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Student Spotlight: Sheri Park '13

Hometown: Redwood City, Calif.
Major: Visual Arts

Why Union:
The gorgeous campus, tight-knit community, liberal arts, Scholars Program, the Christian club, the high-quality student art work, seeing students play Frisbee outside and hearing the a cappella group perform. Most inspiring class: “Real and Recorded Time” with Professor Fernando Orellana. It introduced me to video and performance art, which is now a big part of my thesis. Also excited about: Poetry classes with Professor Jordan Smith. Reading and writing poetry is a wonderful way for me to slow down and discover what's going on in the hidden parts of me.

Favorite study spot:
Fourth floor, Reamer Campus Center; those spinny, velvety arm chairs are my favorite. I love natural light, and the glass ceiling above makes me happy. The buzz of conversation below creates a stimulating but mellow enough atmosphere to focus on my work. Inspiring moment: Realizing what I was doing for my thesis – a series of videos and paintings that explore personal growth through self-portraiture. I am integrating dance, poetry, digital art and painting in one cohesive exhibition. It was important for me to realize that so much of art and learning is less about control and more about discovery.

Three things I'm passionate about at Union:
1) Independent art courses

2) Community service theme house (Wells House)

3) InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / Religious and Spiritual Life. I’ve enjoyed watching the campus become more open toward the diverse range of religious expression on campus, and I’ve learned so much about my own faith by collaborating with students from different traditions.

Other passions:
Exploring the local arts scene, including in Saratoga and Troy; and integrating my faith and art at Calvary Tabernacle. This Pentecostal church is economically and racially diverse, and integrates the arts into their services in an incredibly inspiring way. They reach out the community through afterschool children’s programs. I’ve found there’s no better study break than playing Duck, Duck, Goose with preschoolers.

The most surprising thing about Union:
Jackson’s Garden. It is amazing that we have such an extensive garden in the heart of the campus. As a nature-loving introvert, I find the garden is often my sanctuary. In the fall, when the Gingko tree drops all of its golden yellow leaves, it’s indescribably beautiful. One way I’m making Union a better place: Prayer. I believe that passion without the roots of prayer dies all too quickly.

Advice for incoming students:
Remember all the different parts of who you are: social, body, mind, heart, spirit. Fully invest in a community, don’t overwork or neglect your body, take time to think about what truly fascinates you, honestly process your emotions, ask and explore what your interaction with God is. Looking into the future: After graduation, I will pursue a Certificate in Theology and Art at Fuller Seminary in California. I also hope to find a job in graphic design or teaching. Eventually, I will go to graduate school for visual arts.