2013 Diamond Research Scholars Announced


The 2013 Diamond Research Scholars have been announced. The program, funded by the Provost’s Office, will give 25 undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in a faculty mentored research/creative project during the summer and fall semester.

Tyler’s Painting and Drawing junior Olivia Menta and Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM junior Corinne Bishop will be given this opportunity.

“I’ve actually applied for the scholarship every year that I’ve been at Temple and this was the first time I’ve received it, so getting the acceptance letter was absolutely amazing,” Menta said. “It was difficult to not be able to talk to my Mom (she edits my writing, always and is probably my toughest critic) and directly talk to my mentor, Mark Shetabi, because I’m studying in Rome right now, but somehow we made it all work during the application process.”

During her sophomore year, Menta took a painting and drawing class and knew that it was what she wanted to do. She draws inspiration for her work from everything around her.

“I’ve been watching a ton of slasher films while in Rome, and some of Goddard’s films from the library. I like to listen to Death Grips’ last album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, when I paint,” Menta said. “My brother bought me “JUST KIDS” the Patti Smith book, and it’s been nice reading that out loud, I had an English teacher who once said books are supposed to be read like that.”

Menta’s Diamond Scholar project will be titled “Human Perspective in Relation to the Universe: An Exploration of the Human Condition.”

“My interests as a painter definitely inspired my idea for the project. I am fascinated how humans throughout history, have dealt with their place in the world and how that affects their behavior,” Menta said. “Think of it like, ‘Have you ever laid in bed at night, and thought to yourself how tiny of a speck you are amongst the great vastness of the universe? How does this impact our response to our lives? Our ability to be alive.’ That idea has played a significant role in my art making.”

For ten weeks during the summer, the recipients will focus on their project. They will then complete their project during the fall semester while registered for an independent study/research course.

“The project is going to include a good amount of interview, probably structured more like a discussion, a lot of writing, and definitely a lot of painting. This is the first time I’ll have a studio to work in during the summer, and I’m already ready to just paint A LOT in there,” Menta said. “Mark will be in Philadelphia so there will definitely be a conversation going on, he’s kind of been a mentor of mine since freshman year. Some professors you just keep on taking.”

For Bishop, her project “Material Lineage” will involve researching and analyzing jewelry collections from the past.

“My project is researching my family lineage and jewelry pieces associated with each respective generation. From the data I collect I plan to make 5 or 6 jewelry pieces, each one creating a modern take on the aesthetics that have been valued in the past by the varying socioeconomic classes and cultures,” Bishop said.

After applying twice for the grant, Menta is excited to get started and thankful that Temple has given her this opportunity.

“Man, this opportunity is so important. Temple has so many great opportunities available,” Menta said. “If you have an idea you’re passionate about…just GO for it. Start writing it out and talking to your friends about it, anything. It’s silly to not even try.”

Other Center for the Arts recipients include:

Nicole Beck, Film and Media Arts & Art History majors, TFMA, Project Title: “Heavenly Machines: Activating Memory in Sacred Space,” Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Bolman, Art History.

Jay Oatis, Dance major, Boyer, Project Title: “Parasitic Politic: AIDS in New York City, 1980-1985,” Faculty Mentor: Merian Soto, Dance.

Christopher Schelb, Flute Performance major, Boyer, Project Title: “Confronting Silence: Toru Takemitsu and Postmodern Music,” Faculty Mentor: Cynthia Folio, Music Theory.

Andie Taylor, Music Composition major, Boyer, Project Title: “sad boy: Exploring Queer Identity through Music,” Faculty Mentor: Matthew Greenbaum, Music Composition.

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