Senior Proposal

Fall 2016

AW // Updated Presentation





JJay | Updated Outline


  • “I am a Leaf”
  • Interacting with nature,
    rather than merely capturing it
    allows us to develop deeper
    intimacy with our surroundings.
  • I’ve found writing to be a good method for me to do so.
  • Two stories
    • I went on a Creative Retreat this fall
      • top of a hill overlooking the lake
      • the breeze – not quite autumn, but crisp
      • hear the birds
      • hear the tide
      • hear the leaves
      • hear katie making noise next to me
      • warm sun on my face
      • cold wooden chair under me
    • I went to Vail this summer

      • Friend showed me everything
      • so much to do so little time
      • no chance to reflect or soak it all in
      • somehow able to post updates to snapchat and instagram
      • all those photos are gone now
  • Society tells us it’s popular to see nature in one way, but I’m telling you that there’s so much more to “see” if you look with your heart in addition to your eyes.



  • Our society’s response to something beautiful is often to share it with someone
    • We want to share that we’re going to beautiful places, doing cool things, and having a good time.
      • By searching some popular hashtags we can see how many people decided it was important to share what they were seeing
        • I searched a number of different hashtags (optoutside, neverstopexploring, adventure, among others)
        • As broad as I could get: #nature had almost 200 million photos in the category.
        • I wonder if any of the people who took these photos got anything out of the moment they were in
    • I have not yet met anyone who does not have some desire to be “liked”
      and it is easy to seek that sense of validation by posting photos on Instagram. I do this too.

      • As part of my research I went to Garfield Park Conservatory
      • I took over 200 photos on my phone but they were just
        quick snapshots of cool colors or interesting floral patterns that caught my eye
      • When my phone died I resorted to sketching
        which took much longer but allowed me to reflect in the moment.
      • While it may be thought of as simply another poor attempt at recreating the scene visually, it’s more about the process of relishing in that moment and connection.
    • I don’t want you to mistake this as a bash on photography, I see its merits
      • Photography can inspire
      • when posted online it is infinitely more accessible
      • But it may be limiting.
  • If you are “living in the moment” through a viewfinder,
    there’s a chance you aren’t in the moment at all.

    • To some degree, when we take pictures, we are disconnecting from what is going on.
      • I went to the Shedd Aquarium to see nature that I don’t usually have the opportunity to encounter which I was pretty excited about.
      • Instead, I saw a lot of people taking pictures.
      • I expected to see people marveling at the animals caged within the glass, instead they were simply caging them within their own glass.
    • The response/interaction becomes more about having a well-composed photo or absorbing what you’re seeing as quickly as possible so as to be on to the next one
    • By disconnecting from the moment, we can miss out on the true beauty of it
  • As an alternative, I intend to create an avenue for a user to engage with more personal responsive techniques

    • Personally engaging in your surroundings as an individual roots you in that moment, deepening your connection to it
      • It becomes something you can look back on in REFLECTION rather than simple remembrance
      • It becomes more about how you feel rather than simply what you see
      • This could look like writing, sketching, praying, songwriting, dancing, or any other “heart response”
    • These are opportunities to connect with yourself as well as with God
      • See how much care he puts into his creations
      • See ho much he cares for you
      • See how everything has a purpose
    • This personal response is nothing that BEGS to be shared online. In fact, it’s not something that needs to be shared at all
      • Sometimes, knowing that someone else will be reading what you’ve written or hear what you’ve composed may be less inclined to be fully honest and expressive in that creation.
      • Knowing it will be shared affects the quality of the response


  • So, even though it may be popular to share nature from your viewfinder, it can limit the ability to engage and connect with the moment. Instead, I’m encouraging the exploration of more emotional, personally invested response techniques
  • Interacting with nature and its creator is more beneficial than simply capturing the moment in a glass cage
  • After all, I could tell you a lot more about the connection I had to the moment at the Creative Retreat than at Vail because, well, there actually was a connection.

KC-Presentation 2 and slide edits


AC – Outline + Slides



On Critique

y What is a good critique, and what you should walk away with this Thursday.

Presentation order

4:00 Welcome

4:15 Kayla Currens

4:30 Jared Eden

4:45 Katie Dunbar

5:00 Break

5:15 Alyssa Warner

5:30 Andrés Chavez

5:45 Sarah Recker

6:00 Natalia Warren

SR- Updated Outline and Slides

Slides:  proposal-2


Hi. I’m Sarah Recker.

About three years ago.  The summer after my freshman year here.  And it was my brother’s wedding day.  All morning I felt nauseous, a pit in my stomach, like something terrible was going to happen, but I figured I was just nervous because it was such a happy perfect day. The wedding carried on, and the pressure on my chest only got worse.  Before I knew it, I was laying on the floor of the hotel bathroom screaming for my mom in a cold sweat, the room was spinning and I could feel my heart beating faster and faster.  I genuinely believed that that was it, that I was going to have a heart attack on my brother’s wedding day. I had a panic attack. And that’s when it all started for me.  The scariest thing about panic attacks is the physical feelings that comes from your mentality.  I remember thinking, What is wrong with my mind?  Does it really have that much power over how I physically feel?  That’s when I decided I needed to figure this out.  So I studies and began to work on my own personal mental health.

