Education Without Boundaries
An artist himself, Matt Wolff took note of the sharp layout whenever he received mail from Goucher. After a tour of the college, he was on the fence about whether to attend. But after visiting again during his senior year, seeing a speaker on campus, having dinner in a dining hall, and getting into a few conversations with students, he was sold.
Now with sights set on a career in graphic design, Wolff has taken advantage of Goucher's flexible, but rigorous, interdisciplinary studies program and is putting his education into his own hands - with the help of his adviser and professors.
"What I feel Goucher does is really let you cater to your interests," he said. "At a design school you're bottlenecked into only doing art all the time," he said. "Here you can do everything else ... . All my other academics sort of tie into it."
As a double major in studio art and French, Wolff works closely with faculty and mentors to develop a portfolio that has led him to a semester of graphic design intensive coursework in Copenhagen and hopefully an internship in Paris — all to prep him for a successful career post-Goucher.
Wolff said he most enjoys working with digital media and has recently developed a fondness for charcoal. "I've been working to find ways to incorporate sculpture or photography or mixed media in graphic design," he said, joking it has been problematic to always have charcoal-covered hands. With his work, he finds that his professors' feedback is especially helpful and encouraging. He said a recent critique by a respected professor really solidified for him that he was pursuing the right field. "That class was really personalized," he said. "All the classes here are really personalized."
A rapacious reader, Wolff reads when he gets to a class early, and he talks about books with his family, coworkers, peers, and professors. "I guess while some people do yoga or meditate, I read," he said. He also works at a used bookstore close to campus and often takes advantage of Goucher's library, especially the InterLibrary Loan Service, through which students can order materials using a network of other libraries. "It's like having every book you could ever want delivered to your door," he said.
This voracity for information and quest for learning have served Wolff well with the work required of him in Goucher's International Scholars Program (ISP). The ISP complements studies in specific disciplines by exploring their broader global context through intensive coursework in the classroom and firsthand experience around the world. He says the program has been an amazing supplement to his education.
In exploration of local global connections, the class often went on excursions in Baltimore. For a semester-long project, students had to work in groups to find a way to try and inspire positive change within the city. Wolff said he found it to be a perfect chance to unify his interest in graphic design with social advocacy and community outreach.
Wolff said he appreciates that he is able to put his Goucher education to work both globally and locally. Whether it's his plans to work in the competitive internationalized field of graphic design or making a difference in the nearby community, he has found that the college's network is a "big web" that helps get things done.
"Goucher is a launching pad to so many other places and so many other people," Wolff said. "You can get into Baltimore and make connections; you can go to Paris and make connections... Somebody knows somebody who can help you with what you're doing."