‘Picture Your Life As’ showcases diversity at Milligan

This portrait of senior Elizabeth O’Neill, photographed by Şazıye Gourley-Özhayta, is one of the photos included in the “Picture Your Life As” exhibit at Milligan College.

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (Feb. 21, 2014) — An exhibit showcasing the diversity of the Milligan College community is set to open on Sunday, March 2, from 2-4 p.m. in Milligan’s McMahan Student Center.

The exhibit is titled “Picture Your Life As,” and it will remain open through March 21. The opening reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.

“Picture Your Life As” features the personal narratives and portraits of almost 30 students who are part of Milligan’s Goah Diversity Scholars Program.

The Goah Scholars program is part of Milligan’s diversity initiative started in 2007 to enhance the educational experience of all students.

“We hope that people will gain a new perspective on the Goah Diversity Scholars and see us as a group of individuals who have unique stories to tell,” said junior Şazıye Gourley-Özhayta.

Gourley-Özhayta, a communications major, was the primary photographer for the exhibit. She was assisted by junior Alex Rostro, a business administration major. Both students are photography minors.

Each of the portraits in the exhibit will be displayed adjacent to the stories, which range from students’ experiences growing up in other countries to hurdles they have overcome to get to college.

Gourley-Özhayta shares how she was shaped by growing up with a Muslim father and a Christian mother.

Another Goah scholar, Luis M. Treviño, recounts his childhood spent on the Texas-Mexico border.

“Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop,” Treviño said. “I wrote about what it was like for me growing up on the border. I had an identity crisis and didn’t know what side I fell on.”

The participants hope their narratives promote conversation and a deeper understanding of the many backgrounds that contribute to Milligan. They will be at the opening reception to visit with guests and answer questions.

“All of us have moments that make us who we are today,” Gourley-Özhayta. “These stories alongside the pictures in the exhibit are just a sample of the diversity you find at Milligan.”

For more information about arts events at Milligan, visit

Posted by on February 21, 2014.