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Columbus College of Art & Design’s Outstanding Senior designation is a longstanding tradition at the school. Faculty members select one graduating student from each major to be the Outstanding Senior for that major. This selection is based on their impressive academic and artistic accomplishments. Read more about the Class of 2024’s Outstanding Seniors—in their own words—below:

Olivia Indre

Olivia Indre

Raised In Mentor, Ohio, Olivia Indre had an interest in the arts from a young age. She took every single art class she could from middle school to high school, spending many late nights finishing up art pieces before critique. Her senior year of high school, Indre enrolled in a digital design class where she discovered her interest in graphic design. That same year, she was given the opportunity to create a bus-wrap mural for Lake County, Ohio’s public transportation, Laketran, which cemented her passion and convinced her to pursue a career in graphic design.

At CCAD, Indre has honed in on her personal design style, incorporating bold and earthy colors and illustrative elements to create dynamic compositions. She joined the CCAD Student Agency in January 2023, where she was able to work alongside—and learn from—talented artists and designers. Later that year, Indre landed a co-op internship with Huntington Bank as a user experience (UX) designer after taking a UX strategy class at CCAD. As a student, Indre has been consistently placed on the President’s List every semester and will graduate a year early, completing her BFA in three years.

After graduation, Indre intends to find graphic design/UX work in Columbus that fulfills her passion of creating for her community, and working with other creative like-minded individuals.

Meera Ralhan

Meera Ralhan

Born in Springboro, Ohio, Meera Ralhan’s love of creative expression transformed her family of scientists, techies, engineers, and mathematicians (STEM) into a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) family. Ralhan grew up performing Bharatanatyam, the oldest classical dance tradition of India, at the India Club of Greater Dayton. She volunteered with the Springboro High School’s National Honors Society and participated in junior and senior AP art classes. She would spend additional hours after school working on her art projects, so much so that her teacher would routinely ask Ralhan to lock up the art room when she was done creating for the day.

At CCAD, Ralhan ’s first-year film, Berries Go Yeet!, was included in the South Drive-In Theater 2021 Chroma: Best of CCAD screening. During her freshman and junior years, Ralhan participated in two 24-hour animation challenges—first as an animator and background artist and second as student leader for a film that judges ranked 70th out of 300 entries.

Ralhan, who has been active in the Animation Student Collective, was the group’s secretary during the fall 2022 semester. She was also the Student Government Association representative for Print and Digital Media Marketing in spring 2023, and an Admissions Student Ambassador from September 2021 to April 2023. At CCAD’s Connections Career Fair, Ralhan landed an internship at Bartha, an audio-visual event experience company in Columbus. Bartha was so impressed with Ralhan that they hired her as a Motion Graphics Assistant during her senior year at CCAD. Now, Ralhan is looking forward to applying her skills towards a future career in showrunning for children's animated content.

Ethan Pope

Ethan Pope

Ethan Pope, who was born in Texas, has been drawing for as long as he can remember, and has always loved comics. He received an education in fine art at his high school and applied for CCAD in the fall of 2020, originally intending to participate in the Illustration program. In his first year at CCAD, he applied to participate in the Spitball comics anthology. He was accepted (the first time a first-year student participated in the project) and designed the cover for Spitball’s seventh installment.

Following that experience, Pope changed his major to Comics, where he found his artistic focus. As a CCAD student, he created many of his own self-published works, including Mama Mojo (a Tales from the Crypt-style horror comic), Hell’s Harmonica (a western poetry comic), and Futurism in Moderation (a historical zine). He was the assistant editor of Spitball 9, and in his junior year, co-founded the independent publication Nosebleed Magazine, which included the work of 30 local and non-local artists. In his senior year, Pope began work on his capstone project DASHCAM, a street-racing drama about a young man obsessed with pursuing his late brother's legacy. He also co-organized 1st Issue, a promotional event for Comics seniors and an educational opportunity for first-year Comics students, which was a first-of-its-kind event at the college.

After graduating, Pope intends to stay in Columbus, make more comics, and remain invested in the city’s comics community. He is immensely grateful for all of the support of his professors and the CCAD Comics department over the years.

David Vega

David Vega Jr.

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, David Vega Jr. is a fashion designer with passions that intersect among many different fields. From a young age, Vega loved sketching his own designs for basketball footwear inspired by his ever-growing sneaker collection. This evolved into an interest in fashion and in creating his own brand, as well as a desire to create many different forms of art. In high school, his creative pursuits and passion helped him win a Scholastic Arts National Gold Medal in Illustration.

