By: Holley Calmes Staff Correspondent
When sports and the arts come together with a desire to help others, the results can be as surprising as they are unique.
Recent North Gwinnett High School graduate Katelyn Sheridan embodies this unusual concept. As the recipient of NGAA’s 2020 Art Scholarship, Sheridan will use it to further her dream of becoming an artist/industrial engineer, designing prosthetics for disabled individuals.
The photography Sheridan submitted along with her scholarship application got the attention of NGAA President Cherie Heringer.
“We were impressed with her overall talent, ambition and academic performance,” Heringer said. “She also received a glowing recommendation from Dallas Gellespie, her teacher and mentor.”
While many NGAA Art Scholarship recipients move on to attend such schools as SCAD, Sheridan will enroll at Georgia Tech in Atlanta this fall, attending the School of Industrial Design. There, Sheridan is eager to take part in the school’s “Invention Studio.”
“The Invention Studio is a wonderland for creative people,” Sheridan said. “They have countless tools including laser cutters and 3D printers, so it is a perfect place to develop prototypes. In the Industrial Design building, they have a Body Scan Lab that uses high-resolution scanning to create custom products for people. I can use this technology to create custom fits for people who have lost limbs.”
Sheridan was artistic as a toddler.
“If I wasn’t playing in the backyard, I was creating art,” she said. “My mom supplied me with paint and paper from the age of 2. From then until high school, I filled coloring books and sketchbooks, built tiny rooms for my toys, and finished tons of Lego creations. I got into photography in high school, but I still love sketching and painting.”
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Playing lacrosse and flag football throughout high school led Sheridan to realize how important physical activities are, and how life-changing it is for someone to lose the use of a part of their body.
“Because I am so active, I want everyone to have the opportunity to be active without physical limitations holding them back,” she said.
Designing prosthetics blends all of Sheridan’s interests. Above all, she says, “I have a heart for helping people. Designing prosthetics immediately made sense to me because it combined my eye for design and love for engineering with my heart to help others.”
The implications for helping those disabled in combat was another consideration. Sheridan’s father is a former Marine.
“I didn’t want to actually enlist,” she said, “so I think I found a happy medium because most of the people needing prosthetics are veterans.”
Her “dream job” would be to research materials and design to improve how prosthetics are made as well as custom fitting them for individuals.
“I can also see myself with a two or three-legged dog in the future,” Sheridan said. “Creating the wheels and other artificial limbs for animals interests me too. I want to give every living thing a chance!”
Visit https://www.ngaa4arts.com/ for more information about the Arts Scholarship Program.