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The University of Alabama

Find Your Passion: Student Sculpts Her Career Path

By Casey O’Rear

Lindsey poses with two of her art projects. (Samantha Hernandez)

Lindsey poses with two of her art projects. (Samantha Hernandez)

Most college students find it challenging to excel in one subject area, let alone two, or even three. One exception is University of Alabama student Lindsay Jones Lindsey.

She is working toward a degree in studio art-sculpture and triple minoring in biological sciences, Computer-Based Honors and the Blount Undergraduate Initiative.

Lindsey wants to become a facial reconstruction surgeon, and while this may seem an unusual goal for a sculpture major, she is confident her art studies will help her become a more effective surgeon.

“When I was younger, I remember my dad saying to me, ‘Lindsay, I will be proud of you if you become a doctor, but I will be just as proud if you become an artist, a teacher or anything else. … Don’t limit yourself to one thing; keep exploring and learning,’” Lindsey, of Madison, recalls.

Lindsey works on a model of her Fibonacci spiral. (Samantha Hernandez)

Lindsey works on a model of her Fibonacci spiral. (Samantha Hernandez)

This love of both art and science helped her win the John Fraser Ramsey Premier Award, given to one rising senior at UA for versatility and excellence.

Lindsey hopes to leave a tangible legacy on UA’s campus.

She is designing artwork for eventual display in the Science and Engineering Complex’s courtyard. This 6-and-a-half-foot sculpture depicts a Fibonacci spiral. Initially, it will be displayed within the Woods Quad Sculpture Garden before migrating to the other complex following the completion of construction in that area.

Lindsey says she chose the design not only for its significance in everyday life but also because it is the perfect representation of how art and science can blend.

“On some days I am an artist with a scientific bent, and, on others, I am a scientist with an artist bent. My Fibonacci sculpture reflects both aspects of my life,” Lindsey says.

The Fibonacci spiral is a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is related to the golden ratio, Phi, or 1.618. This means the spiral gets wider, or further from its origin, by a factor of Phi for every quarter turn it makes.

Lindsey’s design includes an exposed skeleton of the spiral, constructed from hollow stainless steel square rods. Additionally, the spiral will be draped with one-eighth-inch-thick mirror-grade stainless steel to reflect the buildings and grounds surrounding it.

The art element is only half of Lindsey’s plan.

A close-up view of a sculpture by Lindsey. (Samantha Hernandez)

A close-up view of a sculpture by Lindsey. (Samantha Hernandez)

She says her hope is it will also lead to more interaction between members of the UA campus and the Tuscaloosa community.

She hopes to implement a Fibonacci Field Day, she says, which would be an annual event held in the spring where students from area elementary schools would attend. Different academic departments at UA would have opportunity to interact with the young students and explain how the Fibonacci spiral relates specifically to their departments.

This field day would allow for young students in the Tuscaloosa community to learn about science, engineering, math, music and art outside of the classroom, she says. Lindsey says she hopes it will inspire the students to set goals and spark interests in different fields.

“The Fibonacci project is more than just a simple structure; it is more than a work of art. The project possesses the potential to become a University-wide venture, a collaboration venture between the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Human Environmental Sciences and the Grounds and Facilities,” Lindsey says.

Lindsey’s Fibonacci spiral is in construction and should be placed on campus during the 2011-2012 school year.

In addition to the many hours working on the project, Lindsey is involved in many other extracurricular activities on and off campus.

For three years she’s worked as a research assistant to molecular biologist Dr. Matthew Jenny through the Computer-Based Honors program.

“While working in Dr. Jenny’s lab inundated me in biology like no other way can, this experience has taught me more about humanity than science,” Lindsey says. “I have learned the necessity of patience, the importance of tenacity. I have seen the ranges of human emotion from anger and disappointment to pure elation when a couple dozen lines finally line up. It’s a humbling experience to see some of the greatest minds in science fail and then try, over and over again, until they succeed.”

A studio art major focusing on sculpturing, Lindsey is simultaneously preparing for application to medical school. (Samantha Hernandez)

A studio art major focusing on sculpturing, Lindsey is simultaneously preparing for application to medical school. (Samantha Hernandez)

Lindsey is also an Honors College intern, member of Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre Health Society, co-president of the Arts and Sciences Student Ambassadors Leadership Council and vice-president of The XXXI Women’s Honorary. She mentors through the Big Brother Big Sister program in Tuscaloosa.

With one year left at UA before beginning the medical school application process, she says she plans to continue working on various Computer-Based Honors projects and her Capstone project for the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, as well as working on the Fibonacci project’s final details.

“I’m applying for USA Today Academic All-Americans in January for the Fibonacci Project, and I’m hoping to apply for a grant so the Fibonacci Field Day will be self supported and be able to continue after I graduate,” Lindsey says.

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Casey O’Rear is a senior from Hoover, majoring in public relations and minoring in general business. She served as an intern in the UA Office of Media Relations during the summer 2011 semester.

This story is part of the Find Your Passion series. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.

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