Caps off to the 2020 Outstanding Seniors!
While 2020 has been a year like no other, with students going to online classes after Spring Break and seniors to celebrate graduation virtually with their families and the CCAD community, some things stay the same. It’s been an annual tradition for Columbus College of Art & Design faculty to select Outstanding Seniors based on their academic and artistic accomplishments.
Congratulations to CCAD’s 2020 Outstanding Seniors, you have risen to the challenge of doing your best, so we can’t wait to see what’s next!
ADVERTISING & GRAPHIC DESIGN
Liz White has always been the “art kid” in school. Growing up in nearby Delaware, she was always drawing and coloring, learning from her creative family and teaching her peers how to draw. She served on her high school magazine as the editor-in-chief and lead designer, but, unsure about which career path she wanted to explore, spent a year in the Honors College at Purdue University before making the decision to return to Ohio and pursue design seriously.
It wasn’t long after her start at CCAD in 2017 that she blossomed into a strong, focused designer and student. Throughout her three years at CCAD, White has received multiple awards for her work: Best Advancement of an Existing Technology at the 2018 Kent State Fashion-Tech Hackathon; first place at the 2018 American Advertising Federation’s “The Pitch”; Local, Regional, and National Student ADDYs at the 2019 American Advertising Awards; and a spot on Graphic Design USA’s 2020 “Students to Watch” list.
White is currently completing an internship with BrandWell Solutions as a graphic designer. After graduation, she will continue to pursue design; long-term, she plans to work as an art director and, eventually, to own her own agency so she can take on the clients and projects she is passionate about.
Born and raised in Columbus, Gale was attracted to animation because of the ability of the medium to merge playfulness and thoughtfulness in order to explore multifaceted character relationships. She cites Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe as one of the key examples of that complex storytelling process. Gale had taken several classes through the CCAD Saturday Morning Art Classes program, so it was a natural fit for her to immerse herself into College Preview in 2016 as a high school student and then onto full-time study in CCAD’s Animation program.
During her time at CCAD, Gale found that working with people and reaching back to help people up was core to her practice as an animator. In 2017, she returned to College Preview as a residential advisor and teacher’s assistant where she mentored numerous people on their own paths towards becoming animators. In 2018 and 2019, she was promoted to head resident advisor/teaching assistant.
Gale’s multidisciplinary skills lead her to the Illustration Student Collective, where she held roles as Treasurer and Art Director. In 2018, she participated in the International 24-Hour Animation Contest. Her team came in 29th out of 219. Raising others up, Gale established an internal CCAD 24-hour animation training session in the spring, so that the fall teams would be ready to go. This training session proved itself in 2019 when her team placed 14th out of 291 teams.
After graduation, Gale will work as a colorist on the Longhair and Doubledome graphic novel. She plans to stay in Columbus where she can continue to grow her art and help new artists find their calling.
Hannah “Han” Donovan
COMICS & NARRATIVE PRACTICE
Hannah “Han” Donovan is from Cincinnati. While she participated in many extracurriculars as a child from karate to piano, art and storytelling was what won the battle of time management. She spent many years honing her craft by writing and drawing stories over Skype and in person with her best friend, who is still an inspiration in many things she does. In 2016, she decided to come to CCAD for college, studying illustration.
During her freshman year at CCAD, Donovan’s love for storytelling grew and she decided to transfer to the new Comics & Narrative Practice program. As one of the first members of the major, she strived to help build a sense of community among those in the program by working as a residential advisor for two years and serving as the resident of the Comics Student Collective. She also worked as Department Assistant for the Illustration and Comics departments, helping coordinate CCAD appearances at events like Cartoon Crossroads Columbus.
One of Donovan’s favorite things she did while at CCAD was participate in the comics anthology class known for its publication Spitball. She participated in the program twice, the second time being hired as the assistant editor of the Spitball anthology. Donovan plans on staying in Columbus after graduation and working on her graphic novel, an extended version of her thesis comic, “St. Paul’s Coolest,” while doing whatever she can in the meantime to bring joy to those around her.
Xuena Pu grew up in Kaifeng, China. She developed a love of craft watching her father, a carpenter, design and make molds for industrial parts. Watching him work seemed like magic and this inspired Pu to want to create things, too. For Pu, art is a magic which calms and heals her soul.
Before coming to CCAD, Pu owned her own trading company in Shenzhen, China, where she produced wedding and evening dresses. She had always dreamed of studying fashion design abroad and in 2014 when her husband took a job in Columbus, this dream became a reality at CCAD.
As a student, Pu participated in Chroma every year and worked on the project The Future of Surgical Gowns, which was a joint effort between CCAD’s Master of Design program and Cardinal Health. During her years at CCAD, she also had her second daughter, and says, “I always did plan to come to college for Fashion Design and did want a second baby, but never thought it would be at the same time!”
Upon graduation, Pu would like to be an independent fashion designer and full-time mom to her two girls.
Destiny Ryan grew up in Worthington, and was raised by her grandparents and aunt after the tragic loss of her mother, who suffered with bipolar disorder, psychosis, and addiction. Throughout childhood, drawing became a space for solace, a method of coping with adversity and tragedy and continues to be at the heart of Ryan’s studio practice.
In high school, Ryan lived in the art room and grew as an artist with the help of her mentor and art teacher. Following high school, she spent a year at School of the Arts Institute of Chicago and took a year off due to her own bipolar condition before enrolling in CCAD.
