Work Ethic Scholarship Recipient – Devyn Smoter has Left & Right Brain Smarts
By the time Devyn Smoter got to high school, she knew what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She had always loved art and had been drawing since she was a kid, but it was her first photography class at St. Michael-Albertville High School that sealed the deal. She was going to be a professional photographer. That is, until she took her first accounting class. She described it as “the easiest class I’ve ever taken.” With an aptitude for numbers, she thought perhaps she should be a professional accountant.
There were no shortages of opinions on the subject. Devyn’s mom thought she should follow the left side of her brain and pick a logical vocation like accounting or engineering. Her dad told her to follow the right side of her brain and pick a creative vocation and do something artistic. Devyn’s advanced placement art teacher and mentor, Mrs. Halker agreed with her dad. Her math teacher sided with her mom.
In 2014, as she prepared to graduate, a decision had to be made. In the battle for Devyn’s brain, the left side was winning. Because she was so good at math, and it came so easily, Devyn decided she would pursue accounting at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in nearby Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Devyn’s mom was pleased, but dad and Mrs. Halker were not. “You should definitely try to do something more artistically creative,” Halker told Devyn. But her mind was made up.
During her first year at Anoka-Ramsey CC, Devyn began to question her decision. “I absolutely hated how boring it all was. It was really easy for me because math and logic had always been my strengths, but I knew I needed to cultivate my creativity as well if I was truly going to love what I would be doing for the rest of my life.”
Devyn still liked to draw and take photographs. She was always drawing different shapes and fascinated by skylines, which led to an interest in architecture, and architectural photography.
One Spring day, she accompanied her friend Lucas to an open house at Dunwoody College of Technology. Lucas was interested in their automotive program. Devyn was just along for the ride to provide moral support, but while there, she noticed an architecture table. Lucas encouraged her to go over and check it out. So, she did. She met instructor Paul Strother. He told her all about the Architectural Drafting & Design courses. Soon, she was taking a tour of the department. She loved it, and began to imagine herself as a student there.
On the ride home she made a bold decision. She told Lucas that she was going to be an architect. By that Fall, Devyn was a student at Dunwoody, being taught by Paul Strother. Today, in addition to her studies, she’s also doing a paid internship at the DLR Group, an architectural and engineering firm in Minneapolis.
Thanks to scholarships from Women in Technical Careers, the Association of Women Contractors, and the #mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Devyn’s school debt will be cut in half. In May of 2017, she will get her Associates degree, and immediately start on her Bachelors.
Devyn’s parents could not be happier. Finally, she’s picked a career that combines math & science with art, allowing Devyn to use both sides of her brain.