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Students recognized for achievements during scholarship reception

By Staff | May 25, 2016

Amalia Smith, Natalie Kazmin, Sarah Adler and Inka Schulz. PHOTO PROVIDED

Six students were recognized during a reception Tuesday, May 17, at BIG ARTS Schein Hall for receiving a scholarship.

The BIG ARTS Robert Rauschenberg Scholarships were awarded to high school and college seniors pursuing a career in visual arts, music, dance, theater, creative writing, or film. The scholarships were possible with support from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Patricia and Davis Thurber, Deborah and John La Gorce and community support of BIG ARTS programs.

BIG ARTS Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder said BIG ARTS received 13 applications for the scholarship, with this year’s students pursing careers ranging in music, theater, creative writing, graphic design, film and illustration.

From the 13 applicants, seven were selected to meet with the committee.

Sarah Adler, a native of Sanibel Island, received the BIG ARTS Robert Rauschenberg Scholarship for graphic design. Harder said she grew up in BIG ARTS summer camps and volunteered. The young winner is graduating from Fort Myers High School in just three years.

BIG ARTS Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder shared information about the scholarships before the students were recognized Tuesday, May 17. MEGHAN MCCOY

While attending the Ringling College of Art & Design in 2015, she won the outstanding achievement award. In the fall she plans on studying music education design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Fort Myers resident Valerie Hernandez, who was not in attendance during the ceremony, has been a previous BIG ARTS scholarship winner. She received the BIG ARTS Robert Rauschenberg Scholarship for illustration. In the fall, Hernandez will enter her sophomore year at the Ringling College of Art & Design continuing her studies of illustration. In 2019, after graduating she hopes to enter the editorial illustration field while pursuing personal fine art painting.

Natalie Kazmin, who will be attending Florida State University in the fall to pursue her studies in motion picture arts, received a BIG ARTS scholarship for film. She has been filmmaking since 2015 and writing creatively for almost 10 years.

Isabella LeVan, who was not in attendance, was also a previous BIG ARTS scholarship winner. She received a BIG ARTS scholarship for music therapy. She is entering her senior year at Florida State University in the music therapy program and will be interning at Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee in January. The college student is proficient in voice, guitar and piano and has received recognition from FSU for achieving vocal excellence, Harder said.

LeVan is also pursuing a master’s degree in music therapy with an emphasis in neuroscience. Harder said LeVan plans to build a career rich in performing therapeutic practice in music therapy research.

Sarah Adler listened as BIG ARTS Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder shared some of her academic achievements during the reception. MEGHAN MCCOY

Inka Schulz, originally from Germany, received a BIG ARTS Robert Rauschenberg scholarship for illustration. She also is graduating a year early from high school and will be attending the Ringling College of Art & Design in the fall. Harder said she plans on continuing her studies after college by traveling a year abroad at an art school in Singapore.

She said Schulz plans on becoming a concept artist for video games studio designing characters, props and environments.

Amalia Smith was also honored during the reception for receiving a BIG ARTS scholarship award for graphic design. Smith is a 2016 graduate of Dunbar High School. She will be attending Florida Southwestern State College to pursue her AA degree and in 2018 she plans to attend either Florida Gulf Coast University, or Florida A&M University where she wants to major in graphic design and minor in entrepreneurship.

Harder said Smith’s career goal is to become a successful designer with her own business.

“We wish you all the best of luck in your future and you are keeping the arts alive in the next generation,” she said.

Inka Schulz received a BIG ARTS Robert Rauschenberg scholarship for illustration. MEGHAN MCCOY

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.

Amalia Smith received a BIG ARTS scholarship award for graphic design. MEGHAN MCCOY