Sara O’Brien is a freshman student at the Cooper Union. In her student statement she wrote: One of the earliest memories I have is my grandma walking me around the corner from her house to meet my dad at his bus stop. I would greet him with a little homemade card covered in glue and glitter, signed, Love Sara- in Crayola crayons of course. Given that I was a curious five-year-old, and had a short attention span, I decided to explore different activities. I dabbled in the art of painting rocks I collected from my grandmother’s yard, along with painting anything I had permission to paint on. Regardless of what it was, It was dedicated to my father. I didn’t know why he worked so hard, all I knew was that I appreciated it and wanted to thank him. From there, Art became a tool of expression for me. My Grandma was raised as an orphan. She quickly learned how to rely on her community and creativity. She soon taught me these skills. Together, we learned to play guitar by watching PBS and how to paint by mimicking Bob Ross on DVD. I slowly picked up the skills and habits she taught me. She did so without me even knowing. She had an uncanny ability to disguise education as play, like a clever parent sneaking veggies into their children’s meals. Through her lessons, she imbued me with priceless insights, becoming the greatest teacher I, or anyone, could ever ask for. At that time, I lived with my mother and two brothers in a public housing facility, receiving help from the government and our community. I was eager to take art classes but, “it wasn’t in the budget.” Taking what my grandma taught me, I begged my brother to take me to the public library. He eventually relented and brought me. There, I borrowed as many books as I could carry in my arms. This not only relieved the need for an art class but a gym as well. The recent passing of my Grandma made me realize that there’s one less teacher in the world and that I want to fill that role. In the future, I want to be able to give back to the people around me that have shaped me, inspired me, and taught me. Studying at The Cooper Union will allow me to explore different paths in the art world. Integrating art education and art therapy will allow me to connect to multiple people and show them how art can change their lives. After receiving a degree I plan on working with underprivileged children to give them inspiration and hope for the future. Also, my Grandma always taught me to use creativity as a tool for problem-solving. Being an artist and designer, I hope to one day use my skills and creativity to help companies and small business design reusable and sustainable products for their customers. I want to be able to live in a world with less waste and more innovation.