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Class of 2023: Skylar Blackbull

Through the liberal arts, Skylar Blackbull went from STEM student to Art student when she realized that her future was in Graphic Design. Art professors Chole Irla '07 and Steven Pearson provided support as she explored opportunities and built her skills in Art. An on-campus design internship also prepared her for full-time work as a graphic designer. Skylar’s senior capstone, “Medicine in Movement,” is centered around the beauty in her native Navajo culture.

Skylar Blackbull Class of 2023

Skylar Blackbull is an Art major with a specialization in Graphic Design from Hosta Butte, New Mexico.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: A sophomore in high school and completely unaware that I’d end up on the Hill. At the time, my heart was set on a military academy and not a traditional four-year college. However, I had a devastating knee injury my senior year of high school that disqualified me from applying to the academies. Luckily, McDaniel College didn’t hesitate to offer me a wonderful scholarship and the opportunity to run track.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: A person who is ready to take on life’s challenges and conclude this chapter of my life.

Real world experiences: I did an internship for a semester at the McDaniel Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM). The internship made my entire spring semester junior year! The team at OCM was welcoming and supportive. They gave me numerous opportunities to develop as a Graphic Design student. In addition to my internship, I took a Jan Term in Greece. This was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend taking a Jan Term in a different country!

Aha moment: My aha moment happened when I finally discovered what I want to do with my future. As a freshman, I pursued a Biology major to study forensic anthropology. However, I changed my mind sophomore year and switched to Kinesiology for physical therapy. Not only was I taking Kinesiology courses, but I began to take Art classes. From there, my focus shifted to medical illustration, which was short lived. Finally, after all the switches and adjustments, I made the decision to solely pursue Art and Graphic Design my junior year. The best decision I’ve made for myself.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: When I leave the Hill, I hope my projects on Navajo history and the beauty of my culture (Navajo way of life) made an impact on campus.

Faculty or staff members who most influenced who I have become: Chole Irla '07 and Steven Pearson. Both of these professors are in the Art department. They are incredible! Irla and Pearson assisted me throughout my Art journey. They both provided me wonderful opportunities that I will never forget.

Best class ever: Advanced Studio I-II. Advanced Studio allowed me to explore more media as an artist. I had the ability to experiment with new projects and learn new skills in the process.

Took me totally by surprise: Majoring in Art. I went from STEM to Art!

My favorite spot on campus: The gym! When I need time to decompress and relieve stress, I enjoy going to Merritt Fitness Center.

Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: Learning about the world of cryptography at a talk from an alum.

My capstone title: “Medicine in Movement.”

What it’s about in plain talk: My work is centered around the beauty within my Navajo way of life. Each of my projects share a little about who I am, my people’s history, and where I come from.

Tell us a little about your activities, including sports, during your years at McDaniel: During my time at McDaniel, I ran track for my freshman and junior year. In addition to track, I joined the CHAARG organization.

What’s next: Searching for a graphic design job! I’m the type of person that wants to explore design jobs in different areas. In the future, I’d love to work for an organization that supports Indigenous Peoples or work as a designer in the film industry.

If you received financial aid, what did that mean for you and your family? It meant the world! The scholarship that I received is the reason why coming to McDaniel was possible.

How will you stay connected to McDaniel? I plan to stay connected with friends and the staff/faculty that helped me on my journey.

About Skylar

Major: Art - Graphic Design

Class of 2023

"When I leave the Hill, I hope my projects on Navajo history and the beauty of my culture (Navajo way of life) made an impact on campus."