Scholarship Paints an Incredible Future

Nia Jaramillo

For first-generation college student, Nia Jaramillo, a sentiment from her former art professor at Texas State University continuously played in her mind as she was preparing to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.

“You could have been an art major,” she was told.

Nia loved creating art in middle and high school but was always given the impression that it would never lead to a “real career.” So she put her dreams of becoming an artist on the backburner and studied communications in college. After graduating in 2017, she held several public relations internships but was unable to find the fulfillment she longed for.

Following graduation from Texas State University, Nia began selling prints of her artwork at local pop-up markets in San Antonio. Despite her success with this venture, knowing that she had never officially studied art caused her to feel like an impostor among other artists. Her feelings were so strong that in 2019,  she took a leap of faith and applied to Southwest School of Art, now UTSA Southwest, where she was awarded a full-ride Presidential Scholarship

Nia says that receiving the Presidential Scholarship has been key in her journey to graduation and the reason she has been able to pursue her arts education. As an art student, she is finally able to follow her true passion and further develop her skills.

“I cannot express enough how much I appreciate this scholarship. My previous degree was paid for entirely by financial aid, but now that I have a degree, I am no longer eligible for that,” expressed Nia. “This scholarship is the reason I am graduating, the reason I keep pushing, the reason I kept pushing all through the pandemic when I was laid off from my job. Without it I wouldn’t be able to break generational curses in my family and get out of poverty. It is life-changing.” 

Nia’s art has been displayed at the UTSA Main Gallery, the Not For You Gallery at the Blue Star Art Complex, and she is currently applying for grants to fund public displays of her work.

She will graduate from UTSA with her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in December 2023.

-Jordan Allen, Development Writer

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