Amaya Blanton is one step closer to her dream of being a graphic designer and philanthropist.
Blanton, a graphic design major from Tyler who graduated from Tyler Junior College in May, will continue her studies at Texas Christian University on a full-ride Transfer Chancellor’s Scholarship worth $154,000.
She will to continue her major in graphic design at TCU, with future plans to eventually start her own philanthropic program to help high school students in pursuing creative careers.
“I want to start a design-based mentoring service that matches students with a professional mentor and an opportunity to participate in projects, build their portfolios and make connections,” she said. “I want to provide these students with the same opportunities that I was given at their age that started my career and love for design.”
Blanton excelled in her studies at TJC, where she was a member of the TJC Presidential Honors program and the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
In 2019, she was named a Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise scholar; and in February, she was one of five TJC sophomores named as 2020 semifinalists for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.
“When I graduated high school, I was not ready to move to another city and start at a university,” she said. “I really liked the fact that TJC was in my hometown and had so many great programs to choose from. TJC prepared me for what’s next by allowing me to have a safe environment to learn and grow.”
Blanton lists her TJC mentors as David Funk, honors program director and art professor, and Gigi Delk, Phi Theta Kappa faculty advisor and computer science professor.
“He is an amazing person and professor,” she said of Funk. “Anytime I needed advice, encouragement or a fresh perspective, I went to his office. Professor Funk helped me grow as a person and as an artist, because he really encouraged me to be who I am.”
Funk said, “Amaya poured her heart and soul into TJC, and every part of TJC she interacted with is better for it. I know she will bring that same level of intensity and engagement to TCU. This is such a win for her and for TJC.”
Of Delk, Blanton said, “She was the person who introduced me to Phi Theta Kappa. She was always so lively and bright throughout the day. Professor Delk became like a second mother to me.”
Delk said, “Amaya is an amazingly creative young leader who was able to really spread her wings at Tyler Junior College. She climbed volcanos in Costa Rica, became involved in undergraduate research, and served her community through volunteer work with Bethesda Health Clinic, Adopt-A-Highway and many others. I am so proud of all she has accomplished and look forward to even greater accomplishments from her in the future.”
Blanton is excited about her next chapter, but she’s grateful for her start at TJC.
“I will remember the sense of community, the bonds I built and the TJC family that I made here,” she said.