Every year, IUPUI honors the achievements of their student body by recognizing exceptional students through the IUPUI Top 100 list. Changemakers, innovators, achievers, and leaders are included.
Several students at Herron are being honored this year: newcomers Devin Johannis and Jazmine Hooper, in addition to returning honorees Haley Francis-Halstead and Sydney Patberg.
Succeeding on his own terms is something Devin Johannis specializes in. He had an untraditional start at Herron: he was admitted through the newly founded artistic support program. When he received a notification that a portfolio of his work would be due in a week, he had to make do with what he could. "I remember grabbing some colored pencils and pens that were lying around and just looking things up online, trying to make art," he said. This hard work paid off, and Johannis was soon directly admitted. After an experience while studying abroad in Italy where he saw the same pattern his father uses as trim moulding on architectural columns and church designs, he began to think more about tradition in his work. This eventually led him to furniture design as his major.
"Tradition is such an important part of being a designer now. So many people have made so many things before you, it can only benefit you to know more about it...I would've felt blind without it," he said.
The experience of being a artistic support student serves as a source of inspiration for Johannis, and drives him to help students in similar situations. He is a mentor through IUPUI's O-Team program. He's also contributed to the National Mentoring Symposium, IUPUI's Sophomore Experience program, and IUPUI's Bridge first year seminar, among others. "My mentor played a huge role in getting me admitted, and through her, I realized how beneficial it can be to have a mentorship. I wanted to know what it means to be a mentor, so that's why I pursued it," Johannis said.
Having been listed as one of IUPUI's top 100, Johannis has proven he is well on his way to becoming a successful creator. With that being said, he stresses the importance of maintaining momentum. "I still try to ground myself, and pretend in my head that at any moment I could get kicked out. The more success, the more things I'm able to achieve -- the more praise that comes with it. That's great, but it's really easy to get lost in that, to be like 'cool, I'm in the Top 100! I made it!' and stop trying," Johannis said. "I don't want to ever be like that. I've always got another goal, and I've always got to keep going.
Johannis is graduating this year with a B.F.A. in furniture design, a minor in art history, and an architectural and interior design graphics certificate. True to his word, he plans on applying for jobs that could push him towards his goal after graduation: getting in-field experience and then pursuing a master's degree to become a fine arts professor. "There's something about being out in the actual career field that allows professors to specialize their classes and make it feel like it really is their coursework. That's something I don't want to miss out on," he said. "When people take a class with me, I want them to be able to say 'oh, that's his work. There's a lot that he can provide that's unique to the course and I couldn't get elsewhere.'"
Jazmine Hooper is a leader, first and foremost. She is a member of the Herron Ambassador program, the president of Herron's Student Council, and the student representative for the Herron Alumni Association, among other leadership appointments. All of these enable Hooper to maximize outreach and help incoming students. "Being able to have these interactions with students and being able to give them advice and clarity is extremely valuable," she said.
Hooper believes in the importance of the student connection due to the significance of her own time at Herron. She originally intended to major in visual communication design, but ended up in drawing and illustration. Now, she's currently experimenting with printmaking. She attributes this to Herron's "beautiful way of making you take classes outside your comfort zone." "You're going to be taking electives out of your major," she said. "I discovered book arts, printmaking -- things that I've absolutely fallen in love with." She cites Herron's inherent experimentation as the reason why she didn't have to "settle" for a medium that might've not worked for her.
When giving advice to incoming freshmen, Hooper believes one of the most important things to remember is that "everything has a purpose," especially foundation studies. "I throw back to things I learned freshman year all the time," she said. "I might be setting up a composition for a print and use gestalt theory without even recognizing it. You have to have patience."
Being a part of the IUPUI Top 100 is extremely important to Hooper. It was a goal for her since her sophomore year, and she can graduate knowing she's achieved it. "To get that recognition is a really big deal to me," she said. After graduating with her B.F.A. in drawing and illustration (along with her minors in book arts and art history), she plans to further her body of work by contributing to the Indianapolis artistic sphere. "Whether I end up as a gallery attendant or creative director or anything else, I just want to be able to express myself creatively and maintain my personal practice," Hooper says. She plans on eventually going to graduate school to become a professor of the arts.
Haley Francis-Halstead is receiving a B.F.A. in visual communication design (VCD). She has a wide spectrum of experience, ranging from restaurant industry social media marketing to being the executive director of Herron's VCD capstone exhibition in 2019. She has worked tirelessly to support IUPUI over the course of her education, having been an employee in the Office of Community Engagement, Housing and Residence Life, and IUPUI's chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha. In her spare time, she creates YouTube vlogs about her experiences as an art student. Francis-Halstead has made the Top 100 two consecutive years.
Sydney Patberg is receiving a B.A.E. in art education. She has already worked in-field, having been employed as an art teacher for both U Craft Me Up and Columbus Canvas. She contributes to IUPUI's Greek life scene as the chapter president for Phi Mu Fraternity since November 2017, helping to raise over $25,000 annually on behalf of the organization. She also participates in Jagathon yearly, helping to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children. Patberg has also made the Top 100 two consecutive years.