Tuesday, April 30, 2013

VPA Student Spotlight: Kaylee Edwards

Kaylee Edwards is a Computer Science major who is minoring in visual arts.

1. Why did you choose to minor in Art at Tech?

I started drawing when I was about 12, and since then art has been a huge part of my life. Before college, I was only able to take one art class. By choosing to minor in Art, I hoped to gain knowledge I could never have learned by myself and really push myself to improve.

2. How does a minor in the arts enhance your experience as a Tech Computer Science student?

Creative thinking is something they don't teach in Computer Science. My art classes help teach me how to improvise and work things out on my own. Not only does it help me learn by broadening my mind, but it helps me think of ideas for side projects like games and other applications.

3. What is the most important thing you have learned from your art experiences at Tech?

I've learned quite a few things from my art classes. Of course, this includes the technical aspects of design. However, the most important thing I've learned is that I need to really free myself to make art. It's essential to try new things, whether it be painting with ink when you only use charcoal or drawing from life when you usually draw from imagination. If you stick to what you know, then you'll never know if there's something you like better.

4. What inspires you?

What inspires me changes from day to day. Sometimes it's a song, but other times it's a book, show, or movie. Most recently, I've been inspired by Germany, and I've been looking forward to going there this summer so I can paint some landscapes.

5. What are your goals for after graduation? How will your arts minor help you achieve those goals?

After I graduate I hope to find a job in the Lower Peninsula. My art minor will show that I can do more than just program. It will show that I am creative, which can help in program design and even problem solving. This should show potential employers that my entire education at Michigan Tech has made me a well-rounded person.

6. What advice would you give to other Tech students who want to participate in the arts?

I'd advise students to take a class. I know the art classes can fill up really fast, especially if you're a 1st year, but if you email the instructor then they might let you in anyway. Really, once you take that first class, you realize how welcoming and helpful the department is. You'll be able to really learn with the resources available as an art student.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

VPA Student Spotlight: Ben Holtz

Ben Holtz is a senior double majoring in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and minoring in Music Composition.

1.  Why did you choose to minor in Music Composition at Tech?

I have always been compelled to make music, and have always felt compelled to create. Working with music that someone else created is wonderful, but it doesn’t quite satisfy the need for self expression. Choosing to minor in composition has allowed me to keep music a priority while studying engineering and helped me to sharpen the skills needed to better express through music.

2.  How does having a minor in the arts enhance your experience as a Tech engineering student?

In the long run, It has helped me achieve a much broader perspective on life as a young adult. It has helped to diversify the kinds of people I work with and the kinds of professors I learn from. From a day to day basis, it shakes things up. It would be very boring to have all engineering or all music classes by themselves. Pursuing a minor in music composition balances an engineering degree very nicely.

3.  What is the most important thing you have learned from participating in the arts at Tech?

In engineering studies, I’ve found functional things to be very boring if they are aesthetically lacking. In participating in the arts, I’ve found that all great aesthetics have to have function. These two concepts...function and aesthetic, are not mutually exclusive entities. 

4.    What inspires you?

People. And the crazy things they make.

5.  What are your goals for after graduation?   How will your experiences in music help you to achieve those goals?

Eventually, I hope to have a lifestyle in which practicality and functionality of Engineering combines seamlessly with creativity and serendipity of Art. Working with the composition minor has given me a taste of this; creating good music requires not all creativity and emotion, but also a functional understanding of how sound works in time and why. ‘Good aesthetic has function, and function without aesthetic is boring.’

6.  What advice would you give to other engineering students who want to participate in the arts?

Just go for it!