Nov 21, 2022
First-generation student Wendy Kiesewetter ’24 calls Sarasota home, but her desire to become a professional artist led her to double major in graphic design and communication, with a minor in studio art, at Florida Southern College.
Kiesewetter is very involved in campus life as a participant in several campus organizations. She is a member of the Florida Southern College Scholars Experience, the Association of Honors Students, Lux12, the Museum Ambassadors Program, the Campus Cat Club, the Astronomy Club, Nature Enthusiasts, and Flosoco (an on-campus ocean conservation and sustainability group working towards making a positive impact through education and awareness).
She is the Advertising & Social Media Chair of the Association of Honors Students, Astronomy Club, and Nature Enthusiasts. Kiesewetter does not shy away from leadership roles.
“As a first-generation college student, of course I joined Florida Southern College Scholars Experience (FSCSE) when it started out during my freshman year,” she said. “I attended events and supported its growth from the sidelines. As the year went by, I became a peer mentor and helped freshmen first-generation students get acclimated to college life. I applied to become an intern for FSCSE at the end of my sophomore year, and that's where I am now, as a junior. In short, I've just gotten more and more involved with this organization as I continue my college journey.”
Her love of all things art made choosing a major easy for Kiesewetter. The kind of art that she was interested in evolved as she was exposed to the numerous options in the art department at FSC.
“I chose my major because I have been drawing since elementary school,” Kiesewetter said. “My affinity for doodling characters turned into an aspiration to become a professional artist. I came in as a freshman studio art student, and I was only interested in the fine arts until I took some graphic design and visual communication classes. It was then that I realized how much I love using my artistic skills for a purpose and to convey a message. The classes at FSC made me realize how impactful art can be when used strategically.”
Kiesewetter said her graphic design courses tend to be more rigorous and force her to learn quickly, while her communication classes reinforce her knowledge. She thinks her Advanced Print Design class with Professor Eric Blackmore is helping her prepare for her future career.
“The deadlines are swift, but it's worth it because I'm learning a lot about the industry and design practices from my professor,” Kiesewetter said. “We get to interact with clients and complete a range of projects to see what we like best and get exposure to whatever we can.”
The ability to tailor her internship to her major is a plus for Kiesewetter. Thomas Range, her supervisor and Director of Student Mentorship and Engagement, wants her experience as an FSCSE intern to contribute to her academic and career success.
As a graphic design major, she is the one who creates the logos, flyers, and newsletters for FSCSE. If the organization has an event, Kiesewetter designs an event flyer. She is also the one who advertises events on FSCSE’s Instagram page, which she oversees as well.
“It's been amazing to be able to put my classroom skills into practice,” Kiesewetter said.
Choosing a favorite professor is an impossible task for Kiesewetter. Department Chair and Professor of Art, William J. Otremsky; Associate Professor of Art, Samuel Romero; and Professor Blackmore are among the art department professors who have helped her improve her skills as an artist and designer. Dr. Vickie VanHurley, who works in the communication department, helps her with projects and makes sure she understands assignments. Dr. H. Alexander Rich, Executive Director of the Polk Museum of Art and the George & Dorothy Forsythe Endowed Chair in Art History & Museum Studies and Assistant Professor of Art History, Dr. Kristen Carter are also very encouraging.
Florida Southern has allowed Kiesewetter to be a student leader, sharpen her artistic skills, and practice experiential engaged learning in a variety of ways. She has managed to find a good balance between academics and fun.
“I went on my Junior Journey to Greece during fall break,” she said. “It was an unforgettable experience. I wish I could go on every trip!”
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