Emma Jane Cooley ‘16 Blossoms in Creative Spaces

by Tim O'Keefe

Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado

Residing In: Carbondale, Colorado

Education: Bachelors in Biology with a concentration in Botany from Fort Lewis College

Occupation: metalsmith, botanist, painter, printer, designer

What are some of your interests?
Silversmithing, watercolor painting, rafting, ceramics, cooking. I am currently back at CRMS working as a Studio Assistant to the silversmithing instructor Olivia Pevec. I am beyond excited to be back in the place where I found my passion and to be able to share it with other students. I have been learning a lot from Olivia, and I hope I can gain as much from this opportunity as I can give to it.

A favorite memory of a CRMS faculty or classmate?
I remember in my senior year, at the state climbing competition, our varsity girls and varsity boys both won the team titles. It was the first time I think in a while that had happened.  My coach BJ Sbarra, who had been such a dedicated and supportive coach through my two years at CRMS, started to get a little teared up watching us go up and get our award as a team. I remember that it struck me so much that I was like, “Woah, he really is proud of us.” It made me realize how much my teachers, coaches, and everyone else at CRMS really cared about me. It’s a community where your teachers aren’t just your teachers, they’re also your mentors, your guardians, and people who truly want to see you succeed.

How did CRMS play a role in your professional, personal, or community life?
I arrived at CRMS in 11th grade and was launched into the Wilderness trip. It was an intense experience, it rained hard every single day of the trip. Just before we were due to start our peak climb, one of the girls on my trip rolled her ankle and couldn’t carry her pack. She powered through so well, and I remember our student leader carrying his pack as well as hers up the mountain. It was just a moment of compassion and strength for both of them. At the end of that long and freezing day, the teachers brought us hot chocolate in our sleeping bags, and I’ll never forget how warm I felt inside and out. I knew I was entering a place with a community that genuinely cared about me.

My two years at CRMS helped me not just find myself, but be unabashedly who I was. I became more independent and blossomed into a person I never knew I could be.

How has your experience at CRMS influenced what you are doing now?
CRMS is really known for its amazing active and outdoor programs, but I don’t think it gets enough credit for its arts facilities. I was exposed to so many incredible crafts that sparked my love for creating with my hands. I think about how many of my peers from my class are currently pursuing some field in the arts, and I love that so many of us had the opportunity to begin at CRMS. Lynn Pulford was such an encouraging and supportive presence during my time at CRMS, and I am so grateful for her influence in facilitating a space where I felt inspired to be an artist and to stick with it.

What would you like to tell students today?
Make the most of your time at CRMS. The opportunities are there for you, so take advantage of them. Try every new thing you can because there’s a good chance you will find something you want to do for the rest of your life.

See Emma Jane’s work at https://emmajanestudios.com/home

Tags from the story

Alumni, Community

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