At CCAD, Vega has expanded his skills in mixed media photography, graphic design, and of course, fashion design. He is now an established designer with pattern making, sewing, digital and technical skills, all of which helped him achieve internships with UpWest and Brooks Running. He is a recipient of two scholarships from the national nonprofit Fashion Scholarship Fund, including the named Marty’s Light Scholarship, which includes a financial award, ongoing industry mentorship, and career development support. Vega’s brand Color Theory will show its first fully handmade collection, NeoTetra, at the 2024 CCAD Fashion Show. This capstone collection is inspired by the fear of dystopia and considers how fashion can be used to combat censorship, conformity, dehumanization, and propaganda. After graduation, Vega plans to continue to pursue a successful fashion brand and work as a young creative mind in the fast-paced fashion industry.

Tiana Coreus

Tiana Coreus

Tiana Coreus was born and raised in Queens, New York. At age 14, she was pulled into the world of film after watching Silver Linings Playbook (2012), a film she couldn’t stop rewatching. Coreus, who is a writer with a focus on screenwriting, began her CCAD studies in spring 2020.

Through her courses at CCAD, Coreus learned more about being on set and the ins and outs of producing a film, which was a new experience for her. In addition to studying film at CCAD, she explored other fields like animation, photography, and stop-motion graphics. Her time spent at CCAD in her words was a memorable experience—in short, she says, she’s learned a lot of valuable things. Coreus passed every semester on the Dean’s List or the President’s List thanks to her high grades, and, during her time at CCAD, she even had the opportunity to film with professors, students, and notable filmmakers.

Since graduating from CCAD in the fall of 2023, Coreus spends her time writing full-length features, and also is working on a television series based on a popular story she wrote years ago. She plans to continue writing, producing, and filming, and would like to one day teach the art of screenwriting to eager young students—ones much like herself—who share an interest in film.

James Flowers

James Flowers

James Flowers is an Ohio native and second-generation Vietnamese-American who pursued creative expression despite a lack of support from his family. Through the years, Flowers was undeterred in his pursuit of a range of creative ventures, including music production, DJ-ing, construction, and a variety of businesses—all of which he tackled while also fervidly making art, and the experience of which formed his approach to visual arts.

After a hiatus from academia, Flowers’ practice came together at CCAD. At the college, he brought his accumulated knowledge and skills together and reinterpreted them through thoughtful forays into materiality, problem solving, and critical thinking. Flowers was named to the President’s List each semester and attended the prestigious Yale Norfolk School of Art through Yale University in 2023. After graduation, Flowers plans to continue his business ventures, pursue artist residencies, and apply to graduate school.

Khang Van

Khang Van

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Khang Van developed a passion for video games from an early age, attracted by games’ captivating narratives, engrossing gameplay, and vivid environments. Eager to explore this passion further, Van pushed himself, dedicating himself to countless hours to 3D modeling—dedication that paid off as Khang achieved national recognition and trophies at professional design competitions during his junior and senior years of high school, such as one hosted by the Business Professionals of America. These achievements affirmed his artistic calling.

During Van’s years at CCAD, he pushed himself academically while also engaging in extracurricular activities. Van has participated in the annual Global Game Jam, which provides the student-participants with a 48-hour timeframe for creating a video game, three times. Additionally, Van’s 3D environments were prominently showcased throughout his years at CCAD during Chroma: Best of CCAD. In addition, Van served as president of the Game Creator’s Guild and joined in CCAD’s AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Planning Committee, demonstrating his dedicated pursuit of happiness and excellence.

Van honed his skills by working with a variety of clients, from local media community-based outlets and companies, to prestigious events such as the Billboard Music Awards—where he contributed to the creation of digital non-profit collectibles. Now, Van’s sights are set on securing a position as a 3D environment artist, where he can craft immersive and story-rich environments for everyone to experience, creating a tangible experience in the digital world.

Hillarie Mattox

Hillarie Mattox

Born and raised on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, Hillarie Mattox has always felt the city to be home; a groundedness that has gone on to influence her work. As a person who has always been driven by her roots, Mattox has drawn inspiration from this sense of community and connection, which led her to her journey at CCAD.

Mattox entered CCAD in 2020 with a variety of transfer credits from Columbus State Community College, which had her set to confidently dive into her studies as an Illustration student. However, with her first year completely online during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was forced to adapt and to evolve as an artist. This unforeseen challenge inspired an essential aspect of Mattox’s process and career—escaping to nature. Mattox has found it is essential for her to put herself in spaces where she can observe her surroundings differently. Now, in 2024, she is pursuing nature science illustration as a practice.

