Katie Hess named 2024 Mary Colleen Heil Presidential Scholarship winner

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Tuesday, March 12th, 2024

Katie Hess has several titles on campus — as a student assistant in Career Services and as a Community Assistant for College housing.

Now, you can add Mary Colleen Heil Presidential Scholarship winner to that list. 

The Fine Art major was recently named the 2024 recipient of this scholarship, one of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s most prestigious. 

“As an artist Katie is driven by an innate sense of curiosity,” writes Prof. Becky Blosser, Chair of the Fine Art Department. “Her passion lies in painting. In the classroom, she’s a risk taker, craves feedback, and takes on challenges.

“Katie is equally committed to her work and the community she’s a part of.  She leads through collaboration and seeks opportunities where she can make a positive impact through her creative work.” 

“I really enjoy pushing the boundaries of what is ‘painting,'” Hess agrees. “I am getting more into abstraction in my work, and I base a lot of my work around personal life experiences and different symbolism.”

Her current work, Hess says, makes the most of her enjoyment of using mixed media. “At the moment I have been loving using fabric/textiles and painting on top of them with oil paints, and I also enjoy using ink pigments as well,” she says. 

Despite that love of mixed media work, Hess says, becoming a Fine Art major wasn’t a foregone conclusion. 

“I always knew I loved painting,” Hess says, “but growing up I had loved film and photography, along with sewing… I debated going into Illustration, but by first few weeks of class my Foundation year I knew I wanted to go into Fine Art.”

News of the scholarship, Hess adds, couldn’t have come at a better time. 

“As a student who is overall self-supporting, I work multiple jobs to be able to go to school and was unsure if I would be able to return next semester,” she says, “so truly I cried when I received the scholarship because I was so grateful.”

The Mary Colleen Heil Presidential Scholarship was established by the Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in 2018 to honor President Emeritus Mary Colleen Heil in recognition of her more than 25 years of leadership and dedication to the College.

The scholarship is awarded annually to an exceptional rising junior student who has been identified by the Dean of Faculty in consultation with the Department Chairs.