While at CCAD, Ryan has earned the Polly Alexander Scholarship in Fine Arts and the AICUO award for excellence. Her painting Metamorphosis was awarded the AXA Art Prize, and was part of an exhibition that traveled to San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Ryan’s body of work explores how people’s psychological states are projected onto the surroundings and can distort the perception of reality. Because of the several ways that mental illness has impacted Ryan’s life, her goal is to make work that speaks candidly about mental illness in hopes of erasing the stigma.
FILM & VIDEO
Born in Guadalajara and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Angelo Thomas has always wanted to be a filmmaker. There was never a “Plan B.” From an early age, he was captivated by film. He started making his own films from the moment he was given a camera. However, everything he’d worked towards came to a screeching halt in high school as he developed an eating disorder and lost over half his body weight. It wasn’t until his sophomore year of college that he decided to seek help. He spent four weeks in a hospital program for eating disorders, which he says was the most incredible and transformative experience of his life so far.
The following summer, Thomas wrote a screenplay about a teenage popstar’s secret battle with anorexia. That screenplay became a book, and before long, that book became a feature film, The Incredible Jake Parker. Thomas hopes to inspire and empower people in a way that is true to his identity and experience.
After graduation, Thomas will continue his work in the independent film industry as he develops additional screenplays, makes films, and attends film premieres, film festivals, and industry events.
HISTORY OF ART & VISUAL CULTURE
Reg Zehner grew up in Columbus and Mansfield. Much of Reg’s childhood was spent writing and being interested in creating sculptures in their backyard.
After graduating from Madison Comprehensive High School, they realized that art could be a career and selected CCAD. Zehner is immersed in the arts community at CCAD and Columbus through curating exhibitions, starting an artist-run space and interning for multiple galleries around the city. They have presented at multiple conferences around the nation and participated in a summer fellowship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Upon graduation, Zehner plans on programming more arts events around Columbus while looking towards graduate school opportunities to expand their career in hopes to work as a curator and full-time artist.
Isabella Latell was born and raised in Youngstown. After taking part in multiple programs to extend her learning and understanding of art, she found a love for illustration and decided to pursue further studies at CCAD.
As soon as Latell entered the Illustration major, she knew it was the perfect fit as she was able to create both a passion and a profession. In her second year, Latell took part in an internship where she helped create the seasonal decorations for Anthropologie. Through this, she found another passion—3D illustration and sculpture. During her junior and senior years, Latell worked in the 3D Illustration Lab, creating sculptures and helping students. Through her education at CCAD, she has learned the value of trying new mediums, learning from your peers and professors and finding your process.
After graduation, Latell hopes to work as a freelance Illustrator, and continue to produce work full of heart and whimsy.
Nick Majeski grew up in New Jersey along the coast. This meant lots of free time at the beach or just being outside. His love for the outdoors led to a passion for surfing and longboarding, which led him into designing hand planes to surf the waves in or making longboards to skate around on. In turn, this opened up the door to starting Khander Longboards LLC with his best friend at age 15. They are still designing boards for people to this day.
Majeski believes his CCAD experience has been one of self-discovery and growth. At CCAD, he began to understand the design process and feel more confident in his abilities to practice design.
Pursuing a full-time position in product design, his current interests are in the medical, lighting, and consumer goods fields. Majeski’s goal is to reflect the end users' needs in the products he designs by empowering users and creating lasting experiences.
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN
Gracie Morbitzer has been a steadfast and passionate member of our CCAD community and Interior Architecture & Design family. She is a quiet storyteller who has a unique ability to see the world through the perspective of both an empathetic, social artist and also a creative, practical designer.
Morbitzer found her niche in interior design as a way to translate storytelling into special moments and spaces. She has interned at experience design firm WD Partners, worked with the Ohio History Museum over the past year around exhibit design and experiences, and developed an extensive thesis project around designing social, interactive, and immersive museum experiences. A graduate of Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus, Morbitzer transitioned easily to CCAD. She worked in the Interior Materials Library in 2017 and has been a residential advisor since 2018.
In her spare time, Morbitzer runs her own art business, painting portraits of modern interpretations of Christian saints. Her work was featured in the Columbus Alive and in The Catholic Times. She also has been on the President’s List for Academic Excellence for all four years of college and now works as an exhibit design intern at COSI, hoping to pursue a career in museum and experience design after graduation.
Born in Connecticut, Sarah Pfeifer moved to Columbus when she was in the first grade. When young, she was involved in many artistic activities, including theater, dance, fashion design and photography; however, her love for photography was solidified when she worked as a park photographer at Disney.
When Pfeifer transferred to CCAD from Columbus State Community College, she proved herself to be a force to be reckoned with. Her curiosity to experiment with the processes and techniques, and her drive to produce meaningful artworks with quality have been a great source of inspiration for her peers.
Besides being immersed in her study and being on the President’s List for Academic Excellence every semester at CCAD, Pfeifer also worked as a freelance photographer producing advertising photographs for several publications. She took advantage of an opportunity to assist on a shoot with Better Homes & Gardens magazine, as well as selling her work at the art festivals in Grove City and at the Toledo Zoo. Pfeifer wants to build her career as a commercial photographer after she graduates from CCAD, while finding a way to fund and maintain her personal arts practice.