First-Year Artist Plans to Use Talents to Help Others
Reagan Kazyak hopes to design and construct prosthetics for those in need
WOOSTER, Ohio — Reagan Kazyak had an unusual experience while at home for fall break last month. Although she really enjoyed visiting with family and friends in her hometown of Commerce, Mich., she couldn’t wait to return to The College of Wooster, where she is enrolled as a first-year student.
“It was like a reverse form of homesickness,” says Kazyak, who hopes to develop a self-designed major in studio art and biomedical engineering. “The campus is so warm and welcoming. Everyone is like family. I really feel at home here.”
In just 10 weeks on campus, Kazyak has, indeed, found a home in Wooster, immersing herself in her classes as well as her extracurricular activities, which include being a member of the Newman Catholic faith-based group. She is also a member of student government and a host for prospective students through the Office of Admissions. In addition, she plans to take on a leadership position with Newman and join a social club. She is also considering becoming a part of the Worthy Questions mentoring group.
Kazyak has a strong interest in prosthetics and an uncommon ability to create various forms of art sculpture. “I really want to improve the lives of others, especially those who have served our country,” she says. “I love sculpture, and I believe I can use my gifts in this area.”
Kazyak’s skill as a sculptor was affirmed recently when she placed eighth in Art Prize, a highly competitive art contest in Grand Rapids, Mich. Her entry, titled “A Vintage Dream,” is a three-dimensional, fully wearable, old-fashioned, princess-style dress sculpted from — of all things — fairy tale books, which could eventually sell for as much as $10,000. “It’s like a dress you might see in a fairy-tale book,” she says. “The theme is living in the present while holding onto the past, and how to preserve one without losing the other.”
A self-described “non-traditional artist,” Kazyak has creatively crafted dresses using a variety of media, including newspapers, photographs, and even glass. While most members of her family are not artistic, Kazyak believes she has inherited her talent from her great grandmother who became a professional painter in her eighties and lived to the age of 104. “I love sculpture,” she says. “Designing is really fun.”
Prosthetics, on the other hand, is serious business, but Kazyak is strongly considering making it her life’s work. “Whatever I do, I want to help people,” she says. “Being able to design prosthetics would be a wonderful way to give back to those who have given so much.”