Georgia State Scholarship Recipient Lauren Harvill Designs Unique College Experience


Lauren Harvill had her career path figured out when she enrolled at Georgia State University in 2007. Having decided accounting would be her major, she pursued it for two years. She even completed an internship with a small accounting firm in Griffin, Ga.

Then a funny thing happened: Harvill found art. She quickly realized it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Her parents were a harder sell. They were less than thrilled with the switch.

“I guess they didn’t realize how many opportunities are out there,” Harvill says. “I think they’re really proud of me now.”

They have ample reason. Harvill, a graphic design major who will graduate in May, has become involved with both the Georgia State and Atlanta art communities. Last year, she was awarded the Andrew M. West Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student who shows “exceptional talent in one or more areas of art and design.” The recipients must present portfolios once they are nominated, and the winner is selected by the entire Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design faculty.

Stan Anderson, Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Graduate Director, is one of Harvill’s biggest supporters. He nominated Harvill for the scholarship.

“Lauren is quite the remarkable designer because she is able to adapt her creative talents to whatever format she chooses in order to communicate her artistic endeavors.  Everything Lauren does seems to come from such an honest and authentic place within herself and it’s all done with such grace, confidence and conviction.

“No matter what assignment Lauren is given, she digs into her creative toolbox and imagination and produces work that is always fresh, provocative and modern. She might appear to be soft spoken but she is fearless as a designer. Lauren inspires me to be a better teacher and a better person.”

Harvill cites Stan Anderson as an important source of support―he nominated Harvill for the scholarship. She has equally complimentary things to say about Anderson.

“He’s amazing and relatable and a great mentor,” Harvill says. “He gets your mind going.”

One of Harvill’s first projects was a chalk illustration for the cover of an issue of Georgia State University Magazine that focused on graduates who had become successful entrepreneurs. An internship with Georgia State’s Office of Public Relations and Marketing Communications has a taught Harvill several new skills, including printing, which she says is an extension of graphic design. Working from a concept created by university designers, she recently illustrated the cover for the magazine’s centennial issue.

“I have learned a lot at PRMC,” Harvill says. “I get to work one-on-one with clients.”

Harvill, who turned 24 in February and graduates in May, has been so wrapped up in her work she didn’t do anything for her birthday.

“It’s really busy nowadays,” she says. “I have a lot to do.”

Harvill has made an effort to experience as much of Atlanta, where she’s lived for six years, as she can.

“Since I’ve doing graphic design, I’ve liked the city more.” Harvill says, adding that living in the South has contributed to the natural and organic influences that appear in her work. “Atlanta has helped me become a better designer because it has so many different cultural influences and so many different personalities.”

Harvill’s parents are Georgia natives. They live in in Hampton, where Harvill graduated third in her class at Dutchtown High School, the school’s inaugural graduating class, composed of about 300 students. Leaving for Georgia State was eye-opening, she says. “I think I was in a shell (in Hampton),” she explains.

“Meeting people has been huge for me,” Harvill adds. “I used to be pretty quiet. I’m still quiet, but being here has made me grow into a more confident person.”

Harvill says she has tried new many things while she’s been Georgia State. That includes the Atlanta’s diverse slate of cultural institutions and dining options.

“Here it’s busy and people are always around,” she observes. “It keeps you on your toes.”

It’s not all art, all the time for Harvill, though. Though most of her weekends are devoted to homework, she usually can be found hanging out with her friends or going for a ride on her bike. She also enjoys spending time with the dog she’s had for five years, a Chow mix named Todd, and camping. “That’s my jam right there,” she says of the outdoors.

Harvill will begin sending out resumes within the next month. She knows what she wants to do but isn’t sure where she’ll end up.

“I want to work for a magazine, so who knows where I’ll be,” Harvill says, adding that staying in Atlanta is a possibility. “I could see myself being here 10 years from now.”

By: Jason Langbehn (MPA ’12)