Engineering News Winter 2018

An Artful Engineering Education

Junior Hannah Sheldon ’19 (electrical engineering) has always been crazy about the arts: singing, photography, drawing, painting, stippling (“I could stipple the night away!,” she states). But she also loves the flexibility an electrical engineering education affords. “I can jump into a lot of things from EE, but I really wanted to bring the creative aspect into my engineering study.” Product design is where she eventually sees herself, so she is pursuing a studio art minor in addition to her engineering coursework.

Breaking the stereotype of a single-minded engineer, Sheldon makes art that is thoughtful and provocative. One piece uses seven different maps to explore the state of decay or growth in Oakland, California, over a 200-year period. Another looks at states of mind through the lens of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland characters. “It’s a study in the insanity we all feel but most of us have a handle on. The White Rabbit represents anxiety; the Cheshire Cat, depression or sadness; the Red Queen, anger, and the Mad Hatter depicts general insanity,” she said.

“My whole life is addicted to the arts; I love the arts so much,” she said. “But I also really like science and I really like making things. Engineering is a place where they can all come together.”

Hannah Sheldon '19 at work on one of her many art projects.  Photo: Heidi Williams