I’m Katie Shannon – a graduate of the University of Central Florida with 3 degrees. As an undergrad, I pursued two: one in English, one in Art History. My own obsession with trying to understand the pursuit for meaning and the multi-faceted way in which different individuals attempt to portray various ideas led me to pursue a Masters in Art Education. I wanted to help our youth to recognize not only their own potential, but also the idiosyncratic worldview of others. To dig deeper, and sift through the visual cues embedded within artistic forms. We are all the product of those environs that we grow up in. These environs provide the origins of various ideas, whether they be cultural, political, environmental, or another. My role as educator was to help my kids to understand the universal undercurrents within them all. More pertinently, to understand a means by which we can actively sustain them.
My own artistic endeavors are usually brought forth through – well – dirt as a medium. Okay, maybe not dirt per se, but glorious, glorious clay. My themes have been diverse, experimentations many. But underneath it all is an undying love to manipulate the raw earth into whatever I envision. I taught art for six years before pursuing a degree in Urban Planning at Rollins College – and worked all the while. As both the teacher and the student – I more fully realized just how important the built and natural environments are in the creation of character. I became voracious in my attempts to reinvent human-induced blight. And to highlight those amenities already worthy of merit. I realized that by implementing sustainable practices into urban development, I would in fact create a tableaux worthy of inspiring my students. The most immediate, feasible solution ironically seemed to be in cultivating high quality soil. I’d like to call myself rationally idealistic. Capable of recognizing simple solutions meant to help bring communities together and aestheticize the natural environment which surrounds us. This stems from my undying belief in the overwhelming, often catalytic, impact that tangible experiences evoke. Personally, I want leave my mark! To ride my bike! To play with dirt! And all the while help to shape a community worthy of being called art.
Hey composters! I'm Alex Stringfellow and I am a graduate of both University of Central Florida and Rollins College with a B.S. in Psychology and Master's in Urban Planning. In addition to my undergraduate studies in Psychology and Behavior, I earned a concentration in Biological Sciences (30+ credit hours). My fascination was complex systems research: inputs, processes and outputs. This could be found in social situations, memory formation, urban land use and ecosystems. I found the concept so powerful and broadly applicable, that my first publication appeared in a computer science journal! This line of research led me to environmental work at the UCF Arboretum; managing, planning, educating and coordinating volunteer efforts in the organic garden, natural lands and manicured landscapes. This experience fostered my desire to see comprehensives and efficient system design and ultimately led me to the field of Urban Planning. Long story short, our final studio project at Rollins College helped me identify a huge deficit in Orlando's waste management practices, the neglect of food waste (residential and commercial). It can be processed and used for soil amendment, biogas, thermal energy and our favorite use, contaminated food fights!!! Just kidding... Whelp, we hope to see you and your food/yard soon.