Conversations with Renaissance Students
Niccolo Jose CAS '09
When Niccolo Jose left his home in the Philippines for Lewis & Clark College, his parents sent him off with this advice: "Leave 50 percent for what you want to do, and 50 percent for what you don't expect." Nico took their words to heart.
He arrived expecting to major in theatre, but discovered a passion for environmental science and sculpture. "I didn't expect that at all," he says.
In the theatre department, he found that his strongest role was backstage, doing stage building and stage management. "Carpentry is actually my dad's thing," he says. "As a kid, I always wanted to play with his tools, but he would yell, 'Don't play with that, you'll hurt yourself!' And now, here I am, playing with hammers and chainsaws and everything I wanted as a kid."
When the stage design position wasn't open last fall, Nico looked for something similar to fill his newfound passion for working with his hands. He found it in a sculpture class. "It sounded similar," says Nico. "They have the same power tools in the studio, so I thought I might have fun there." Nico thrives in the sculpture environment, creating large-scale, expressive, and sometimes controversial works. From a wedding dress wrapped in chains, to a woven tree figure of a human suffering, his work never fails to draw a reaction.
Environmental studies was another subject Nico just wanted to explore, and now he is majoring in the field. "I had no idea I would do that when I came here," he says. "It opened my eyes and showed me that everything is connected."
Now Nico is starting to find connections between his interests, as well. He has added a studio art concentration to his major, something that hasn't been done before in the Environmental Studies Program until this year. And he has several ideas for reflecting environmental studies in art, pieces that "have a reconciliation with nature and that can make an impact on how people react to their environment."
Nico chose Lewis & Clark, he says, because "I was looking for a place that would feel different from home; I wanted to meet new people and be forced to get into different things, to develop myself. Lewis & Clark sounded like the kind of place where I could do that." In that respect, at least, his college experience is turning out just as he expected.
Back to Summer 2007 Chronicle