HERRON: What does being an IUPUI Top 100 student mean to you?

ELROD: It means so much to me. As an out-of-state student, sometimes it can be hard to find your stride in a new place. Nonetheless, I was accepted with open arms at IUPUI and at Herron, and that really helped me excel as a student. It's not often that a new school makes you feel confident and comfortable when discovering your strengths and weaknesses, and I'm fortunate to have been surrounded by incredible peers, faculty, and mentors who encouraged this kind of learning and leadership.

To me, being a Top 100 student really speaks to how passionate I am about this school and how supportive it has been to me. It's clear that being recognized for your hard work feels great, but when you take a step back, it really puts things in perspective.

HERRON: What has inspired you to succeed and better yourself academically?

ELROD: College is the time that you learn the most about yourself and the things you're passionate about, and I think that's something that I've known since the first day of freshman year. I believe that my desire to learn and grow is really evident in the classroom. I contribute as much as I can, I ask questions, I challenge myself and others during critiques, and I take the opportunity to speak to my professors about how to improve.

I've also looked for ways to get involved outside the classroom and in the community. I've volunteered for Herron events like the 2018 AIGA Design Educators Conference, campus events like Jagapalooza, and city events like the Big 10 Football Championship Game in 2019. Staying active got me excited about my studies and the city I lived in.

HERRON: What advice would you give to incoming Herron students who are not sure what major is right for them?

ELROD: Be honest with yourself and dig deep to find out not just what you like to do, but why you like to do it. Of course, making and creating is one of the most exhilarating things we can do as creative people, but understanding why we love doing it gives us meaning and perspective as to where we can concentrate our efforts to make the most difference in the world.

HERRON: What's next for you after graduation?

ELROD: After graduation, I'm going back to my hometown in Nashville to pursue a career with a design firm or a professional sports team in the city. I will never stop striving to grow and evolve as a designer and as a person who seeks to serve my community.