Guilherme Atanes de Jesus

Guilherme Atanes de Jesus came to the United States from Brazil, moved from a community college in Seattle to a Division I soccer school in South Carolina (had to deal with transfer credits) and graduated with a degree in psychology. He started off with a dream of becoming a professional soccer player and is now a user experience/user interface designer. 

This is his story: 

My dream was to be a professional soccer player.

There were a lot of challenges because of the goalkeeping position I played. I was pushing myself and trying to be the best that I could, because in Brazil, soccer is very big and pretty much 99% of the kids in Brazil dream to be a professional soccer players and help their families and stuff like that.

I grew up on the soccer field, playing every day. School was kind of like a secondary thing for me. I was always like pushing my schedule around soccer.

Once I reached a certain age in Brazil, I saw that soccer was going to be very hard for me to pursue. They said I was too small to be a goalkeeper, so I had to think about other options. Then, I dreamed to leave Brazil and go live in Sweden.

So I did a deal with my mom. If I could find a house or an apartment in Sweden, I could go. She said that because she thought I was never going to find something all the way from Brazil, especially with barley speaking English and no Swedish. But I had a friend who lived in there, and she found me apartment.

When I got the paperwork and showed it to my mom, she was like, “oh my God, you’re actually serious about that.” When I told her yes, she suggested I go to the United States, because it would be closer and there were known companies for helping people get settled.

I came to America, because my mom was afraid that I would get kidnapped in Sweden or something.

So that was definitely a deviation from the path I wanted, but it still helped me in my career for sure.

I was in Seattle playing soccer at a community college, Peninsula College, for the first two years of my university life. Then, Winthrop University saw me after my second year of college and asked me to transfer to play for them.

gui work 4
Wystle, an app designed by Atanes de Jesus

When I was still in Brazil, I started to play around with some design work. I was doing small brand stuff like logos, prints, business cards and stuff like that. Back in the day, we didn’t have Adobe. I was pretty much just using stuff like paint.

So I had that design background, and then when I moved to United States, I started learning about the more user-centered design. For example, creating applications and websites based on user needs and user research.

When I transferred to Winthrop, I wanted to do a marketing degree. I thought it aligned with the path of designing websites and applications, because of the user research part of it, but then I didn’t get into the marking program because of my transfer credits. Unfortunately, not all of them transferred.

So, I ended up with a psychology major and degree and it was actually really helpful. It was like accidental help for my career, because then I really focused on the research part of psychology, like understanding people, feelings and behaviors. That really made my passion for user experience design grow, just because I could better understand how people interact with certain stuff and how feelings can affect the rate of the interaction. I transfer that into what I do today.

In the last semester at Winthrop, I had my first real work experience. I was working with this company down in Charleston on applications. It’s called Lunch Peers It’s an application development agency that helps startups.

gui app
Walkabout Travels, an app designed by Atanes de Jesus

I started working with five to 10 different startups creating the applications. I was doing design, workflow, wire framing and branding. At this point, I was actually really doing what I wanted to do.

Being in a creative field, you always have doubts. You never know if what you doing actually is going to help. When you develop applications, you’re developing them to help better people’s everyday life. So, you know, you always have that doubt that it might not help.

When I started, they gave me a big responsibility, so I was excited, but definitely scared of like messing up and not getting users to download the app because it would not be friendly enough.

My two biggest focuses of inspiration would be Elon Musk, just because what he does with SpaceX and Tesla. The design aspect of Tesla is amazing- beautiful and user-friendly.

The other focus of inspiration would be Steven Jobs, because the way that he revolutionized Apple. I mean, he pretty much started my industry. When he came up with the first iPhone, that’s when really we found out about app design and user experience and stuff like that.

Gui’s Advice:

Just do it.

Never stop pursuing what you what your goals are. I mean you definitely will have diversions on your path to get to where you want, and maybe one of those diversions, like mine, will be good for you. They show you different pathways that you never expected.

Also, don’t be afraid to try new things even though it’s very scary. You don’t know what is on the other side until you actually do it.

Deianna Hamilton

Deienna Hamilton, of Acworth Georgia, is currently a marketing and communications coordinator at Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities as well as a wedding planner (on the side, of course). Hamilton grew up thinking she was going to follow in her mother’s footsteps and join her in the marketing world, which she did with her mother’s help, guidance and support along the way.

This is her story:

Honestly growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I actually have the notebook of these terrible designs that I try to draw and sketch and I really thought I was going to be a fashion designer, which actually transitioned into me not wanting to design, but wanting to open my own clothing store for difficult body types. I didn’t like that there were a lot of clothing lines that just fit one type of body.

