Winter 2017

What's in your backpack?

Interior design student Noah Exum
Photography by Liz Banfield

“My sketchbook, my pencils, and my giant eraser,” says Noah Exum, a second-year student in the College of Design. “I compulsively draw and redraw things and work through ideas.”

Exum, who has a degree in studio art and printmaking, is working toward a second bachelor’s in interior design.

A lover of antiques and “random ephemera,” he wants to specialize in residential and small-scale projects. “I like the fact that it’s an applied art,” he says of interior design. “And I like the fact that you get to be creative in your problem-solving and that it’s very people-based.”

A two-semester Dean’s lister and member of the Tau Sigma honor society and Black Student Union, Exum received three scholarships this year—the Timothy Trent Blade Undergraduate Scholarship, Caleb Dorr Scholarship, and Phi Upsilon Omicron Scholarship. He says the support has allowed him to continue his education.

“Literally, I would not have been able to afford the classes I’m taking without those scholarships,” he says, addingthat they also have enabled him to cut back on his work managing a retail store.

“Design is very intense, especially the studio classes. My classmates and I regularly spend the night in the studio. If I had to go to work every single day, my school work would suffer,” he says. 

Exum, who appreciates art history and wrote an essay for one of his scholarship applications about the value of decorative arts, hopes to do an internship or study with a professor this summer. “That’s another thing the scholarships will allow me to do.”