Thursday, September 30, 2010

Whitworth art, chemistry alum accepted to esteemed architecture program

2008 Whitworth alumnus Thayer Wild has been accepted into the University of Washington's College of Built Environments, where he began classes this month in pursuit of a master's degree in architecture.

The UW offers a two-year architecture program for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in architecture. Those with degrees in other majors, like Wild, enroll in a similar three-year program. During the first year of his program, Wild will take accelerated courses that cover the most important material from the undergraduate architecture program.

"I like to learn, so the ability to spend time in multiple disciplines has been a great fit," Wild says. "I think that everyone can benefit from a liberal arts education, where students have time to explore different fields before determining their ultimate vocations."

Wild was impressed with the program's strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental impact, and its collaboration with Seattle-area architecture firms. Locally-renowned architects frequently make themselves available for student project critiques. He also appreciated its location in his hometown of Seattle.

Wild, who graduated from Whitworth with degrees in art and chemistry, says, "I feel that architecture is a great marriage of the two disciplines, as it employs both sides of the brain. During my last year at Whitworth, I sat in on a planning session for the development of the new science building. It was a great experience, and at this point I could definitely see myself working for a firm that designs labs and educational facilities."

For the past two years, Wild has been active in the UW's Center on Outcomes Research in Rehabilitation (UWCORR), which works to develop better questionnaires for health care providers. The group has projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Their projects research the use of patient reported outcomes in populations with long-term illnesses or disabilities.

While at Whitworth, Wild spent four years as a radio show host and three years as a staff member for whitworth.fm, the university's radio station. He also belonged to the pre-med club and attended artists' guild meetings.

Wild credits his advisers, Whitworth Professor of Chemistry Karen Stevens and Associate Professor of Art Scott Kolbo, for helping to shape his Whitworth education and subsequent career path. He says the one-on-one teaching environment at Whitworth is one of the school's biggest strengths.

Kolbo says he believes the opportunity for Wild to pursue his love for both disciplines at Whitworth is a great example of how a strong liberal arts education can help illuminate the connections that exist between disciplines.

"Thayer was an outstanding student in the arts, but what made his work particularly remarkable was his cross-disciplinary interest in science and art," says Kolbo. "Thayer was a stronger artist because of his willingness to work hard and engage both disciplines with rigor and commitment. I am not at all surprised that he has found his way into a prestigious architecture program at the University of Washington where art, design and science will all be integrated to shape the built environment of our world."

Wild expects to graduate from UW in late 2013.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.