A Q&A with one of the 1,319 students who received a diploma May 4 at UW-Stout:
Name: Ebonee Rainwater
Hometown: West St. Paul, Minn.
Major: Entertainment design, concentration in animation, minor in art history
Awards, honors: Schulze Family Foundation Scholarship, Multicultural Student Scholarship, DOVE Fellowship (University of Minnesota), Sheri Nero Award, Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award honorable mention, Chancellor’s Award, published in Journal of Student Research spring 2019
Why did you choose UW-Stout? I chose Stout because of its great art and design programs and affordability. I knew I’d get a quality education here and have a great time doing it. Plus, it’s the perfect distance from home — just far enough for me to be independent but close enough that I didn’t have to worry about coming back when I wanted to.
What are the biggest obstacles you faced in earning your degree? I believe that quantifying my own growth was particularly difficult for me going into my academics. In high school, I received concrete grades that directly reflected whether or not I achieved my objective — if I used the correct math equation and got the right answer. Pursuing a creative degree, things get less black and white. You of course still get evaluated and receive a letter grade that reflects that evaluation, but there are many more complexities that arise. How do you evaluate someone’s self-expression? How do you evaluate your own self-expression, and how can you tell when you get better at doing it? All of those questions led to a great deal of uncertainty and second-guessing. Marking my personal and creative progress can still be a bit of a challenge sometimes, but the second I’m able to come up with a better solution to a creative problem that I solved before, I know that I already have a better understanding of my craft.
What stands out among your college experiences? I was able to partake in a lot of academic opportunities in which art students are not typically represented. I spent a lot of time conducting research in McNair for art projects alongside STEM majors, where I otherwise would never find myself. I enjoyed being able to learn about their field and teach them about my own. This shared space created numerous opportunities to integrate the worlds of STEM and art to make informed, cross-disciplinary bodies of work.
What’s next? I will be moving back home to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota in the fall in pursuit of an MFA in graphic design. After that I hope to take on some freelancing illustration work. I have my fingers crossed for a job in children’s book illustration.