On January 26, 2014, Anna Tao (Sr.) received first place in the senior division of the Art Competition at the annual Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) in which Orange County middle school and high school students gathered and presented their artwork. Tao is the first University High School (UHS) student to participate in the competition.
A first time participant in an art competition, Tao has taken art classes at UHS and at art studios. Tao’s artwork is a collage of her scientific influences from her research internship at University of California at Irvine, Mr. Tim Smay’s (Science Dept.) physics class, and last year’s Science Olympics team shirt. Tao credits Ms. Dana Kramer (Fine Arts Dept.) for her success. Tao said, “Mrs. Kramer helped me discover my voice and a unique style in my Advanced Placement Art Studio class last year.” When asked about Tao’s entry, Ms. Kramer said, “Anna has a strong interest in both science and art. I knew that Anna would create a successful entry piece.”
Tao intends to pursue a major in biology and possibly a minor in studio art. The OCSEF Prompt “Art of Science” complimented her interests and challenged her to combine them. Tao said, “This theme allowed me to explore the relationship between my two interests.”
The OCSEF competition judges participants’ artwork based on originality and demonstration of technical skills. According to OCSEF, this competition aims to improve students’ science and literacy skills and is a potential starting point for students considering careers in science and engineering to demonstrate their scientific interests on the county level. Students can participate at the annual OCSEF by registering through the OCSEF website and submitting a project inspired by an annual theme.
This is the first year that a UHS student has participated in OCSEF. According to Ms. Kramer, Ms. Shannon Bunch (Science Dept.), who is on the OCSEF board, brought the competition to the school’s attention. Ms. Kramer said, “I encouraged all of my students to participate at the OCSEF. It’s a great competition for students to enter because it is a wonderful way for students to show interest in both the arts and sciences.”
Written by MONICA LAFERLA