Kristina Jesena ’04

What have you done (personally and professionally) since you graduated from Mayfield?

After graduating MJS and Mayfield Senior, I received my bachelor's degree in landscape architecture and fine arts from UC Davis then my master's in environmental design from Art Center College of Design. A chance encounter during my graduation grad show led me to WET Design in Burbank, an integrated architecture, design, manufacturing and engineering firm known for projects such as the Bellagio Fountain, the Dubai Fountain, and the Mirage Volcano. As a senior designer, I lead the design of such projects - the most recent being the world’s tallest indoor water screen in Beijing, China. I use a material palette of water, fire, ice, light and projection to create these shared experiences all over the world. To get inspired, I look to the cities I visit, the people that live there, their stories, the landscape, and even the food! It all informs the design, and further enhances the story of a place. 

Most of my spare time is devoted to other creative endeavors from pottery to stop motion animations. I created a stop motion animation using watercolor called "Sync or Sink."

Has your Mayfield education contributed/influenced who you’ve become (personally and professionally)?

At Mayfield, particularly in Ms. Wong’s art classes, we learn about color and how to draw shapes. We paste together pieces of paper to create form. Most important of all, we learn how to use our imagination. All of these things, I still very much apply to my professional life today.

What is your favorite Mayfield memory?

In third grade, we were each given a caterpillar to raise as an exercise in metamorphosis.  We built small habitats for them out of shoeboxes.  My caterpillar, Greg, had a shoebox home with large paned windows, a chimney that sat on top of scallop-shaped shingles and a cardboard “Home Sweet Home” welcome rug. Greg became a beautiful butterfly. 

Name one thing you learned at Mayfield and have never forgotten.

Actions not words and the value of friendships. My best friends are from Mayfield. 

What is one thing making you happy right now?

I started to learn golf from my dad which has been a huge challenge but has also brought me a lot of joy. I’ve been going in the mornings and found it was a great way to start the work day. I’ve also always loved cooking and baking. The the pandemic has given me so much more time to explore new and interesting recipes.    

What advice would you pass on to current students?

Follow your passions and be open to all experiences. The dots will connect in the end. 

Mayfield Junior School

Located in Pasadena, California, Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus is a K-8 Catholic coeducational private school. Our kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school experience best prepares students for high school education and beyond.