"The true power of a Knox education goes far beyond the numbers—it's revealed in the transformative experienc...
Sri Lankan/American Double Citizenship
Major in Environmental Studies, minors in Biology and Business Management
How did you hear about this program?
I heard about this summer program from Knox design professor Tim Stedman. I then sent my application form and portfolio to the program representative. My acceptance letter came to me on Flunk Day, which was a pleasant coincidence.
Would you describe your summer program?
I was enrolled in the Summer Workshop Program at the Basel School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung Basel) in Basel, Switzerland, for four weeks. It was an intensive program where we worked for at least 40 hours a week and engaged one design subject per week. In addition to experiencing Switzerland, I encountered the voices of other cultures from participants of countries like Brazil, Portugal, Russia, and India, to name a few. Also, one of our field trips took us to the campus of Vitra, an industrial design company, where architects from around the world (Japan, Netherlands, and more) were invited to create a selection of incredible buildings.
From a design history standpoint, Basel was a great place to be. In the early/mid-twentieth century, Swiss designers brought together existing schools of design and moved the field forward by creating the International Typographic Style, a movement that still influences design around the world. Some of our program's professors were the students of those designers, so our courses showed us what they had learned and created since then. I enjoyed feeling connected to this foundational perspective.
What would you say was the most valuable resource at Knox that helped you succeed?
Tim certainly helped me get into this program—by the time I reached Basel, I was able to hold my own in the program and understand design at the higher level at which it was taught. StartUp Term was where I first encountered design and the other program professors (Associate Professor of Computer Science Jaime Spacco, Professor and Chair of Business and Management John Spittel, and William and Marilyn Ingersol Chair in Computer Science John Dooley), were also helpful in encouraging me to pursue my aspirations.
What drew you to Knox?
Knox was the first academic setting in America where my cultural background was warmly welcomed, which was something I needed at that time.
I also came in search of diverse subject matter. By participating in a wide range of programs, from Green Oaks Term to StartUp Term, I can say I found what I was looking for. Although I'd like to stay close to my environmentalist roots, I'm working on furthering my career in design. This program was an important step.
Pictured above: Sidath Wanigasinghe '18 uses a machete to clear a trail at Green Oaks Biological Field Station.