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Although my areas of interest are broad, I am certain of my passion for creativity and design. My ability to think creatively is not only in the visual aesthetic of things, but in using innovative and unorthodox methods of problem solving as well. Ultimately, two paths lay before me—using my knowledge and skills in practical applications such as architecture and graphic design as well as producing innovative ideas in humanities, languages, and sciences—and I love both. I expect to find the necessary guidance in converging these paths through the liberal arts education of the College of Arts & Sciences.
The liberal arts curriculum at the College will give me a breadth of opportunities to thoroughly explore my interests. I believe that learning from a variety of subject areas is of great value to me in a liberal arts education, and Penn acknowledges that we can learn more by creating links between these subjects. Indeed, the Visual Studies major at the College will allow me to draw knowledge from other disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, art history, fine arts, and architecture. The Philosophy of Perception course connects theories of perception with philosophy so that I could better understand why we see and understand things the way we do.
Another opportunity that excites me is the Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) program which will allow me to learn from professors who have extensive knowledge in multiple subject areas. One professor I may benefit from, especially if I decide to major in Visual Studies, is Dr. Barbara Mellers. From a design point of view, Dr. Mellers’ knowledge in psychology and marketing could help me understand how visuals can influence consumer behavior. From a more personal perspective, my experience with design and visuals has mainly related to practical applications. However, learning from professors such as Dr. Mellers will strengthen my theoretical knowledge of the impact of design and visuals.
As for extracurricular activities at Penn, I hope to join the newly-established Kinetic @Penn. I have had some experience with applying design and innovative thinking to solve real world problems due to a college product design course at the Parsons School of Design. During the course, I redesigned the packaging for berry farmers at the Union Square Greenmarket. I created a product that would protect the produce from flies and insects; allow for several berry cartons to be stacked; and would keep the produce from spilling out if the carton toppled over in shopping bags. The end result was a biodegradable, reusable, lightweight lid that could easily be fastened to the cartons which the farmers already used. I am eager to see how I could contribute to a club such as Kinetic and how I could work with others to develop original, effective solutions.
Before my course at Parsons, in the summer of 2015, I spent one month at the University of Pennsylvania taking pre-college courses in sculpture and graphic design. These courses reaffirmed my passion for art and design, especially when applied in the real world. The sculpture course taught me the beauty of the process and the method, as opposed to the final product only. And my course in graphic design taught me the power of communicating an idea through design.
All in all, Penn’s intellectual resources – coupled with my energy, focus, creativity, and the standards to which I always hold myself when doing things – mean that I will be able to build myself a varied and advanced skill set during my time at the university. Moreover, thanks to the varied courses of study at Penn, the potential ‘triggers of inspiration’ are endless and will help me decide which creative path I want to pursue.
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