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Casey Clifford Finds Sweet Spot Merging Art and Science

Casey Clifford Merges her two areas of study, environmental science and studio art, by working as an illustrator for North American Marine Environment Protection Association and for SCU Cultural Resource Management program.

Casey Clifford ’16 is wrapping up her undergraduate studies as an environmental science major with a studio art minor. She manages to merge her two areas of study by working as an illustrator for North American Marine Environment Protection Association, where her work has been featured in multiple activity booklets used to educate children about the marine environment. Clifford also began working as an illustrator for Linda Hylkema, the director of SCU's Cultural Resource Management in March 2015, where she has drawn numerous objects excavated beneath campus from the mission period to be published in archaeological reports.

Her interest in the combination of environmental science and studio art began in fall 2012 when Clifford took the Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research Project (SLURP), a class where students conduct a project to bring attention to the environment. For this project, she created three paintings on recycled wood to emphasize sustainability through creative expression, which resulted in a newfound passion for the scientist-artist.

In the fall of her junior year, Clifford traveled abroad to the Galapagos Islands, where she was able to snorkel and scuba dive with some of her favorite marine organisms, including sharks, manta rays, penguins, and sea lions. She was also able to spend time sketching the marine iguanas that would lounge on the beach.        

Clifford has taken numerous art classes while at Santa Clara, including clay sculpture, drawing, mixed media painting, life drawing, and numerous painting classes. She has been featured the past three years in the Santa Clara Review and her work is the cover of last year’s edition. In spring 2015, she was awarded the Mary F. Sullivan and Gerald P. Sullivan S.J. Art Award by the art department. This award is for students particularly interested in life drawings, which Clifford excels at. Since then, she has created many paintings of the human form.

 She is currently applying to master’s programs to pursue an advanced degree in environmental humanities.