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Abby Licht paintingJunior transfer student Abby Licht is from Coldwater, a small town with a close-knit community similar to Olivet. She is majoring in graphic design and visual arts with a studio art concentration. In addition, Abby is the vice president of Art Alliance, a student group dedicated to supporting the arts, and president of the Pokemon GO Club, which Abby started. After graduation, Abby hopes to work as a professional graphic designer, fueled by her life-long passions for art and building relationships. Recently, Abby’s artwork was even selected for a mural in her hometown and displayed in an exclusive gallery in Charlotte.

Read more about how her graphic design background is preparing her for academic and career success.  

I started my college journey at a well-known community college and transferred to Olivet College in the fall of 2019. It seems like yesterday I was in high school, deciding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and feeling anxious because I had no idea. My time at Olivet College has truly helped me find my way, and I feel secure about what I’m going to do with my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and discover myself.

During my time attending community college, I had the pleasure of having Don VanAuken, Olivet College adjunct professor of art, as my professor for a drawing class. He saw my work and encouraged me to visit OC and apply for an art scholarship. When I visited the campus, I knew that I would love it. One of the biggest factors in my decision to attend was how personable and knowledgeable the art program professors were. Professor of Art Gary Wertheimer and Professor VanAuken knew all of the art majors by name without having to look at an attendance sheet. I am a student that learns better in small classes with one-on-one interactions with professors, so this really stood out to me. Another factor that stood out to me was the overwhelming financial assistance I received from Olivet. As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, financial aid made it possible for me to attend college without placing a strain on my financial situation.

Abby Licht dipping a paintbrush in paintThe endless support I get from my professors in my art classes is one of the biggest things that keeps me motivated. Professor VanAuken supports me any way he can. He’s like the dad of the art program, and the students are his children. Any time one of his students accomplishes something, he’s the first one to make sure everyone at Olivet knows about it. I will be forever grateful for all the support and encouragement Professor VanAuken has given me.

Last semester, I submitted a design to a mural contest hosted by Interact, a Coldwater High School student club focused on service, and my artwork was selected. I attended Coldwater High School and was a member of Interact as a student. Professor VanAuken still tells me how proud he is of me, even though my design was chosen in December. The important part about my design was that it was similar to those displayed in neighboring towns, such as Marshall, Quincy and Bronson. I used the Marshall mural in particular as an inspiration for my design. I chose important landmarks that signify the city of Coldwater, while also including unique landmarks that I remember from growing up there. For example, I included a sketch of a bridge at a local park that I crossed to go to our local fairgrounds as a child. I put a lot of thought and sentiment into the design, which made winning the contest even more special. It was an honor for me to be chosen by a club that I used to be a member of and to have the opportunity to give back to my community once again. Recently, the location of the mural was chosen by the city of Coldwater, and the creation of the mural will begin later this year.

Another great experience was displaying my artwork at the Windwalker Gallery in Charlotte this semester. This project was a part of Art Alliance, of which I am the vice president. The most rewarding part about the experience was to see the hard work pay off at the event reception. We had an amazing turnout and everything ran smoothly, which made for a fun and relaxing evening surrounded by friends, colleagues and family. I had a blast getting to lead such an amazing project, and we plan to repeat the event in the future.

My experience as a Comet has helped me learn more about myself and better envision my future. I’ve made so many new friends and connected with my professors and other staff members. It all has helped me focus on discovering myself and where I want to be in my future. I have found a support system that I can rely on to be there for me when I need it most. I hope to continue growing and developing during the rest of my time at Olivet College.Abby Licht with a piece of her artwork.

I would encourage a student to attend Olivet College because of the financial support offered to students, the small class sizes that give great opportunities to learn and grow, and the amazing professors and staff on campus. Everyone is extremely helpful and kind, and I feel it is truly a place where students can feel safe and discover themselves. Olivet College is more than a school — it’s a community.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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