Posted by Devon Goszkowicz on September 07, 2016 at 11:21 AM
My name is Devon Goszkowicz and I am a junior at the University of Illinois, studying Materials Science and Engineering. Materials Science is a discipline that draws from chemistry, physics, and engineering to understand materials that we see in our daily lives. There are a few different categories in Materials Science, or MatSE, such as ceramics, biomaterials, polymers, electronic materials, and metals. Ceramics can range from glasses to materials in cell phones, while biomaterials can be items such as knee replacements, prosthetics, or braces. Polymers are commonly thought of as plastics, while electronic materials include the items that make up your computer.
From a young age, I have always loved art. I have very distinct memories of going on family vacations to Lake Tahoe and sitting indoors, drawing horses and cats over and over again. To buy my very first American Girl Doll, I sold my drawings to family friends and relatives. I took ceramics classes, painting classes, still life classes, pastel classes: everything you can imagine.
Around the age of 13, I started to have two very distinct talents: on one hand, I was extremely artistic. Pencil drawings and acrylic painting came very naturally to me. On the other, I was excellent at math and chemistry. (Pre)calculus and chemical reactions made perfect sense to me. As I got older, my art teachers suggested that I consider studying art in college. Similarly, my chemistry teachers pushed me to study chemistry in college.
My junior year of high school, I had started to fall into this belief that art and science were mutually exclusive. I believed that I had to pick between my passions as a career, and that to be successful at one, I needed to give up the other. By the time I turned 16, I had started to become interested in engineering as a way to create objects formed from my passions in chemistry and math. I attended a camp that introduced me to Materials Science, and I decided that was what I was going to study.
Around the same time, I formulated my interest in makeup. I never truly believed that I needed makeup-- I liked the transformative effect that it had on people around me. I liked the idea of being able to look different just by adding a swipe of mascara or concealing my pimples (which I sadly still possess). I liked seeing the confidence that it gave my peers. I spent countless hours mesmerized by the intense precision with which makeup artists like Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury blended eyeshadows on their YouTube channels. Over the course of three years, my love for traditional art had transformed into a love for makeup, although my passion for painting remains.
Around my first semester of college, as I became more and more interested in makeup, I had an epiphany: I could choose art and engineering. Makeup is art, and creating makeup is engineering. I study Materials Science, and makeup is a material. After graduating from college, I could work to formulate new products for some of my favorite brands, like Lorac, ColourPop, Tarte, Maybelline, or Benefit. I could design the packaging that is on display in Walgreens, Ulta, or Sephora.
For a significant portion of my life, I had assumed that I needed to make a choice in my collegiate career. I assumed that I could not choose art AND engineering. However, there are so many different ways to incorporate these two disciplines: packaging, architecture, video game development, and hardware designs. All of these things are beautiful, artistic, and challenging to create. Liking makeup and being an engineer are not mutually exclusive. Being smart does not mean that you cannot feel beautiful, and feeling beautiful does not mean that you cannot be smart.