Emelyn Baker spent much of her four years on the UI campus searching for an answer to the stumper: Who am I?
Far easier a question to answer back in those days, especially after hours was: Where am I?
“To me, UIUC is Murphy’s,” Baker says from the Bay Area.
“I celebrated my 21st birthday at Murphy’s. Murphy’s might be the start of the night, or the end. One day, I’d order a drink wearing sweats and a T-shirt; another day, I’d be dressed in full drag.
“Conversations ranged from friendly banter and flirting to the meaning of life and the existence of god. I’ve laughed, cried and argued in Murphy’s, and with friends, there was no place I’d rather be.”
As for the deeper question, Baker figured that out, too — with an assist from a pair of favorite faculty members — on her way to earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
“My interests were scattered, and it was hard to answer that question. Two professors helped: Anne Burkus-Chasson and Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud,” says the Google interaction designer.
“Professor Burkus-Chasson showed me that having many passions was an asset — in an independent study, we covered the floor of Krannert with indigo.
“And Professor Gunji-Ballsrud showed me that quality matters. Critiques with her wildly tough, but rewarding.”