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Gabi Mechaber: Pre-College Success

Gabi Mechaber Headshot

Gabi Mechaber (BFA 22) is fresh out of undergrad and working as a designer at Friendly Design Co., a social impact design studio. But she first got her head start at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design while still a high schooler.

In this Q&A, Mechaber reflects on her time in the Stamps Pre-College Summer Program in 2017 – an experience that she says contributes to her accomplishments today. 

To learn more about the Pre-College Program and how to apply, visit stamps​.umich​.edu/​p​r​e​-​c​o​llege.

What made you decide to take part in the Pre-College Program? 

I have always been an artist and attended a design magnet high school. I knew graphic design was what I wanted to study. Stamps was one of my top programs that I was applying to for college, and I thought the Pre-College Program would be a great way to see what the school was like. I also felt that Michigan would be the best fit in a college experience for me overall, so I wanted to prioritize experiencing the Stamps curriculum!

How was it adjusting to the college environment away from home? 

I’m from Miami, Florida, so I came from out of state, but I didn’t find it hard to adjust at all. I really loved Ann Arbor!

Do you think being in Pre-College helped you acclimate to U‑M once you enrolled?

It definitely was easier navigating the Stamps building since I had just spent time there the summer before. I felt familiar with campus already, too. 

What was your favorite thing about Pre-College?

Making friends! Many of us ended up at Stamps for college, so I already knew some people going into the school year. Building my portfolio was also great. I ended up with a few pieces that I used for my application. 

Three Pre-College students stand in front of a pink lit Stamps sign.
Kristina Rogers, Gabi Mechaber and Cristy Patiño attended the Stamps Pre-College summer program in 2017. Photo courtesy of Gabi Mechaber

Do you have a specific project from Pre-College that you were especially proud of? 

My favorite project was the big project I made towards the end of the session for our exhibition. I made a giant quilt by collecting patterns in my environment and turning them into digital illustrations! 

Would you recommend Pre-College to high school students?

The Pre-College Program is definitely a great experience if you’re able to go! It was great to meet the administration and learn more about the school and the curriculum ahead of time. I was probably more prepared for what foundation year is like because of it. 

Do you take anything you learned in Pre-College to your current career? Did it give you an edge?

The biggest takeaway I had from the Pre-College Program was learning how to manage my time in a studio setting. We were given large projects that required a lot of studio time to finish, and it prepared me for how to navigate my class projects once I got to school. I’ve definitely taken this into my current career, as I’m working with client deadlines. They require a lot of time management while I’m in between multiple projects at a time. 

For more information about Gabi Mechaber and her work, visit her portfolio at gabimech​aber​.com.

Stamps 2023 Pre-College students preparing for their exhibition & closing reception

Apply for Spring & Summer Pre-College Programs!

Early Action Application Deadline: February 1, 2023

Final Application Deadline: March 15, 2023

Apply Now

Story by Katelyn Stuck.