Maria Campbell

Art education student Maria Campbell (class of 2021) knew from an early age that she wanted to be an artist. "I would go on jobs with my mom as she painted people's houses, and I was taught how to draw and paint by the age of three," she explained. By high school, she had developed an interest in multiple art forms and decided that art education might be the path for her.

"Being an art education major, I knew there would never be any doubt that I'm doing what I love every day," she said.

Aaron R. White

As the eldest of 11 kids, Chicago native Aaron R. White (BFA, Dance, '11) assumed from an early age that higher education was out of reach. Passionate about dance, he sent in college applications but didn't expect to enroll.

Not only was he admitted to the University of Illinois Dance program, but he was also awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.

"Being able to attend Illinois, and being exposed to so many types of people, ideas, and a broader cultural understanding, opened up my world in a huge way," he said. "It opened up my life to what is possible."

John Schoonmaker

John Schoonmaker (BS, Architectural Studies, '17) began his college career in environmental science before switching to architecture. "I enjoy the way that architecture allows you to develop physical responses to problems, as opposed to more speculative solutions," he said.

As recipient of the Perkins + Will Undergraduate Award, John received both financial support and an internship with the global firm. As part of the internship, he has worked on projects ranging from small, local, pro bono work to an international competition entry.

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