Student and staff’s tattoos and the stories behind them


Erik Prokop

Social Media Professor Rhon Teruelle, who was a member of several punk and alternative bands before entering academia, now proudly displays tattoos that decorate his body. But until he earned his doctorate, he used to hide them.

Call it what you want: Work of art, religious expression, personal narrative, drunken impulse or bad decision.

When it comes to tattoos, they may also be threats to landing your dream job if hiring officers disapprove.

“Tattoos should never be distracting, things like tear drop tattoos definitely won’t fly,” said human resources instructor Ravi Ramani. “I don’t necessarily want to do business with someone who flaunts that they’ve killed . . . if you are going for a more buttoned up job, keep them all covered.”

A quick tour of PNW’s cafés, lounges, game rooms, bathrooms and offices turned up a variety of unconventional tattoos. After sharing stories of deep meaning and intoxication that led to the body art, most students say tattoos are becoming much more acceptable in the working world. They feel the stigma around tattoos is dying out, figuratively and literally.

“It’s a generational thing,” said senior Nathan Marciniac, brandishing a Billie Eilish portrait on his right shoulder. “Generations before us can’t stand them. Younger people don’t care.”

One Hospitality and Tourism Management student relaxing by the PNW ping pong tables in SULB showed a very visible wolf tattoo on his right forearm. He shared an explanation into the meaning behind the animal.

“You’re going to want to make bullet points for this,” said Chris Vasovic. “One, wolfpack. Two, I see myself as a leader. Three, it’s my favorite animal. . .Tattoos are becoming more accepted. They don’t define what a person can do, it’s just putting on another piece of jewelry.”

Tattoos come with some negative stereotypes, whether that poses a threat to your career aspirations is up to your hiring officer.

“Tattoos did come with the stigma of gang and deviant behaviors,” said Ramani. “Definitely wouldn’t recommend anything on the face or hands showing your involvement in gangs.”

Social media instructor Rhon Teurelle hid all his tattoos until earning a doctorate.

“I’ve never encountered any hiccups going for jobs, the humanities and social sciences are pretty relaxed. But I did keep them covered because of the stigma. Don’t want to risk that sort of thing,” said Teurelle, displaying a very intricate Spider-Man on his right arm. “I do see tattoos becoming a lot more common in the professional world. My doctor has some, so that says a lot.”

PNW students’ care-free attitudes say they are not worried about finding jobs in the future. Most tattoos typically found on campus were small and not gang related. PNW’s ink included roses, animals, poetic words, way too many butterflies and a small character from “A Bug’s Life” that Kensey Lee, a PNW biology major shared with her sister.

“We were both sisters and loved ‘A Bug’s Life’,” said Lee. “If I lose my job because of this, I’m going to share some strong words with whoever thinks it is inappropriate.”