Conversations with Renaissance Students
Jill DeCoursey B.A. '07
Jill DeCoursey planned to major in physics when she came to Lewis & Clark, but instead, became captivated by cave art. When she settled on art history as her major, she says, "My only concern was, what can I do with that to contribute to society?" That concern has long since faded, however. "I've discovered that if you just let yourself learn about the things that interest you, you'll find a way to use that knowledge to create positive change in the world."
In addition to art and art history, the things that interest Jill include math and environmental activism. "Art and math are not completely unrelated," she says. "Artists and architects have always drawn on scientific and mathematic innovations to inspire them with new ways to see the world."
As for her interest in environmentalism, she says, "It just seems obvious to me that we need to take care of the Earth." A member of Students Engaged in Eco Defense, Jill represented Lewis & Clark at a climate-change convention at Harvard University in 2004, and has championed recycled paper use and pesticide-free groundskeeping at the College.
Although she gave herself the freedom to explore each of her disparate interests on its own merits, Jill has found a way to merge them all. An overseas semester taking in the timeless cityscapes of Sienna, Prague, and Barcelona sealed the deal: "That's when I knew for sure that I wanted to be an architect," says Jill. "Good architecture requires both mathematical engineering and aesthetics--it combines all of my favorite things."
Adding in the environmental angle, Jill hopes eventually "to make a visible contribution toward reducing global warming through green building design." She hopes to land a job at a green building firm in Portland and work there for a year before applying to graduate programs in architecture. After that, she wants to apply her passion for recycling on a grand scale: "My dream job would be to revitalize historically significant buildings through the green building process. In Siena, some of the most beautiful buildings are 700 years old, and people are still living in them. In this country, we are too prone to tearing down; we should be preserving."
Back to Summer 2007 Chronicle