Simultaneous to completing my nursing and public health coursework, I was also actively involved in the Honors Program. I believe having the opportunity to be in Honors made an incredible difference in my experience at UW. Being required to take Honors classes (which often had nothing to do with my majors) was exciting, as it allowed me to explore topics I never would have usually encountered! In addition to taking honors courses, I also had the opportunity to teach honors 100 two years in a row, an experience which was incredibly rewarding!
Some of my favorite classes have been Honors classes.
During winter quarter of my freshman year, I took Art 140 which is an Honors Photography class. I found this class to be difficult for me because most of the assignments were very open ended. I found I prefer specific directions and guidance while learning, rather than being simply let loose to explore. Although I found some of the assignments to be challenging, and defiantly a learning experience about myself and how I learn, I am proud of my final project, as I feel that it successfully encompasses the skills, both practically and creatively that I learned throughout the quarter.
Final Project Description/ Reflection
In my final project I explored the lines of the body through the use of non-traditional portraiture. I used lighting to dramatically illuminate the various lines of the human body. I choose to print in black and white to further emphasize form, as well as accentuate a certain sense of mystery associated with the human body. I used framing to focus in on certain aspects of the human form: the legs, the hands, the feet, the back. Conceptually I made the series to appear as if the model was moving: curled in a ball, stretching, crawling, leaping, flipping over, curled in a ball again, and then finally looking straight into the camera. I choose to orient my series in this order because as the eye moved through it, the viewer looks intimately at the different aspects of the models body, without ever having to acknowledge her. By the final photo, in her direct challenge to the camera it is as if she is saying “If you are going to look at my body, then face me and look me in the eye.”
The procedure I went through in order to create the final product was a long but valuable learning process. I started out by creating a studio in my basement. I hung a black sheet of felt as a backdrop for my shoot. I spent a long time experimenting with the orientation of my two 100 watt can lights. It took me a while to obtain the effect I wanted. I found that using one 100-watt bulb oriented to the side of the model at varying heights and angles could dramatically change the picture. I ultimately found most success in using a single 100-watt bulb, although the ISO had to be raised significantly creating more noise on my prints than I had anticipated. Since I was home for the weekend doing my project, I was able to use my mom’s Cannon D60, which is a much nicer camera than I usually shoot with. While using her camera, she taught me how to shoot in camera raw, which was a fascinating learning experience.
One of the most challenging aspects of creating this shoot was working with a live model. It was difficult to translate the ideas I had in my head into directions for the young woman I was working with. It was also challenging to shoot with such little light. I asked the model to hold uncomfortable positions, and often she was not able to hold the contortions for long periods of time without moving. As a result, some of the photographs were out of focus or blurry. This meant I had to decide the framing and construction of the shot before I took the picture, so hopefully I could get the shot I wanted quickly before the model moved.
Through this class I have learned that I enjoy working with live models, despite the challenges I faced during the quarter. I hope to continue to explore photography and other art forms as a means of expression as I continue my journey as an undergraduate at UW.
In Spring of my sophomore year I took Honors 222A: Disaster Science. Although I am pursing a degree in the health sciences I had never taken a science class about the environment. In Honors 222A we explored how man-made disasters, specifically oil spills, impact the health and future of the mariene environment. This was literally one of the coolest classes I have ever taken, and I never would have even know about it had I not been exposed to it through the Honors curriculum. I choose to post my final paper investigating the long term impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on marine environments, and ultimately how this spill informed future policy in regards to spill response. I am proud of the work I did, and the fact that I have found something I am really interested in outside of my major!
Honors 220: A Natural and Cultural History of the Pacific Northwest.
Another one of my favorite honors classes, this class was an entirely field based class. We had the opportunity to go on field trips, and explore the PNW. As part of the experience we were required to keep a field work journal.