Art. It allows us to live out our truest selves.  Therapy, especially with art often seems reserved for those who have experienced trauma and loss.  But everyone is capable and often in need of an outlet to be expressive.  Artistic expression provides a healthy way, and sometimes the only way of revealing unknown and suppressed emotions in an individual.  Artistic expression is healthy and needs to be accessible to all.

Negative emotions are often suppressed, and expressive ways of coping, such as traditional Art Therapy, are usually reserved for extreme cases. However, mental health practices apply to everyone—they apply to me, to you, and to your loved ones.  If you’re not an anxious person, you still have feelings and emotions. We all have good days and bad days. And each of us have personalized ways of dealing with stress, anger, sadness, whether they be healthy or unhealthy outlets. And we all could benefit from the cathartic effects of artistic expression.


  • Point 1—Rising Action (this) Anxiety and emotions are so often suppressed.  From youth to adulthood, we are taught to suppress expression.
    • Studies show, Despite its high level of treatability through therapy and/or medication, 2/3 of adults with anxiety do not receive treatment. Surpassing even depression, anxiety is the most common form of mental illness in the United States. It’s estimated that approximately 10 percent of teenagers and 40 percent of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder of some kind.
    • Only one in 5 teenagers with anxiety seek any kind of treatment.   
    • In our youth, creativity was encouraged and available to us.
      1. Coloring outside the lines was a way of exploring and learning about the world around you.  As kids we were free.  Mistakes were okay.  We were expressive, unafraid, and encouraged to be daring and create without limits.
      2. Growing up, we started being told to color in the lines, and study about things that “really matter in life.”  So we hit the books.  Because Expression is inappropriate, reason is valued over feelings, so we resist the tendency to express.
      3. Why do we suppress how we feel?  We are either uncomfortable or we suppress them without knowing.  Or we put things on the backburner because in the moment we feel ok about them. Why is this?
        1. Humans are complex.
        2. We don’t always handle negativity in healthy ways.
    • Point 2—Climax (means that) Art therapy does not seem accessible for all.
      1. Art therapy seems reserved for the “damaged.”  Those who have gone through extreme situations.. like trauma, loss, injury.  Or often it seems only for children.  
        1. Art therapy can be a particularly useful treatment tool for children, who frequently have limited language skills. By drawing or using other visual means to express troublesome feelings, younger patients can begin to address these issues, even if they cannot identify or label these emotions with words. Art therapy is also valuable for adolescents and adults who are unable or unwilling to talk about thoughts and feelings. Beyond its use in mental health treatment, art therapy is also used with traditional medicine to treat organic diseases and conditions. The connection between mental and physical health is well documented, and art therapy can promote healing by relieving stress and allowing the patient to develop coping skills.


  • Even art itself seems reserved for the skilled.


      1. Deane Alban said, “Many are afraid that since they aren’t very good at something, there is no point and they won’t get any benefit from doing it.  Another myth is that you have to work with an art therapist to get any therapeutic benefit from doing art.“  Therapeutic art can be a personal endeavor.   
  • Point 3—Creative expression is improves mental health and needs to be accessible to all.
    1. Kwame Dawes, Ph.D., Distinguished Poet in Residence talks about his own personal reasoning behind his work.  He says “Whatever the reason, an inner compulsion exists and I continue to honor this internal imperative. If I didn’t, I would feel really horrible. I would be a broken man. So whether attempting to make art is noble or selfish, the fact remains that I will do it nevertheless… I’m trying to capture in language the things that I see and feel, as a way of recording their beauty and power and terror, so that I can return to those things and relive them.
    2. We are all born with an innate desire to express ourselves and art encompasses a wider range of activities than we can even imagine.
    3. Art encourages creative thinking.  Creating art is an effective way to stimulate the brain, distract it when it needs to be distracted, and heal it when it needs healing.  Picasso says, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
  • Conclusion—I propose the development of a toolkit for adults to be able to use artistic expression as an everyday means of promoting positive mental health.
    • I want to gather resources for adults to practice creative expression, regardless of their artistic abilities.
    • The toolkit will serve as an entry-point into developing positive mental health practices and habits.
    • When we make maintaining our mental health a priority, we can see improvements in our every day lives, and can better identify when we may be in an unhealthy place, or experiencing something that may trigger a panic attack like mine, and possibly prevent them.