This same sense of escape that inspired Mattox to explore nature has also inspired her to reach outside of the bounds of her major and engage in other aspects of creativity at CCAD. She will graduate with a BFA in Illustration, a minor in Graphic Design, and another minor in Fine Arts. To help prepare her to meet her career goals, Mattox has connected with two CCAD alums in particular: Mandy Root-Thompson (Illustration, 1991), a nature science and medical illustrator and CCAD adjunct faculty member; and Graham Fisher (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2014), Civitas Experiential’s creative director. After graduation, Mattox plans to work for the design building firm ROTO and continue her creative journey.

Rachel Lisle

Rachel Lisle

Rachel Lisle was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the fall of 2019, she toured CCAD’s campus, met with the heads of the Industrial Design department, and left the meeting knowing that CCAD’s program was a perfect fit for her. After getting accepted to CCAD, she was excited to start her journey in the fall of 2020. Little did she know, she would be spending her freshman year in her bedroom in Indiana. It was not the auspicious beginning she was hoping for, but the college faculty, especially members of the Industrial Design department, helped Lisle succeed and be prepared for when she finally got to campus.

Some of Lisle’s key accomplishments while in school at CCAD have been volunteering at Form5 Prosthetics, interning at ootBox, and earning an internship at Milwaukee Tool as a design researcher. Lisle has also received accolades from the 2023 Winsell Rotational Molding Competition, and she won the Industrial Designers Society of America’s competition for CCAD. As far as her design philosophy, Lisle centers her designs around creating experiences that make life easier and more enjoyable for the user. Her brand is simple: making moments to experience together.

Lisle is a part-time junior designer for Rocky Brands’ Durango division. Upon graduation, she plans on becoming a full-time member of the Rocky Brands team.

Stefania Marciniak

Stefania Marciniak

Stefania Marciniak was born and raised in Canfield, Ohio, and has been surrounded by creatives her whole life. She drew inspiration from her dad, a union carpenter who was always building, as well as many other artists in the family who encouraged her to create. Both of her parents, Heidi and Dan Marciniak, were always extremely supportive of her artwork growing up, and Marciniak’s high school art teacher Kevin Hoopes also played a significant role in supporting her artwork, involving her in as many show and competition opportunities as possible. Marciniak’s early creative work in painting and drawing evolved into an interest in construction and architecture. This led her to find CCAD, where she could combine those interests into a career she would love.

At CCAD, Marciniak has remained on the President’s List for her academic abilities. She received several scholarships for college, such as the CCAD Access Scholarship, The Goodale Park Scholarship, and the Ohio Governor's Youth Scholarship. Marciniak also became involved as one of the student leaders for the International Interior Design Association, which helped her to further become involved in the professional field of design and connect with others within it.

While studying Interior Architecture & Design, Marciniak was given the opportunity to explore all of the different routes she could take within the field, ultimately falling in love with residential design. This led her to her first internship opportunity with His & Hers Architects. She later started employment in the architecture department at Nicholson Builders, where she was recently recognized during its quarterly company gathering for her work ethic and willingness to learn. Marciniak was offered a full-time position at the firm and will continue employment at Nicholson Builders pending graduation.

Jake O'Gara

Jake O’Gara

Jake O’Gara transferred to CCAD in 2021, seizing the opportunity for in-person learning as restrictions connected to the COVID-19 pandemic eased. Before entering college, O’Gara worked as an eyewear craftsman, work that had him delving deep into the world of design. This time in the eyewear industry both sharpened his craftsmanship and also sparked a passion for photographic product documentation and working with models.

During his time at CCAD, O’Gara balanced his studies with jobs across the college, working in the wood studio, the photo equipment room, and as a monitor in the Tad Jeffrey FabLab. These positions allowed him to immerse himself in an interdisciplinary creative environment and enabled him to engage with inspiring peers with an array of talents. Always open to new knowledge and experience, O’Gara continuously sought opportunities to expand his interest in art.

In CCAD’s Photography program, O’Gara dove into the world of darkroom photography, captivated by its traditional processes. This exploration further ignited his passion for visual storytelling that makes use of the nuances unique to film photography. His time at CCAD shaped O’Gara as an artist and solidified his commitment to capturing the beauty of the world through his lens. After graduation, O’Gara is seeking the opportunity to pursue a full-time career as an artist, allowing him to continue his creative journey and further develop his craft.

CCAD celebrates its 145th Commencement on Saturday, May 11, 2024. Visit for more information.