Illustration Major Finalist for Board of Trustees Scholarship

Published: March 29, 2023 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 8 minutes

Galina Hasanova, Board of Trustees Scholarship finalistGalina Hasanova has been named the 2023 finalist for the Southern Utah University Board of Trustees Scholarship for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She is majoring in Illustration with a minor in Graphic Design and plans to work and earn enough money to attend grad school after graduation.

The Board of Trustees Scholarship is funded by SUU’s Board of Trustees and awarded to one outstanding SUU student at the end of their junior year. This is one of the most prestigious scholarships offered by the University, with students being nominated by their colleges, and the seven finalists represent the best of SUU.

“Galina is one of the most dedicated students that I have had the pleasure to teach,” said Eric Brown, professor of art at SUU. “Her drawings are unusually beautiful and carefully crafted. They reveal a developing mastery of composition, subject matter, materials and techniques. She was the Outstanding Student in Art/Graphic Design Program at Northwest College, Powell, Wyoming in 2021 and is proving to be an outstanding student at SUU. She has outstanding potential as an artist and illustrator. Galina is fun to teach because she expresses gratitude and appreciation often and seems to be the very definition of teachable. She is open to any instruction, media or technique and approaches all of her assignments with great energy, curiosity and dedication. She is also very friendly, supportive, focused and cheerful, so that she improves the ability of not only herself, but others in the class as well.”

Hasanova is a foreign exchange student from Mary, Turkmenistan. This is her second semester at SUU, but her fourth year in the United States.

“I’ve always been drawn to study abroad,” said Hasanova. “I spent four years trying to figure out where I would go for college. I started at Northwest College in Wyoming. I ultimately decided I was going to transfer and that’s when I found Southern Utah University. When I got here, I was so happy to find out that they have a very strong Illustration program and I love the fact that SUU is surrounded by nature. I’ve also been fascinated by International Affairs and how many international students go here.”

As Hasanova’s gone through her major, she’s interacted with so many people who’ve influenced her art and her experience at SUU.

“At SUU, the classroom settings and curriculum that is being taught really give you a clear idea of where you want to be. There’s so much to explore and learn, but I think the strength of the curriculum and professor experience is definitely what has helped me create a vision for myself as an artist.”
Hasanova offers extra thanks to SUU Illustration professor, Hala Swearingen, noting that she is an amazing illustrator with the spirit of an artist. Swearingen brings a positive attitude to the classroom and brings the best out in the students.

SUU has been a big factor in Hasanova’s pursuit of her dreams. Part of that is the professors who bring their own experiences from the field into the classroom.

Extracurriculars are something that Hasanova is passionate about–she is always trying things that interest her. She plans to run for Student Senate, continues to volunteer around Cedar City, and goes to the Women In The Outdoors club when she can catch a break from her homework load. Additionally, she plans to get involved with a Boxing club that a friend of hers is starting next semester.

“I used to do Martial Arts, so that’s the kind of athletic side of me,” Hasanova said. “I did Taekwondo, World Taekwondo which is about the rules and regulations of the sport, and International Taekwondo, which is basically an institution where you can learn about the sport. I also did Hapkido and Aikido, but they’re all full-contact sports.”

Hasanova does freelance art on the side to keep her skills sharp, and over the most recent winter break, she was able to provide her infographic skills for research purposes. She did an internship at Education U.S.A. where she was able to utilize her photography and infographic skills as well. She also worked at the U.S. Embassy.

Currently, she works in the SUU Art Department as an art office assistant, where she does in-house graphic design work. The main thing she covers is the social media accounts of the SUU Art and Design Department. She’s thinking of becoming an International Student Ambassador (ISA) in the future as well.

“At my previous school, I was an International Student Representative for two years. I want to be there for students, both local and international, to offer help and my experience,” Hasanova elaborated.
Hasanova has been creating art from a very young age, and saw everything as a creation and a medium of expression and art. Her favorite style of art is traditional, but she likes all mediums and art types. She tries everything from clay, to paper, to oil canvas, and digital art.

“When I was a child, I couldn’t just sit at home–I was constantly finding myself doing something. And I was really pulled toward creating and fixing things. We are surrounded by design, art plays such a big role in everything,” Hasanova said. “One day I told my mom that there was nothing left to draw and that’s when she asked me if I wanted to go to art school.”

Hasanova has received lots of support from her family, and takes a lot of inspiration from them as well–namely, her older sister, who sparked an interest in studying internationally when she studied abroad.
Hasanova’s hometown in Turkmenistan was also home to an exhibit that made the urge to travel even stronger.

“There was this place called American Corner back home,” said Hasanova. “It was the only place where you could go and learn things about lots of countries–not just the United States. That was a big influence for my desire to study abroad as well”

In Turkmenistan and the United States, Hasanova is passionate about community service and volunteering. She also likes photography and videography. She can often be found at campus events and is the president of the Illustration Club on campus.

Throughout her short time at SUU, Hasanova has already accomplished so much–and not just academically.

“One thing I’m proud of overcoming is when I broke my hip in a skiing accident. It was actually right before I came to SUU, and I had to get two surgeries and learn to walk again, but I’m here and I’m recovered.”

College for international students is especially difficult, as they don’t get to see their family as often as some other students do. For Hasanova, this is one of her biggest challenges.

“I’ve been in the U.S. for four years, and I haven’t seen my family at all,” said Hasanova. “We can call and video chat, but it’s still difficult to not spend as much time with them. Also, even though I know the culture of the U.S. and Utah, it’s hard to be out of your country. Even transferring from Wyoming to Utah was really hard because you have to create a whole new social circle for yourself. But I did it, and now I know it’s possible to overcome those kinds of things.”

Following graduation, Hasanova’s path looks a little different from most graduates, as there are rules for international students that she has to abide by.

“There’s this program for international students called OPT, or “optional training,” where you can apply and work in the U.S. for a year after graduation, but you have to work in a field that is connected to your major,” Hasanova explains. “I’m actually planning to get my master’s degree. I love being educated and continuing my studies, so I will apply to my dream school again, which is Savannah College of Art and Design. I was accepted several times in the past, but I couldn’t afford it. I think by applying to do my master’s degree there, I’ll have more opportunities for scholarships. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter where I land, as long as I’ve got good people surrounding me and I love what I’m doing.”

Hasanova’s end goal is to become an animator, art educator, or art director.

As a Board of Trustees scholarship finalist, Hasanova offers her profound gratitude to her professors, faculty, and the dean who’ve supported her in her work and on her college journey. To college students–new and experienced, local and international–Hasanova offers her advice;

“There’s a quote from a graphic designer named David Carson; “As we get more technically driven, the importance of people becomes more than it's ever been before. You have to utilize who you are in your work. Nobody else can do that—nobody else can pull from your background, from your parents, your upbringing, your whole life experience.” I would add to never doubt yourself and never give up. During college, I’ve tried to do one thing every day that scared me, and I’ve really grown from that. Also, stay genuine to what you do, even the little things. Follow your heart and your passions. And constantly challenge yourself–embrace the challenges.”

Learn more about the seven finalists for the 2023 SUU Board of Trustees Scholarship.

Tags: Art and Design Board of Trustees College of Performing and Visual Arts

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