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Graphic Design Major Creates Visual Solutions to Real-World Problems

March 31, 2020
Ellen next to Dominic DelliCarpini
Ellen Korver and Dominic Dellicarpini

Ellen Korver ’23 can’t always tell you what’s in her head, but she can show you. She’ll use condiments as props to help illustrate a story or doodle her way to a solution of a problem. Ideas flow from her mind like ink from a pen, so fast there often aren’t enough hours in the day to manage them all.

Most end up as drawings in the margins of notebooks or props for the Theatre Club. Some, though, make it all the way into full-blown pieces of art, graphic design projects, or, on her best days, as a way to connect with the community around her. It’s those ideas that won Ellen the Dominic DelliCarpini Scholarship at the York Community Art Scholars Exhibition (YCASE), at York College of Pennsylvania.

Feeling Seen

It wasn’t a drawing but a photo that sent Ellen to the top of the field of YCASE competitors her senior year at York Suburban High School. The digital image showed a dead cicada interacting with tiny plastic people.

Ellen admits she didn’t really know what she was doing with the photo project, but it got her noticed in the exhibition that featured high school students from across York County. It also earned her the opportunity to take eight free art classes through York College. She went to all of them, learning printmaking, dabbling in graphic design, and tackling portfolio creation.

The classes were all taught by York College professors. Working with them, Ellen instantly felt at home. “I just felt so comfortable with them,” she says. “They saw me as a person.”

That experience, plus some prodding from her older brother who was two years through a Graphic Design degree at York College, solidified her decision to follow in his footsteps.

Dominic Dellicarpini Scholarship

Finding ways to use art to further education and connect with the community is the focus of the Dominic DelliCarpini Scholarship. For Ellen, it seemed like a perfect fit.

She was committed to giving back to the community, with over 150 hours logged volunteering at York Hospital, countless community theatre and school productions, and performances in the community band and orchestra.

Her essays and interviews focused on art as a form of communication. “The arts are a way that we can connect and express our ideas—not just for the present, but for the future,” she says.

As the recipient of the $20,000 scholarship, she’s been putting that way of thinking to the test. She works with the Eisenhart and Graham Innovation Scholars to bring community-forward ideas to life, adding a visual perspective to group projects.

The World is a Stage

As a first-year student, Ellen has just started dipping her toes into the graphic design world, and already she’s obsessed. “I’m slowly realizing how addicting art is,” she says. She’s super into Neanderthal art right now, and a typography class has her picking apart every magazine she sees.

Her dream job, though, is outside both of those realms. She wants to go into prop design. That dream might change over the next four years as she’s introduced to more elements of design and new ways of thinking. But, that drive and instinct to communicate visually, to take her ideas and run with them, to find visual solutions to real-life problems, that’s a quality that’s only getting stronger.