"At Hollins, I felt that I was walking in the footsteps of these amazing women who had done great things," says Emily Wheat Maynard '00. "It builds a sense that you're part of a larger legacy, and it makes you want to be part of it." Now a jewelry designer in Taylorsville, Kentucky, Maynard was drawn to Hollins because of its art program. She won a merit-based scholarship for her artistic ability and ended up majoring in art history and French. She was also greatly influenced by a semester in France. "In Paris, when you're taking all your courses in French and you study art and discuss it in French, it makes such a difference in your experience," she says. "Sometimes you can end up on a certain path, and don't always realize that it may change your future."
After Hollins, she earned an M.A. degree from the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, in New York, where she studied jewelry. The jewelry she designs today was especially influenced by the Renaissance art and metal smithing she studied at Bard. Her company, Elva Fields Jewelry, is named after her great-grandmother.
"I really flourished at Hollins," she says. "Everything was so approachable. You have that sense of responsibility and obligation to bring something to class. I liked that everyone contributed because it was valuable to the whole community.
"I feel that I'm a product of the education I received. I wouldn't have this business if I hadn't had the education I had at Hollins."