by Hannah Bahney
As a Visual Communication Design major with a passion for leadership and public relations, Honors scholar Devan Himstedt found the perfect niche at IUPUI.
The Herron School of Art & Design student is an IUPUI Resident Assistant (RA) in the Honors Freshmen Residential Learning Community in the Tower. With almost 70 residents to oversee, Himstedt serves as a liaison between the university and the housing community.
“I get to help cultivate a community within the students,” says Himstedt, who has also served on housing councils designed to help students become involved with campus. “I’ve always enjoyed mentoring positions and I get to help make students’ freshman year a memorable experience.”
Himstedt knows firsthand how influential the freshman experience is, as she met many of her friends and made connections to campus while living in the Honors Residential Learning Community.
The Bepko Scholar attributes the Honors College for opening up many other opportunities for her as well.
“I was in my Public Relations class and my professor didn’t know me at all since it was only the second day of class,” says Himstedt. “He approached me after class and asked if I’d be interested in an internship because he knew I was an Honors student and thinks Honors student are high-caliber. And that’s how I got my internship with the IU School of Medicine.”
As part of her internship with the Office of Strategic Communications at the nation’s largest medical school, Himstedt develops infographics to help better inform the public of complicated medical processes.
“I have a unique combination of visual communications and public relations that I get to use,” says Himstedt. “One of the nice things about IUPUI is that is has Herron, a full-blown art school, but it’s also very connected to the rest of the community.”
Recently, Himstedt was named a Sam Jones Scholar for the upcoming academic year. The scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and a passion for civic engagement. As one of the requirements, she will complete four hours of community service every week with a specific organization.
“I’m really excited to see how I can impact a particular organization throughout a year of sustained volunteering,” says Himstedt.
As someone who is heavily involved on campus or “has their fingers in a lot of pies,” as she describes it, she encourages students to get involved and realize the benefits of making connections and thriving in the community.
“Whether it be making friends or getting involved in something new, everything domino effects into great opportunities so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” advises Himstedt to incoming students. “We’re in the capital hub of the state, and it’s a really happening place.”