Katie Gwynn shares her story

“I’ve become much more of an analytical and critical thinker because of Honors College.”

"I was drawn to VCU for the campus, the city atmosphere. I love the urban vibe and how diverse the university is. I was also looking at other schools, but VCU is just more kinds of people, and more of my kind of people.

"Having been in the IB (International Baccalaureate) program in high school, it was just a natural progression for me to join Honors College. I wanted to challenge myself, even though I did not have a major—I was undeclared my freshman year.

"I thought I was going to do pre-med or pre-vet. That was the main reason I joined Honors. Like a lot of students, I figured it would be a fast track gateway into med school or graduate school. And I was on that track until Honors College exposed me to the humanities and arts. I did a complete 180.

"Honors-only art classes are small and challenging and really teach you how to think analytically and critically, how to engage in frank, open discussions, how to think much more deeply about art, about everything. Most people have no idea how well-rounded the Honors College curriculum is -  it’s not all science.

"Those courses led me to take a drawing class, and then apply to the art school. I’ve always been interested in fashion, so I applied to that program and got in. Because of Honors College, I was able to take many fashion classes as a sophomore and junior, which are typically only open to seniors. That was extremely beneficial—it definitely accelerated my fashion design career.

"I won the design contest for the 2015 Christmas Mother program, and got to work on the suit worn on stage by the host of the 2016 Elby Awards. I studied in Italy for five weeks after my first year in fashion, learning fashion forecasting and visiting the headquarters of the major fashion houses. I obtained an internship at a leading bridal company and a job at a major designer flagship store in New York City for the summer.

"From having zero fashion background, this is exactly what I want to be doing. There are so many different options for what I can do once I graduate, and Honors College gives me the edge."