Inside the Mind of Art Student Tyler Thenikl

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Senior Tyler Thenikl is ready for his next mission — a career in graphic design or a graduate program in fine art — thanks to resources at The University of Olivet. He’s a fellow of the President’s Leadership Institute (PLI), recipient of two major scholarships, president of the Art Alliance, and percussionist and field commander of the Marching Comets. Tyler even squeezed a trip to Italy in among his roles on campus.
Most importantly, Tyler wants high school students to know that they can have the same, wonderful experience as a Comet. Here are his thoughts on …
Preparing for the Future:
I came to Olivet as a graphic design major. I chose to study graphic design because I’ve always had an interest in the visual aspects of the world around us. During my first year at Olivet, I was inspired by fine art, which led me to pick up studio art as a second major. Creating and learning about art has become a deep passion of mine. Although I plan to pursue a career in graphic design, I have also thought about applying to graduate school for fine art. In the meantime, I’m working hard to hone all of my artistic skills through study, internships and a lot of time spent in the studio.
Relationships With Professors:
The art department faculty have totally shaped my college experience. I consider all of them to be mentors. It was Professor of Art Gary Wertheimer’s classes that sparked my interest in fine art. I love chatting with Professor Wertheimer about all things art and beyond. He’s extremely cultured and knowledgeable, and he has impeccable taste.
Thia Eller, associate professor of art, taught (and continues to teach) me how to draw and how to observe — two of an artist’s most important skills.
Adjunct Professor Don VanAuken has helped me explore my creativity and has guided me to different experiences, opportunities and perspectives. Above all, Professor VanAuken has been encouraging and honest, inspiring me to push myself with every project.
Adjunct Professor Curt Ellis has vast experience in graphic design and has been instrumental in helping me navigate my career path. Whenever I have a question or a new idea, Professor Ellis has given me his undivided attention.
My art professors have been extremely influential and helpful. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I’m extremely grateful to every one of them.
Global Learning:
I recently traveled to Italy for a class in art and culture. I had never been to another country before, so the trip was an entirely new experience for me. I learned about more on this trip than just art. The exposure to a different place and a different culture impacted my perspective on the world in a positive way. The Renaissance art was pretty cool, too.
Becoming a Leader:              
This past school year I was incredibly fortunate to be nominated and accepted into the President’s Leadership Institute. I learned about how I lead and how others lead, and it was an incredible, fruitful experience. PLI trains its fellows to lead more effectively in real world scenarios. I have held leadership roles before, but the in-depth knowledge shared by the PLI faculty helped me to overcome my shortcomings and inspired me to become a better, more effective leader.
Graduating a Comet:
The University of Olivet has given me the greatest opportunity to learn, especially with such small class sizes. The faculty here are wonderful people who genuinely want you to succeed, and for that I’m truly grateful. If you work hard, your professors will notice, and they’ll do everything in their power to steer you toward success.
Learn more about The University of Olivet by visiting campus or contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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