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2023-AIC-Headshots-77 - Jessenia Prado.jpg

Jessenia Prado

St. Olaf College, Class of 2024

Studio Art and Art History

What did you think about college before you attended?

I did not know what to expect in college, except that it would make the job application process easier and smoother when I was older. I had no idea what I would major in either. I just knew to follow what I was passionate about: art and culture.

How do you think being a first generation student has affected your college experience?

Being a first generation student has affected my college experience by molding me into a stronger, independent problem solver. Growing up, I had to overcome many challenges on my own, so when I face challenges at college I take advantage of all the resources there are here for me to make easier decisions.

What do you love about your college?

I absolutely love how driven students are here at St. Olaf, especially in the art scene. You want to put a sculpture out on the quad? Do it! Want to paint a mural in the common areas? Count me in! Everyone is so open to ideas to express creativity and liven up the campus

What does it mean to you to have been chosen as a Renaissance Scholar?

To have been chosen as a Renaissance Scholar means that people believe in me and my goals. This scholarship gave me the motivation to continue working hard to achieve my degree and work in the arts.

What has been the most impactful experience or class during your time in college?

Last year, my campus was undergoing challenges in mental health due to an incident on campus. As an art student, I believe that art can be a healing practice. On a mental health day where St. Olaf College students had no scheduled classes, I led a mural painting event for campus community to paint, draw, and decorate however their heart desired. The mural now hangs in a student common space, part of permanent campus history. Through this experience, I feel proud that I have made my mark on campus by bringing the community together through accessible art. I look forward to painting more murals with my community in Chicago with people who don't practice art regularly.

Creating is Healing - Spring '23-31 - Jessenia Prado.JPEG

What advice would you give a high school student preparing for college?

Make time for yourself. It can be easy to get caught up with classes, jobs, and clubs that it is easy to forget to make time to relax and take a breather, even if it means to set a time on your calendar. Future you will thank you for being kind to your mental health.


Any advice for students applying for the Renaissance Scholars program?

Print out your essays and read them out loud. I know it may seem silly, but it will help edit your essays sound more natural.

Are you a Renaissance Scholar? Current scholars and alumni can share their stories here. 

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