With a college degree in finances, Taylor Wilhelm from Ames, Iowa, never thought he would be an artist.
His sixth grade passion, however, granted the young man a position of the media director in Iowa State University football team.
Taylor grew up in Greenwich, the small village in Huron County. With a population of 1,425 people, it did not show many opportunities to the teenager who was constantly asking himself a question, ‘What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?’
“You always hear people say to chase your dreams,” Wilhelm reflected in his interview to Norwalk Reflector. “Growing up in Greenwich, I wasn’t exposed much to my passions and the talents I had.”
Growing up, I never dreamed I would be able to be a part of big-time football
12-year-old Wilhelm did have one passion that engulfed him completely — drawing sportsmen. He humbly showed his pictures of Tiger Woods and Allen Iverson on a trifold poster board during art classes.
At a school trade fair, Taylor even tried to sell the idea of a “sports drawing company” as a profession. When the boy nervously presented this project in front of adults, all he got was some fingertip applause.
Not surprisingly, when Wilhem graduated from 2010 South Central, he hardly considered arts as a serious career choice. Though the passion did not fade away.
While studying business and accounting in Trojans and Malone University, Taylor played football and tinkered with graphics software. He did not expect much of his exercises, but it was a nice way to take his mind off the thoughts about his future and career choice:
“Even through four years of college, there was never a job that stuck out to me that made me say, ‘that is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing’.”
Eventually Taylor started to post some of his pictures to Twitter.
Portraits of popular Ohio State football players got positive response. When Wilhelm uploaded photo of Andrew Hawkins, standout at the University of Toledo, the free-time-artist got a call from UT coaching staff.
Wilhelm was offered a graduate assistant position as a member of the recruiting team. When the head coach Matt Campbell left for Iowa State University, the UT graduate got a proposition of a lifetime.
Campbell created New Media position in ISU team specifically for Taylor:
“For him to trust in me to take on that responsibility when there were plenty of people more qualified than I was who would do anything for a position like that… It was huge,” he remembered.
That was truly a new beginning for Taylor:
“Who knew in a span of two years I would go from an accounting major to all of this?”
Wilhelm now resides in Ames, Iowa, with his wife, Shannon Ebert, and a bunch of duties which result in 12-hour working days during the season.
There was never a job that stuck out to me that made me say, ‘that is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing’
Wilhelm works on graphics for recruiting letters and handles most of Cyclones’ Twitter and Facebook graphics, photos and videos. As New Media director states himself, he has never been happier:
“It’s been really neat as a kid from Greenwich to be able to experience this big-time football. Growing up, I never dreamed I would be able to be a part of this.”
Wilhelm is now grateful to 12-year-old-self for happy memories that made all this possible. He also hopes his story will inspire others to find out what they love and how to make a living off of it:
“Life is so much better when you wake up on Monday mornings and can’t wait to get to work.”
Featured image: Taylor Wilhelm/Norwalk Reflector, Taylor Wilhelm/Behance