Candy R. Wei Prize for International Studies in Art & Design

The Candy R. Wei Prize for International Studies in Art & Design is awarded to five Stamps seniors every year in recognition of exemplary art influenced by their international experience.

Lydia Chamberlain: 2017

Destination: Japan

My study abroad trip to Shigaraki, Japan, was the catalyst for my budding passion for Asian studies and design. Every activity, landscape, ounce of culture, and most importantly, every person that I interacted with along the way changed how I would approach the rest of my college experience.

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Abigail Clemens: 2017

Destination: Japan

During my five months in Japan, I learned the basics of storyboarding, character movement, stop-motion animation photography, and Protools sound mixing, all of which became integral techniques in the execution of my senior integrative performance project.

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Albert Foo: 2017

Destination: Denmark

In 2015, I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark for a 3-week urban studies course to study how design played a role in Denmark’s urban landscape. After the class had finished, I wanted to stay longer …I landed an apprenticeship at a local cargo bicycle shop called Benben Cykler.

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Marisa Fulper: 2017

Destination: Denmark

While I was studying abroad at DIS in Denmark, I discovered sustainability as an absence and awareness of new consumption rather than a recycling of the old. Up until this point I had understood sustainable practices to be centered around repurposing materials to make new material, like recycled paper and plastic. The Danish lifestyle highlighted thoughtful consumerism, seeing a product through, repairing and reutilizing, until the end of the object’s life.

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Kalli Kouf: 2017

Destination: Ireland

I carry images of places I am connected to around with me. I put them up on my studio wall, on my bedroom wall, and use them for the background image on my phone. In the Burren I wanted to make a connection between those places and the space I occupied while being there. The images range from ocean views in California, to tree lines in Montana. The images landed on the grass of the Burren with a sense of physicality.

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Nikki Horowitz: 2016

Destination: Eastern Europe

While studying abroad and travelling around Eastern Europe for 6 months I became fascinated with how our brains work in remembering past events and how these memories affect our identities. The different family customs, cultural events and expectations of each new companion defined an aspect of who they were.

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Elizabeth Pearlman: 2016

Destination: China

Looking back, the experience feels sacred, like a meditation where I imagine myself sinking deep into the ocean, overwhelmed and then rising towards the sun in warm freedom. This trip opened me up.

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Soon Ju Kim: 2016

Destination: Germany/The Netherlands

I was interested in a study abroad program with the School of Social Work in Berlin and Amsterdam because it focused on engaging with various communities to learn about community enhancement art projects, non-profit sex work organizations, and juvenile justice.

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Constanza McKinstry: 2016

Destination: Chile

…my study abroad experience was in the country where I was born, raised and left a decade ago. In this trip the known because unknown and I opened my eyes to a reality that was too uncomfortable to face earlier in my life.

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Dustin Park: 2016

Destination: Denmark

My four years in Michigan were a search for courage and inspiration. The most important experiences were the times I went abroad. During my journeys, I have found not only confidence but also passion for photography, video, and food. These revelations only became to clearer to me while I was abroad.

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Catherine Trowbridge: 2015

Destination: Italy

Studying abroad in Florence during the summer of 2013 has been the most enriching experience of my life. I enrolled in a Renaissance art history class that filled each week with ten hours of monasteries, cathedrals, and museums. In my free time, I would return to the Bargello, the Uffizi, and the Galleria Palatina to sketch the works that caught my attention during class. Having the opportunity to be in their physical presence for an extended amount of time gave a new dimension to my understanding.

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Anna Stasek: 2015

Destination: Ireland

The Burren, Ireland trip in the city of Ballyvaughan was an enlightening experience. My artistic work has transformed with a strong emphasis on natural history’s relationship with human history and the way the two subjects manipulate one another. The more I learned of the Burren’s history, the more creative connections I made while conceiving my abstract animation. My animation tells the ecological story of the Burren while connecting religious transition, deforestation and The Great Famine of Ireland into one concept.

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Joshua Kochis: 2015

Destination: Ireland

Through my study abroad experience in Ireland, I was able to discover the intimate proximity of the history that is literally buried beneath our feet. For the first time, geology became a platform for artistic expression, building upon my past interest in rock formations for their tactile and visual qualities. I discovered a way of seeing and engaging with my surroundings, a method of making and writing that I’d developed throughout my undergraduate education, now brought into a new level of clarity and focus.

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Ian Klipa: 2015

Destination: Zanzibar

I began to notice beautiful gates and other bits of metal work that were scattered throughout the city. I realized what really inspired me was this opportunity to take an up close look at a making culture -­‐ a culture where hand making is still a necessity as opposed to a novelty -­‐ and how these ideals differed from the consumer driven realities in my own country.

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Katy Dresner: 2015

Destination: Japan

Being in Tokyo for Spring semester of my Junior year helped me to make connections and expanded my fascination with creating immersive interactive environments. Studying abroad was a critical foundation for the work I made during my senior Integrative Project.

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Theo Zizka: 2014

Destination: Denmark, Sweden, & Finland

Prior to studying abroad, I wanted to be an industrial designer, and I chose the Danish Institute for Study Abroad simply to add furniture to my repertoire. However, I fell unpredictably in love with chair design and therefore spent my entire thesis investigating seating, materials, and furniture.

I no longer want to design for industrial production — I want to work on my craftsmanship to try and achieve the level of craft I witnessed throughout Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. The projects that I have planned for the coming years stem from the same honest materials, joinery, and aesthetics that I fell in love with while studying abroad.

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Ian Matchett: 2014

Destination: Costa Rica & Cuba

…returning to the United States, I was most struck by the hollowness of the refrain that the government cannot afford to provide healthcare, education, food, and housing for its people. It is a question of priorities, not resources: we have the money, what we currently lack is empathy. Directly experiencing the divide between Latin America and the US planted this idea deeper than any textbook ever could. My art has evolved along with these experiences, as I’ve tried to deal with some of the complexities surrounding radical social change.

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Taylor Ross: 2014

Destination: Tanzania

The best word I can use to describe the soil of Tanzania is magical. The iron-rich red soil was unlike anything I had ever seen growing up in Northern Michigan, and it still has a power over me that I cannot seem to describe with words. Naturally occurring with the perfect percentage of clay, the soil is mixed with water and spread thick over a network of woven branches by the local Maasai women to build the walls of their homes. In my brief but unforgettable three weeks in rural Tanzania, we used the smooth red soil in the same ways as the Maasai, mixing it with cow manure and water to make an adobe mixture …to build fuel-efficient wood-burning cookstoves, designed with exhaust systems to remove smoke from the homes (and eyes and lungs) of the women.

I started IP this past fall not expecting to be influenced by my trip to Tanzania… but in my second semester started to experiment with terra cotta, an iron-rich red clay body with a distinct orange glow when fired.

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Tarah Douglas: 2014

Destination: Ghana & India

During my community engagement program in Ghana, I confronted my race, and found space to learn about a history I had always been connected with, but never felt connected to. During my semester in India, I found a voice. Surrounded by people similar in appearance, but shared few of my identities, I found space to grow my own truths and learn from others first hand.

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Sarah Brennan: 2014

Destination: Tanzania

…what I have come back to time and time again about my experience in Tanzania is how similar we all are at our core. We are all human beings with hopes, fears, desires, all incredibly complex individuals and at once simple in our connection. It sounds so simple, something that I always knew, but before Tanzania didnʼt truly understand.

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