Chloe Gilmore always knew that college was in her future, but she wasn’t sure what that would look like for her. While in high school, she found a genuine love of learning for one of the first times in her life. She knew that she wanted to keep learning, but she was afraid of starting college. As with many first-generation college students, the thought of navigating college on her own was daunting.
Yet, Chloe took the leap and began her studies at CU Denver. She was particularly drawn to the university for its arts programs, which piqued her interest while applying to colleges, but she was unaware of how many areas of study were available to her until starting her classes at CU Denver.
To her pleasant surprise, she found that she was not alone here. Chloe began to find that many students at CU Denver are also first-generation students, and that she would not be facing the mystery by herself. She was immersed in a community of talented students and inspiring faculty and staff rooting her on. One in particular who impacted her experience is Kenny Sisco, an IT manager at CU Denver. He started as her boss but soon transformed into her mentor as he challenged Chloe to apply her creative talents to her everyday tasks, which included making posters for Sisco’s computer labs.
During her second year, she decided to begin studying illustration, taught by Quintin Gonzalez, assistant professor in the Visual Arts Department. He saw Chloe’s talent for digital painting and felt confident that she would succeed in the study of illustration. Since then, she’s been fine-tuning her talent, finding her voice in her art through not only her coursework, but her jobs.
In the fall of 2018, Chloe began working with CU Denver Events. In her role in a frequently changing group of other CU Denver Events teammates, she created hundreds of designs to promote school events. One of her works that her fellow fall 2020 graduates will recognize is the grad box sent to all of her classmates.
“I hope everyone graduating enjoyed the gift as much as I do,” Chloe said.
Working for CU Denver Events meant more to her than just having a job as an illustrator. She gained invaluable feedback on how to improve her work and learned how to work collaboratively with a team.
As Chloe begins the job hunt after fall commencement, she is excited to find a career that allows her to utilize her creative abilities that she fine-tuned at CU Denver. Her journey as a first-generation student not only taught her to trust her own voice and perspective, but to encourage others to keep learning, fighting, and creating.
“Whatever I find, it will help me grow further and reach new heights,” Chloe said. “Finding your voice in the world is hard enough, but it is even harder still to be heard. I still have a way to go to spread my work and my message, but I am looking forward to the journey.”