Video Presentation / Outline KD


    1. Attention-getter: When I came to college I was completely unaware of who I  was – broken and exhausted after working my first summer as a wilderness guide. In this season of vulnerability I was highly aware of the needs of others after working with a tightly knit, highly emotional team for the last three months.  I never knew the power that self awareness or emotional intelligence had .until I was able to begin having those difficult conversations with people that I deeply respected and trusted.
    2. Central Idea: In those conversations I learned this, healthy communities thrive because there is a mutual understanding of how one another thinks and functions.
    3. Establish credibility and relate topic to audience: It was then, in the chaos of coming to college that I realized that there was something broken, something in our communities that overlooked the true needs of individuals in the name of the betterment of the group as a whole
    4. Preview the main points: Coming full circle, in my senior year, I have chosen to study the role that personality types, emotional intelligence, and empathy play personally and in a community setting.
    5. Transition: So lets start here…
  1. BODY
    1. Main Point: The best place to start when trying to understand communities is to start with individuals. The easiest place to begin is personality typing systems.
      1. The Myers Briggs
        1. The Myers Briggs. The focus of the Myers Briggs is preference psychologist Rowan Bayne describes the MBTI as a system of “preference and what feels the most comfortable and natural”.
        2. The main verb associated with the MBTi is what will you DO.
        3. Types are divided into four sections –           Extraversion  / Introversion, Sensing / Intuition, Thinking/ Feeling, Judging / Perceiving                          
      2. The Enneagram
        1. The Enneagram is a personality typing that is more respected than the MBTI and has been around since Ancient Greece.
        2. The Enneagram is divided into nine different core types ( 1-9 ) “Nine different ways to be in the world” (The Road Back to You Suzanne Stibile).. The Reformer, The Helper, The Achiever, The Individualist, The Investigator, The Loyalist, The Enthusiast, The Challenger and The Peacemaker.
        3. Because of the malleable nature of the Enneagram, accounting for seasons of health and unhealth the main verb behind the Enneagram is what have you DONE?  
      3. Though personality tests seem to be promising resources for personal growth there is also a shadow side to them.
        1. Richard Rohr, the author and psychologist in charge of the Enneagram I and II, deeply believes that the Enneagram is a tool for spiritual discernment. This being said, personality typing systems are not an adequate replacement for vulnerability with Christ.
        2. The most dangerous use of personality typing systems is someone who learns but does not apply what they have learned to life. “Someone who does not want to learn and change can misuse the Enneagram as an excuse for his attitude”   ( Hannah Nathans, The Enneagram at Work )
        3. Transition: So where do we go once we begin to understand individuals? We look at how they interact together.
    2. Main Point:  In the famous podcast Invisibillia a study was done on prisoners  The stability of prisoners on NPR. The team of radio journalists from Invisibillia did a study where they were able to interact with incarcerated prisoners as well as psychologists who were able to verifying the recent changes in prisoners’ personality types. The study found that the human brain was able to turn on and off a range of different desires. Which poses this – “There is no such things as stable people only stable situations”  How do we handle this? Emotional Intelligence  
      1.  What is Emotional Intelligence? What is the function of EQ?
        1. Your intelligence quotient is not how inherently smart you are or how much you know but rather measures your ability to learn rather than what you know.  Your emotional quotient is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and use your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships – it is distinct from your intellect.
        2. IQ is permanent, EQ is changeable and can be improved over time or ignored entirely.
        3. A well rounded emotional quotient is able to identify the five core emotions, determine their level of intensity and then act upon the gathered information.
      2. What role do emotions play in personality?
        1. What are emotions? Why do they matter?               “The rational area of your brain (the front of your brain)  can’t stop emotion “felt” by the limbic system but the two areas do influence each other and maintain constant communication” (Bradberry, Greaves Emotional Intelligence 2.0).
        2. Being aware of both our mood and our thoughts about that mood (Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence)
        3. “The daily challenge of dealing effectively with emotions is critical to the human condition because our brains are hardwired to give your emotions the upper hand.” (Bradberry, Greeves Emotional Intelligence 2.0)
    1. Main Point: So where do we go when personality and emotional intelligence fail? Empathy
      1. Empathy is the beginning of it all.
        1. At its core empathy is the ability to connect in a judgement free way to others around us.
        2. Empathy does not ask “What can I fix?” Empathy does not offer an a list of questions to dig deeper. Empathy is the art of being with another person.
      2. All personalities fail and all relationships fail eventually but the vulnerability in connection is the only way to create stable situations in times of chaos.
        1. Rarely does a response make something better. The art of empathy is learning to rewrite the preprogrammed responses that we have been taught to use when we enter into situations of vulnerability and get flustered.  Take someone else’s perspective, be non judgemental, use emotional intelligence to recognize emotion in others and choose to take on the emotions of that other person even if it is only briefly.
        2. The only solution to brokenness in communities is making the active to step into a broken and vulnerable spaces and connecting to something within ourselves that allows us to feel what the other person is feeling.
        3. The brokenness we face is undeniable and the price of God’s glory shining through in our lives in brokenness.
      3. We only need to know how to handle it.
    1. Summary: We need to understand our communities around us so we start with ourselves, making a genuine effort to see and understand our blind spots through personality typing systems. In turn our communities should be personally aware enough to anticipate the needs of others as well as knowing how to appropriately respond. Finally our communities are sealed together by empathy and the ability to take on the perspective of another. Communities are driven apart by apathy and misunderstanding of a person’s exact needs or ability to articulate desires. It is our calling  as Christians and as human beings to mend this wound.   
    2. Restatement of the central idea
    3. Closing lines that relate back to the introductio


AW // presentation (video of me doing it reals roughly will be done later today)


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