So I knew I loved fashion, but I also knew I was not the best at designing, so I thought about opening a business That’s actually when I decided to major in business marketing, because I spoke with my mom and dad and they also thought that the best thing would be to learn about the ins and out of business while also promoting it.

After my first year and a half, I was like, yeah, this is not for me. I knew I needed to figure something else out, because my parents were very big into telling me “whatever you do, you don’t want it to feel like a job, so you won’t dread getting up in the morning.” So that was what I originally wanted to do, but it’s not what I ended up doing.

After I decided business marketing wasn’t for me, I realized there were certain aspects of marketing that I really enjoyed and that’s when I transitioned into being a mass communication major.

My mom was in marketing all of her life and I want to work with her so much. So marketing was, kind of, the only thing I really knew. I saw aspects of her job that I really enjoyed, which were more on the human interaction and branding side. That’s when she told me more about the marketing field.

After I met with my first ever mass communication professor, he was also my broadcast journalism teacher, he told me that I have a gift for displaying messages effectively. He was probably the first person that made me realize my love for the art of communication. His name is Dr. Schiffman. He probably doesn’t even know, but he’s the reason I’m in the field I’m in now.

So I thought after I didn’t want to open my own fashion business, I wanted to become the next Oprah. In all my classes, that’s what I said. In my mind I was like, watch out like I’m going to have my own network and everything.

I actually pursued that path very strongly and I decided to be the anchor for our news station and I wanted to produce it, so I could have a super-heavy resume to submit to all the new stations around. I just had this easy formula and I thought it was going to work out, but once I was actually in it, I found out that it was not what I wanted to do at all.

I was even speaking to people at CNN or Channel 2 Action News, which is a very big station in Atlanta and I still didn’t have that passion and I felt like there was a roadblock.

I didn’t know what it was but I knew something was missing. My mom told me “why don’t you just take a break and do some self-reflection on what you think it is you’re good at and what part of the communication field you really can see yourself.”

And once I focused more on PR [public relations], social media and basically everything except for being in front of the camera, that’s when I was like, okay, I think I can really do this.

I looked online and saw an internship at the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta, and I had so many personal things going on at that time. It was like family stuff, like relationships ending, all of that kind of, you know, that stuff.

I was very discouraged because of personal things plus thinking my education was not going to work out for me, but as soon as I walked through those doors at the Ronald McDonald House, everything that I was like super worried about literally evaporated.

It was just so big for me and so important. It showed me that my problems don’t matter. It’s funny that God just showed me the Ronald McDonald House at the right time. Ever since I walked through those doors, I knew I wanted to work there. I thought from the beginning, I don’t know how I’m going to make it happen, but I’m going to get this internship and I’m going to work here. So it was a long road, but I got there.

ARMHCJust knowing that you have a job that’s impacting families in serious need, you can’t even really be in a bad mood. It shows you that your problems really aren’t problems. You’re not battling for your life at the moment. You’re just upset because you got broke up with. You know, it puts your problems in a different light. So as soon as I was able to see that firsthand, I just knew and it clicked like nothing else before.

Basically, during those hard times, my mom became my therapist. I always tell people I’m like a mini version of my mom, but she’s way better than I am. My mom’s my best friend. I always tell people the best thing you can do is take care of you. So a lot of that means having alone time, reading, working out, finding a new hobby. Whatever self-care it is, it’s going to help get you through those hard times.

So my thing was volunteering. Helping other people helps me internally. Volunteering was a self-care thing that I did, and I think that also showed me my passion for volunteerism and nonprofits, which trickled into a career for me. So it’s funny how when you take care of yourself, all these answers come up.

For me, success is having peace within everything you do and going towards something that has a bigger meaning each day. I think I’ve reached that. I’m at the point now where I’m just trying to have fun while living my life. I actually ended up taking on a second job being a wedding coordinator. I love weddings and I always wanted to know the ins and outs.

I feel like I’m at that point in my life where I’m not trying to obtain this huge goal of trying impress other people, I’m just trying to live my life for me and these things, like becoming a wedding coordinator, just end up coming to me. But like I said, I’m doing what I love.


Enjoy the ride and you don’t have to have it all figured out. I think so many people think as soon as they graduate college, they have to have this super good job at a Fortune 500 company making six figures living in this amazing apartment with a Range Rover, and that’s just so not true.

Enjoy the process, soak up everything you learn and while you’re doing that- learn more about yourself, so you can get to that high place that you want and it’ll just happen naturally.

Want to learn more about Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, current internship opportunities or have any questions about trying to figure out if marketing (or your current major) is right for you? Let us know your thoughts, and we can shoot over some information!