Page 10 - Menlo Magazine: Summer/Fall 2018
P. 10

    SUMMER/FALL 2018
    Austin Tamaddon ’12 now works in Silicon Valley as
a software engineer building video applications. During his tenure at Menlo, he coupled moviemaking, dance, and drama with STEM courses, providing the foundation for a double major in computer science and film studies at Wesleyan University. “Whether you are an engineer or a chemist, it’s very important to flex all parts of your thinking, and there is no better way to do so than pairing art and science in one’s education,” he shares.
“For me, Advanced Drama was both a study of the world around me and a journey into who I was and what I wanted for myself. It helped conquer any fear or doubt as to what I could achieve or what I wanted to be. Dance made me comfortable expressing myself and examining the actions of others more closely. Moviemaking strengthened my ability to communicate my desires and intentions to collaborators whilst encouraging patience and careful planning within my projects. All of
these skills allowed me to withstand the pressure of a fast- paced engineering environment that otherwise would have possessed far too many social and political challenges for
me to navigate.”
Austin continues, " Menlo was an irreplaceable experience in my development as it fostered an insatiable curiosity within
me. I cannot imagine, and will not entreat the
possibility, that it could have done
so without the arts
education I received.”
Ahna O'Reilly ’03, a Hollywood-based screen and stage actress, also values
the well-rounded
education she
got at Menlo.
“I’ve always been
grateful that
Menlo required
us to sample every
art form available
[through the Freshman Rotation program] and
then encouraged us to follow our interests,” she explains.
“Given the STEM focus of Silicon Valley, I believe the arts are more important than ever. The more diverse your skill set, the more creative you can be in whatever field you choose to pursue,” she says. “I often think of Steve Jobs famously being inspired by calligraphy. You never know what will arouse
and trigger discovery. Encouraging right-brain activity in a left-brain-dominant culture is imperative...The arts nurture curiosity and self-expression. They make us well-rounded and better human beings.”

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