Student Spotlight: Alex Eason, 2019 Giving Blue Day Scholarship Recipient
Giving Blue Day is a once-a-year opportunity for the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design community to team up with the global U-M family to show their school pride, give back, and pave the way for the culture-makers of tomorrow.
At Stamps, we celebrate the day with donuts and a student poll to decide how Giving Blue Day gifts should be spent. Each year without fail, the students choose to support one another via scholarship funding. The scholarship recipients are selected by Joann McDaniel, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs.
McDaniel describes this year’s 2019 Giving Blue Day Scholarship recipient, Alex Eason (BFA ‘20), in glowing terms. “Alex Eason is, like many of our students, a hard worker with many interests,” McDaniel said. “In her case, it's anthropology and archaeology. She's taken advantage of everything U-M has to offer. The result is a solid broad-based education that defines her but does not limit her.”
Hailing from Tampa, Florida, Eason attended a performing arts magnet high school before arriving at Stamps.
“Stamps has done a wonderful job in encouraging and supporting interdisciplinary work,” Eason said. “That’s actually the reason I wanted to come here in the first place. I really enjoy learning about methods of making across 2-D and 3-D media and being able to mix that with academic topics is so much fun.”
In addition to expanding her creative practice, Eason has been eager to pursue a variety of new experiences. “College is the perfect time to try new things and push out of your comfort zone. If there’s something you were curious about within another part of campus or within Stamps, there’s no harm in reaching out to people and starting conversations.”
Eason amplified her commitment to trying new things through her International Experience, where she spent 2.5 months abroad during the summer of 2018. Her journey began with field work at archeological dig sites in Croatia and Scotland before traveling to Ballyvaughan, Ireland for a month at the Burren College of Art.
“I learned a lot about history and how archaeologists work,” Eason said. “I got lessons in specific things, like how to identify what we were finding, like ceramics, bone, glass, etc, but also in broader things like how the burned plant matter we were finding can contribute to discussions about the historical environment.”
Reflecting on her trip, Eason recalls an evening mountain climb in the highlands of Scotland, where she watched the summer solstice sunset with a group of new friends and a herd of sheep. “If you look closely, you can see history embedded into the landscape,” Eason said. “It’s forever changed how I look at places around me.”
Recently, Eason has been exploring ways to build stronger cognitive and emotional connections to history via book arts projects. The Giving Blue Day tuition scholarship has allowed Eason to find space in her budget to buy new materials for creative experimentation.
“The scholarship has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders for this year,” Eason said. “I’m honored that I was selected as a recipient and getting support from the school is incredible.”
After graduation, Eason dreams of working in museums, libraries, or other institutions within the field of conservation.
“The fields of art and design can pave the way to some of the most varied and versatile careers,” Eason said. “Both art and design have played a role in almost everything around us.”