Date(s) - October 28, 2021 - December 3, 2021
Directions Gallery, Visual Arts
The Scholarship Recipient Exhibition celebrates students in the Department of Art and Art History who have been awarded with university scholarships. The exhibition runs from October 28th, 2021 to December 3rd, 2021 and is held in the Directions Community Gallery. It includes work from Alexis Ruff, Alisondra Stephenson, Amanda Rooms, Charlie Dillon, Elizabeth Lessard, Irie Sauceda-Lindsey, Jordan Scott, Justin Price, Katie Kutz, Kenzie Khoury, Marisol Guiterrez, Molly Haines, Natalie Freeman, Rachel Harrison, Rongxian Xu, Sam Hamilton, Shelby Ostertag, Sophie Hernandez, Vincente Delgado.
Natalie Freeman was awarded the Charlie and Gwen Hatchette Creativity, Anthropology Field School, and the Reisher Scholarships. Below, she shares with us the importance and impact of these scholarships.
“My name is Natalie, and I am excited to be here with you today to thank you for supporting my dreams of pursuing higher education here at Colorado State University.
I became aware that I wanted to (and was expected to) go to college around the beginning of middle school. I saw it as the only next step in my future after graduating from high school. I also came to realize that higher education costs a lot of money.
While I never considered my family to be poor, I knew we faced financial struggles when my parents went through a tumultuous divorce. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was what was best for me, my brother, and my mom. I didn’t realize it was abuse at the time, but…being able to separate myself from my father helped me realize that other parents don’t treat their children the way he treated me.
I didn’t expect any support from him, and I didn’t want any support from him: I wanted to be as independent from him as possible.
What support I lacked from my father, my mom made up tenfold. She is an integral person in my life. She taught me to read when I was 3 years old, quickly realizing I would be bored when I got to kindergarten, since I was ahead of my peers. Knowing what boredom can do to a child’s desire to learn, she decided to homeschool me and my brother up until the point of the divorce. I don’t think I would have such a driven work ethic and passion for learning if it wasn’t for her. After all the support my mom provided growing up, it seemed unfair of me to expect her to also carry the burden of paying for college.
So…I knew that if I wanted to go to college, I would need to figure out a way to afford it on my own. I started working and saving in eighth grade. Since then, I have held a job continuously, working in the food service industry while juggling classes and homework.
After graduating from high school, I went to the local community college, since it was more affordable, and I had no idea what I wanted to pursue academically. There, I found direction and got two associate degrees before transferring here to CSU.
I am now in my senior year, pursuing a dual degree. In the spring, I will graduate with a Bachelor’s in Biological Anthropology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Concentration in Drawing, while also earning a Certificate in Museum Curation and Cultural Heritage Studies.
Although I am speaking at this art event, I also wanted to mention my scientific background. One scholarship I earned allowed me to participate in CSU’s Paleontology Field School over the summer prospecting for fossils in the Badlands of Wyoming. This experience, and my subsequent volunteer work preparing and cataloguing fossils in the lab has cemented my future career goals.
I want to incorporate my scientific and cultural knowledge with my creative thinking and design skills to pursue a career in museum work. Museums are essential institutions that protect our collective heritage while also educating and engaging with the public. I want my work to generate positive change in the community. I’d love to work in a museum to inspire that same love of learning I experienced as a child. Museums are institutions that spark interest in the world around us and help inspire the next generation of historians, scientists, anthropologists, and artists.
They teach us where we come from, who we are, and where we are going.
But I wouldn’t be here, at CSU, without the support I have received from scholarships. Even though I’ve been working and saving, I would not have been able to afford my education without the generosity of people like you.
I can’t even begin to express my gratitude. Saying, “thank you from the bottom of my heart,” isn’t enough. I need to find something deeper than my heart.
To think that someone who doesn’t know me personally would want to support my academic journey in such a profound and meaningful way is astonishing. It’s surreal. I thought the least I could do would be to quell my fears of speaking in front of a large group of people to say thank you in person.
I am just one of many students who have benefitted from scholarships. My story of hardship is one of many. I know one person’s experience of abuse and trauma is incomparable to another’s, but I feel—despite my past—I need to acknowledge that I come from a privileged background and had opportunities that so many others do not. Being able to attend CSU is one of those privileges, and I do not take my education, or the support I’ve received along the way, for granted.
You have truly changed my life. Thank you.”