MPH Artist Named Semi-Finalist

Senior Olivia (Liv) Bigtree has been named a semi-finalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program! Being named a Presidential Scholar is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students and is administered by White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education to recognize and provide leadership development opportunities for some of America’s most talented high school seniors. There were 620 semifinalists who were selected from a pool of nearly 5,600 candidates nationwide. The Commission on U.S. Presidential Scholars will complete its selection of the students who will be named as the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars in May, which will be announced by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Liv endured a 14-hour application process through the U.S. Department of Education. But it didn’t start there. First, she had to apply to the Young Arts Week program in Miami with a complete portfolio of work, putting her in competition against the top art students in the nation.  There, she had to receive a nomination based on a week-long evaluation by master artists. She earned the nomination, which allowed her to apply to the Presidential Scholars program.  Visual Art and Design Chair Teresa Henderson commented, “I cannot think of any higher fine arts recognition for high school students, or a more rigors process. Liv’s  achievement was born from hours of dedication, incredible hard work, and her willingness to take creative risk.”

Learn more about the Presidential Scholars program here.

Liv also received accolades in the National Scholastic Art Awards competition, being selected as one of the top 1% in art in the nation for her video piece “145 Indigenous Women.” The video illustrates Liv as she takes the time to write 145 names of missing and murdered indigenous women. This particular piece won a Civic Expression award and scholarship based on her originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal vision or voice. View the video clip here.

Congratulations, Liv!