Student Spotlight: Up and Coming Student Creatives

Aaron Patterson, a freshman studying communication, religion and business management has become quite the social media star. Within the span of eight months, he has accumulated over 33,000 followers on TikTok by creating short videos with his friends. His video, created a few months ago highlighting his last night of high school, accumulated one million views in just a few months. 

Despite his social media popularity, his main priorities are God and people. He feels the calling to be a pastor, build a church and do outreach. 

“I feel like I am being called to do what I do,” Patterson said.

 Patterson hopes to build a church where people notice “community in the simplicity of Jesus.”

He advised others to challenge their beliefs and compare them to the Bible.

“If you don’t find it in the Bible, search whether it is biblical or not,” Patterson said. “You could be raised in an incredible family, but can find yourself straying away from Jesus.” 

In his free time, Patterson professionally models and acts. He loves coffee and going to coffee shops to have deep conversations with people. 

He has a couple of opportunities lined up with modeling and a new video coming out soon, centered around the girl he’s been chasing for the past three years and finally caught.  The release date has not been confirmed.

TikTok: aaroncpatterson

Instagram: aaroncpatterson_

Youtube: J&A 


Rence Arroyo is a Filipino native and a junior social work major from the Chicago area. He was inspired to make music at a young age with the influence of his dad. When Arroyo was younger, he sang in church and in advanced choir during high school. 

Arroyo has posted music videos since his freshman year of college, but recently started to post on social media more consistently. He also performed his first single at 423 Night Market in front of students and community members.  

According to Arroyo, he has gained  immense support from friends and family.

“I expected it to be an easy way to express myself. I tend to use music to destress myself,” Arroyo said.

His inspiration comes from different genres like R&B and Filipino artists. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, eating, sleeping, photography and hanging out with friends. 

Although he has a few more years before graduation, he wants “to pursue something in the field of mental health.”

“I believe it’s overlooked,” Arroyo said. “People look at your physical disabilities, but tend to not think about mental issues, such as depression. They’ll tell people to get over it when there are actual mental issues going on.” 

He advises others “to really make connections. Not just in music, but in general.”

He will release new music near Christmas and Valentine’s Day along with small releases, music videos and an EP. 

All streaming platforms: Rence Royal

Instagram: arrroyo.r


Jonathan Rodney,  a senior music performance and international studies major from Chicago, goes by the stage name “Jon Doe.” 

He comes from a musically talented family and wrote his first song when he was around eight years old.

“[Although] studying is supposed to be my first priority, the music I do is self-care,” Rodney said.  

His single “tsunAmi,” has been played in over 80 countries and is currently at 158,000+ listens .

“My goal is to be able to reach people with music, and I think it’s been working. I’ve made new friendships from people listening to my music,” Rodney said. “I’m feeling good about what I’m putting out because it’s authentic to me and people are responding to that authenticity.” 

Outside of music, Rodney knows a total of three languages and seeks to learn more. He also enjoys being outside, writing, helping others and playing piano and ukulele. After college, he plans to get his master’s and teach ESL in Germany while choral conducting at a university. 

He offers aspiring students the following advice: “Publish your work. Also, don’t be afraid to be a perfectionist, but don’t let your perfectionism get in the way.” 

He plans to release an album in the upcoming months. 

Most streaming platforms: “jon doe”

Instagram: @theycallmejohndoenow