Hometown: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Anticipated Graduation: May 2014
Major: Fine Arts (Metal Program)
Why New Paltz?
I came to New Paltz originally for their metal program, since it’s the best in the country. My family is from New York, so I’m acquainted with the state and I feel comfortable here. I was able to play tennis at Division III, so it was this perfect lineup of things. But I’ve wanted to come here from the beginning. I grew up in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan, a giant school with 50,000 kids. I could have gotten in and been with all the people from my high school who go there, but I wanted something different.
What have you learned about yourself at New Paltz?
I’ve been learning this throughout my life, but the importance of internal strength and determination. Being self-determined is all you can ask of yourself, and all anyone can ask of you. By believing in myself, I can achieve great things. As a result, I’ve won all these awards. I’ve been honored. I’m on the Dean’s List. It’s great, but I’ve worked hard. I’m also a cancer survivor. I was 13, and that was something else where I had to get better myself, and be determined to make it through. I’ve carried that with me my whole life. That’s why it’s important to push yourself and set high goals. College has been all about that. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had hard times on campus. But you get over it. You keep moving.
What do you like about working with metal?
We had a metals program in my high school, which is kind of a rare thing. I took a jewelry class for two years, and as soon as I started, it became my medium of choice. It suited me well, and I liked the different techniques. It’s an aggressive medium. It’s fire and hammers, not anything subtle. I fell in love with it, and I knew I wanted to pursue it in college.
What/who have been some of your favorite courses or professors in the metal program?
I enjoy all of them. They all teach in a different style, but it works well. They each give you different skill sets that are important to make you a well-rounded metalsmith. My favorites are the forming classes, where you take sheet metal and hammer it into vessel forms. Right now I’m focusing on fabricating, which is what I’m doing for my thesis, where you solder pieces of sheet metal together to make more structural things. I’ve taken the digital fabrication class with Professor Hash, where we learned 3D printing, and that’s helped me a lot. I learned how to use the AutoCAD software so you can render objects on a computer.
How do sports and art complement each other?
The way they connect is the level of precision. When I think about strategy on the tennis court, I have a precise game plan. I think about technical skills and form. In my art-making, I also have to be strategic about the order in which I do things. It has to be finished to a high quality, look good, and be sound structurally. The standards I set for myself on the tennis court and in my art career are kind of the same.