December 2018 Alumni and Friends Newsletter
With the semester drawing to a close, we’re starting to breathe more deeply, notice the snow on the trees and prepare for some respite during the upcoming holiday season. I hope a well-deserved dose of leisure is in store for our College of Art and Architecture family as the past few weeks have been buzzing with excitement — from end-of-semester reviews, to the fall commencement ceremony, to final exams.
At commencement last weekend, 19 students became College of Art and Architecture alumni, including Virtual Technology and Design student Cameron Perry. Cameron made significant strides in melding science, technology and the arts during his work in the university’s Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST), where he assisted professors in the College of Science on large-scale grants from the National Science Foundation. Cameron helped design an engaging mobile app that teaches young students the evolutionary processes of Galapagos Island species.
Cameron also worked in the university’s Polymorphic Games studio to infuse technology with art — namely 3D models and animations. He helped design a game where aliens aim to overtake society, developing resistance to users’ defense mechanisms and offering lessons in evolutionary principles. The college is so proud of what Cameron has achieved during his time at U of I, and I look forward to staying abreast of his accomplishments — most immediately as he pursues a new work opportunity designing virtual environments for a Boise-based firm.
Art and design students Blake Coker and Talitha Davis also graduated last weekend after tremendous successes at U of I. Blake has been working on a comic book called “Pieces,” inspired by his brother who’s on the autism spectrum. Blake hopes his illustrations will offer valuable insight into the disability, potentially changing “people’s perspectives on things.” Talitha has been using art as catharsis while creating several stunning sculptures that helped her deal with personal struggles and loss. I’m sad to see them go, but excited to see what adventures await them.
While interior design student Alayne Chipman still has one semester left at U of I, she was recognized the Friday before commencement with an Alumni Award for Excellence, presented to 40 undergraduate and graduate students, including those in the College of Law, who have achieved outstanding academic success, made advanced professional preparations and demonstrated leadership in the classroom or community. Alayne, in turn, recognized her advisor, Rula Awwad-Rafferty, with a mentorship award. I’m always encouraged to see the collaboration that forms between our students and faculty, which often extends beyond graduation to become important lifelong relationships.
End-of-semester reviews — a time-honored tradition that allows students constructive feedback from industry professionals and alumni — also wrapped up this week. Landscape architecture students from Gary Austin and Raffaella Sini’s classes presented their design concepts for improvements to the university’s arboretum and botanical gardens. Interior design students also presented their design concepts for new additions to Gritman Medical Center — part of a competition sponsored by Gritman leadership.
While bioregional planning and community design students didn’t participate in end-of-semester reviews, they chalked up their own wins. Kayla Kinkead and Elizabeth Allen became the first students to concurrently serve as student representatives on the Idaho Chapter of the American Planning Association board. And student Steven Simons was asked to serve on a multi-agency group that will create a proposal for the management of wild horses in Sandoval County, New Mexico.
Our students’ successes wouldn’t be possible without you. Jennifer Diaz, a first-generation college student in her third year of the Architecture Program, wants to design outdoor spaces in low-income communities to help reduce crime. She is the recipient of several scholarships and we truly appreciate your support.
I hope you enjoy a happy holiday season and a productive new year. Here’s to more adventures and accomplishments in the new year!
Shauna Corry, Ph.D.
College of Art and Architecture