Emma Harrell’s goal to become a concept artist for a game development company or in a related field put East Carolina University on her short list of colleges to consider.
“I toured a lot of in-state schools with good art programs and ECU best suited my career path,” she said. “ECU’s art program offers a lot of up-to-date courses related to many fields like digital, 3D design, animation graphic design, etc. When touring the art building, I could instantly tell the environment was great to pursue goals that don’t fit in traditional courses.”
Beyond the atmosphere, Harrell was selected as one of 20 Brinkley-Lane Scholars, the university’s most prestigious undergraduate award program. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive a fully funded education, covering the cost of tuition, fees, room and board for both in-state and out-of-state students and unique high impact experiences, as well as the ability to explore the world with a $5,000 study abroad stipend. Scholars benefit from access to an array of leadership opportunities, research with award-winning faculty and a robust alumni network.
The scholarship brings a wide range of opportunities that the 19-year-old intended art major is eager to experience.
“I am not financially worried, which is huge relief with going into a field like art. I can go abroad and learn in a different environment, which wouldn’t have been possible without Brinkley-Lane Scholars. I also get to meet great people with bright futures that I can grow with in the program,” Harrell said.
She hasn’t decided where to study abroad but is interested in Japan and South Korea. “They have a pretty big influence on art so it would be nice to learn over there as well as experience the culture,” Harrell said.
Harrell, who has been working as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator since 2019, will graduate from Randolph Early College High School this month. She also will earn an associate degree in advertising and graphic design from Randolph Community College to pair with an associate in arts she received last year.
In high school, Harrell has been a member of the National Beta Club, where she led award-winning art projects, and has participated in club-led community service projects including the Junior Civitans and Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Last semester, she worked as a part-time graphic design intern in Greensboro, where she updated websites and designed logos, T-shirts, community maps, brochures and more.
“My college classes played a huge role in my life and how I got on the path I am now. My professors really help me learn and grow to heights I couldn’t have thought of as a freshman,” she said.
Before moving to campus, Harrell has some art commissions to complete and may get a part-time online graphic design job. She’s looking forward to getting involved in everything at ECU, experiencing campus life in the residence halls and “finally getting to practice my art skills in classes.”
Harrell is the daughter of Kelli and Forrest Harrell of Archdale.
“I can go abroad and learn in a different environment, which wouldn’t have been possible without Brinkley-Lane Scholars. I also get to meet great people with bright futures that I can grow with in the program”
High school: Randolph Early College High School
Intended major: Art