Alexia Eggleston and Jasmyn Stokes wrap up Career Development Fellowships with exhibitions

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Monday, April 15th, 2024

Wrapping up their year as Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s first-ever Career Development Fellows, Alexia Eggleston ’23 and Jasmyn Stokes ’23 will exhibit work, opening April 19, in the Hayden and CORE galleries. 

The yearlong fellowship, both say, has been instrumental not only in furthering their artwork, but also their leadership and mentoring skills. 

The fellowship “helped me in breaking out of my own comfort zone,” Stokes says. “A lot of these students (we’re mentoring) are friends we’ve gone to school with. The experience showed them I’m not a ‘super senior,’ but a mentor.”

“I’m really excited for the exhibition and to see what’s next for both of them,” say Justin Phillips, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. The team of  Phillips, Chair of Business in Creative Industry & Director of Distance Education Holly Mosher, and Assistant Dean of Career Development & Internships Maria Provencher advised Eggleston and Stokes during their yearlong fellowships with weekly critiques and frequent check-ins. 

Mosher agrees, saying that the pair “really have grown a lot in the past year, and I look forward to seeing them take their careers to the next level.”

The fellowship

As it was designed, the Career Development Fellowship can be broken down into three parts: The first gave Eggleston and Stokes the opportunity to expand on their own portfolio work. The second, the experience of mentoring PCA&D students, working with Career Services to market and produce events such as Business Bootcamp and Career Day, Eggleston says. And, finally, the fellows co-led The Agency, PCA&D’s student-led and student-focused marketing and branding operation which tackles both in-house and community-based projects. 

“Co-leading The Agency was so rewarding, working with the students especially,” Eggleston says. “Some of them, I didn’t get a chance to interact with during my time as a student because we were in different majors … so I’ve learned a lot from them as much as I’ve mentored them.”

Stokes agrees, pointing to their experience coaching The Agency’s America250PA team to a second-place statewide finish last semester. That experience, they say, “working with and preparing them for a public presentation and expanding their thinking conceptually — taking something kind of vague” and turning the concept into an award-winning project, was rewarding. 

This semester, Stokes, an Illustration graduate and Eggleston, a Photography & Video graduate, have worked with The Agency on several projects for the May 3-5 Senior Show, bringing the school to life with their work.

Opening of fellowship exhibitions

“True Americana”, Alexia Eggleston

“The World Where Mind and Reality Split”, Jasmyn Stokes

Friday, April 19, 5-8 pm

Hayden and CORE galleries

Eggleston and Stokes both say the fellowship has been a worthwhile and educational experience, one they’d encourage others to pursue. 

“If you think you’d benefit from more of a transition into the creative world this is a great stepping-stone,” Eggleston says. “It helps you become your own critic, and your relationships change in a good way. Administration treats you as an equal, as a professional versus as a student.”

Stokes agrees, saying that watching students they’ve mentored be proud in their work and gaining confidence in themselves has been rewarding. And, they add, the advice of Phillips, Mosher, and Provencher has been invaluable. 

“They’ve done a lot to get us to where we are now,” Stokes says, “and I definitely think the fellowship is a good challenge to take on.”

Information on the fellowship for the 2024-2025 academic year will be released soon, Phillips says. 

“It’s a dream to have another reason to create a robust body of work in short order” after graduating, he notes. And, he and Mosher say, the fellowship is a chance to elevate participants’ business knowledge and experience. “It’s not ‘just’ artwork,” Mosher says, “there’s a lot behind it in the fellowship. (Phillips) has the fine art background, and I have the business background.”

And Eggleston and Stokes, Phillips says, had the unique experience of being the College’s first Career Development Fellows — a learning experience for everyone involved. “They were really trailblazers,” Phillips says, “and established what this fellowship is. There were lots of chances for us to problem-solve collaboratively.”

The exhibitions

As a capstone to their yearlong fellowships, both Stokes and Eggleston are featured in solo exhibitions opening April 19 with a reception from 5-8 pm. Stokes’ work, The World Where Mind and Reality Split, is a departure from their senior thesis work, which focused on Greek mythology. For their fellowship exhibition, Stokes has explored mental health with the creative mind, the subconscious and conscious mind, and how they intersect. They will have 14 pieces on display in the Hayden Gallery, a mix of large concept art pieces and character development. 

Eggleston will show their work, True Americana, in the Mezzanine-level CORE Gallery, also with an April 19 opening reception from 5-8 pm. They say their exhibition is, in a way, a continuation of their thesis goal of emphasizing representation. The exhibition, a mixture of photography with some audio, will feature 13 pieces representing the 13 American colonies. 

Top: Alexia Eggleston, left, and Jasmyn Stokes. Photo credit Alexia Eggleston.