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Karen Boerema, Visual Arts Graduate

Karen BoeremaSerious About Her Art

Ten years to complete her undergraduate degree. 

Around UIS, visual arts student Karen Boerema’s story is not all that uncommon—and that’s completely okay with us.

Walk around UIS, and you’ll see plenty of older undergraduates like Karen. They are often much more serious about their studies, and because they usually support themselves they work harder to make their investment in a degree pay off. 

This deep commitment to their education creates added value for your scholarship gifts. With students like Karen, you can know your gifts are appreciated—VERY appreciated—and put to excellent use.

A Long Journey But No Regrets

Karen always loved art, but after graduating from high school, she wasn’t ready for college. After working two years, she entered a three-year program at Lincoln Christian College intending to teach. That plan changed when she took an art class and remembered her love.  She transferred to Heartland Community College for an associate’s degree in art.

Around this time, Karen started supporting herself. It became very important to her to know what she wanted to do with her life and why, so she took some more time off. Three years ago, she came to UIS a bachelor’s degree in art.

Now 29 (she doesn’t mind us telling you her age!), Karen will graduate this spring.  She plans to open her own studio after graduation, teach classes for community members, and eventually—possibly—go to graduate school so she can teach at the college level.

Does she have regrets for her long journey to a degree?  None at all.  “I wouldn’t change a single thing,” she says, “because if I did, I wouldn’t be where I am, and I’m loving where I am right now!”

In this she echoes many of UIS’ students, who are hardworking and deeply committed to their education.

A Future in Clay

When Karen came to UIS, she grew to love the complete process of creating ceramic art: “I make my own clay, make my own glaze, fire my own work, and I love it.”

Karen Boerema's artworkKaren’s work in clay, more functional than sculptural, usually involves taking two different pieces—two cups, for example—and molding them into one.  Karen narrates a YouTube video describing samples of her work here. 

Her art takes a lot of time, and Karen still supports herself completely.  She works 32 to 35 hours a week and D’Arcy’s Pint, a Springfield restaurant, so she can pay her bills. The rest of her time she spends at UIS working on her craft.  “For me to do the quality of work that I’m expecting of myself and my professors expect of me, 40 to 50 hours is the time I need to spend.”

“I want to create the best ceramics I can.”

No wonder Karen appreciates the Glosecki Scholarship so much. She takes very seriously the reason for the scholarship, given in memory of Andy Glosecki. “Mrs. Glosecki set up a scholarship in her son’s name, and that’s a big thing. I want to use that money to create the best ceramics I can. That will honor what Mrs. Glosecki’s son would have been doing.”

This is great time for you to create a scholarship in honor of someone you love. Through the Access Illinois Scholarship Initiative, your scholarship could be matched 1:1, creating double the value for UIS students like Karen. (Read details of the match here.) Please consider giving a scholarship.