By: Bianca De Paz

What Matters to U Graphic Designer and graduating senior James Coccaro reflects on taking a leap of faith in his sophomore year after switching his major from pre-med to creative advertising.

He decided to take a different approach and take several career quizzes that he came across online with results related to either graphic design or advertising, which stimulated his interest in wanting to learn more about the creative field.

“Once I began taking a few intro to graphic design and advertising courses, I ended up enjoying it and knew it was the right fit for me,” said Coccaro.

Despite being late to the creative game, his professors were supportive during his transition and guided him in the right direction.

Now, as a senior, he’s had the chance of being the graphic designer for the What Matters to U Agency (WMTU), the newest addition to the student government family and discussion series that brings thought leaders and change-makers to explore topics with students.

Coccaro has been able to rebrand their social platforms and meet stars such as Josh Peck and coming up on Tuesday, March 29th, Miami’s very own –– Pitbull and Mr. 305.

“I’m glad my friend, Meera Patel, the Chair of What Matters to U, reached out to me last summer,” Coccaro said. “It was another creative part of my journey that made me realize I love what I’m doing and where I’m at.”

Aside from being the graphic designer for What Matters to U, Coccaro is the Vice President of Creative Development for Orange Umbrella, Former Content Creation Chair for UThrift, and a resident assistant for on-campus students.

As the Vice President of Creative Development for Orange Umbrella, his role is project-based and consists of generating creative materials for clients across a wide range of media to help build their businesses grow.

Through his hard work and being a sponge, he was able to pick up all the skills a creative should have, while being fun.

“As a creative, you have to have fun and be weird, and this is the field you can do that in,” Coccaro said.

For more information about What Matters to U, visit and to learn more about James’ projects and what he’s been up to lately, check out his new portfolio: