Integrating science and art, senior speaker captivates campus
(Portland, Ore.)—Meagan Nuss, an environmental studies major, with a concentration in art, will be this year’s senior speaker at the 2008 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement this weekend.
Nuss says she hopes her speech will remind graduating seniors that, despite their diverse backgrounds and the innumerable journeys they will take in the future, their shared experiences at Lewis & Clark unite them.
“We’ll all be taking something common from our experience here,” Nuss said. “And we’re all at a very powerful time in our lives.”
Nuss was selected by a committee of seniors, faculty, and staff, from a field of eight students.
“Meagan Nuss has crafted a speech that will resonate and challenge, enlighten and inspire. She’s an extraordinary representative of an outstanding class,” said Michael Ford, associate vice president for Campus Life.
Typifying the value of liberal arts education, Nuss completed her senior thesis by integrating work in the realms of science and art. Nuss’s capstone project for environmental studies revolved around the creation of twine displays throughout campus, which she designed to engage passersby in a consideration of the meaning of boundaries within one’s environment. The twine, which formed abstract installations, appeared around the Fir Acres campus in displays that migrated every couple of days.
“Creating these pieces with the same medium encouraged a sense of familiarity with this unknown thing, because it got people used to seeing twine around campus, but it also insisted that you continue to see it and think about it because it moved around,” Nuss said. “I want to get people thinking about what they mean to their environment, and what it means to them. Most importantly, it’s just about responding and participating. The project showed that boundaries not only invite you to engage your environment, but sometimes force you.”
After graduation, she will work with Jim Proctor, director of the Environmental Studies program, on an extended grant to study planned residential communities’ relationships with nature; Nuss will conduct research and interview individuals throughout the Northwest.
Commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences takes place Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 10 a.m. at Griswold Stadium.