because design is subjective, fluid, and expansive, it creates an environment of sharing and creativity. We learn from each other because of where we come from, what we learn, and who we have grown to be. I wish I had more time to spend with all of my peers from the ACA World Championship because I know I could discover so much more about design and their worlds.

You can also catch Kai’s video interview from the 2017 ACA World Championship here.

Your students can have amazing experiences, just like Kai! Learn how to help them qualify at