By Jeff Willadsen, Global Campus Senior Writer

Jenny Trujillo, an accounting major at Washington State University’s Global Campus, has two sides to her personality—an ordered, reserved side with a talent for numbers, and an adventurous, creative side with a passion for travel and art. Throughout her life, it seemed like she had to choose one or the other. But the journey that led Trujillo to WSU taught her that she could embrace both sides of herself at once, leading to her paintings being featured in the 2021 issues of WSU’s student-produced art journal LandEscapes.

Trujillo began studying accounting in her native Taiwan, having decided that a career as a CPA would be a reliable and practical one.

“As a child, I found that I had the aptitude for many skills required to be an accountant, and it fit with many of the ordered and methodical aspects of my personality. The reliability of a career in accounting was also very attractive to me,” said Trujillo. “However, I believed at the time that I would have to commit fully to this one career choice and not pursue my other passions, like travel. So I decided to put my accounting career on hold in order to take some time to travel and explore.”

Jenny and Tayvin in Thailand.

To pursue her passion for travel, Trujillo applied for a working holiday visa and travelled to Australia, where she would meet her future husband, Tayvin.

Over the next few years, Trujillo would expand her horizons by traveling the world, visiting New Zealand, Thailand, Canada, and more.

It was during this time that she discovered her passion for art. According to her, it started out as a hobby, drawing figures and giving them as gifts to loved ones.

“It really was a creative expression and outlet for me. The more I drew and painted, the more I enjoyed it,” said Trujillo. “In day-to-day life, I have a very ordered personality and methodical way of dealing with things. Drawing and painting allowed me to embrace a more imaginative and impulsive side of my personality that I hadn’t been able to express in the same way before.”

Trujillo said that her specific choice of artistic medium is also emblematic of a certain side of her personality, just like her original choice of accounting as a career.

“I chose watercolor as the main medium for my art because water is something that can’t really be controlled. Watercolors move in a way that can’t be fully predicted. I think it’s beautiful and really fits my imaginative style.”

After a few years of travelling and exploring her art, Trujillo and her husband decided to settle down in the United States. They moved to Kennewick, Washington, where her husband grew up, and began laying down roots. This was when the idea to go back to school began to develop in Trujillo’s mind.

“I wanted to return to school for accounting for the same reasons I originally wanted to work in that career field. Because it’s a stable and reliable field that fit my personality,” she said. “However, things were different this time. First of all, I found that I had the option to learn online, which gave me a lot of flexibility I didn’t have before.”

At this time, Trujillo’s husband was earning his degree at WSU Tri-Cities, so she heard about WSU’s reputation as an outstanding and reputable school. She realized she could earn her degree online through WSU Global Campus, remain living in Kennewick, and continue to pursue the other things she loved, like art.

“Throughout my time travelling the world and while living here in America, I began to realize something that I didn’t know during my childhood back in Taiwan. I realized that I didn’t have to choose between a stable career like accounting and my passion for art. I realized that I could do both at the same time.”

So Trujillo began working towards her degree at WSU Global Campus in fall of 2020. At the same time, she increased her efforts to perfect her artistic techniques in her painting and began looking for ways to get involved with WSU’s thriving art community.

One day, she saw an advertisement to submit art for the WSU’s art journal, LandEscapes, an annual journal run by WSU art students.

“I thought ‘why not?’ and submitted three of my watercolor portraits,” she said.

It didn’t take long for Trujillo to hear back from the journal, which requested more of her art. She submitted three more pieces, all of which would appear in the print version of the journal, released in spring of 2021. A digital version of the journal will be available fall 2021.

“It’s been a wonderful experience all around. I love expressing myself and sharing my art with others,” said Trujillo. “I’m look forward to more of that if the future, as well as my career in accounting. Without WSU and Global Campus, I wouldn’t be able to do either in the same way I am today.”

Trujillo plans to graduate with a bachelor’s of business administration, accounting major in 2024.

“Jenny’s story is a great example of how online learning provides maximum flexibility in how students can spend their time while earning their degree,” said Debbie O’Donnell, Global Campus’ vice chancellor of student affairs. “Whether it’s creative pursuits, building a career, or raising a family, earning your degree online allows you to more easily pursue your various passions while you achieve your academic goals.”