Paintings, Endings, and Thank Yous

I’ve been thinking about endings with this program coming to a close. I thought maybe I could share some peoples last paintings to kind of go with that theme.

Mark Rothko’s last painting, Untitled, 1970. This is his only painting painted in a single color as far as I’m aware. (that is to say, a single paint color, not his only monochromatic painting)

Many believe this to be Van Gogh’s last painting, Wheatfield with Crows, 1890.

Pablo Picasso, Self-Portrait Facing Death, 1972 painted just hours before he passed at 91 years old.

Georgia O’Keeffe. The Beyond, 1972. Oil on canvas, 30 1/16 x 40 3/16 inches. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s last unassisted painting (to my knowledge) she painted with assistance after going blind, so it’s not the last painting she ever created, but the last she saw.

Modern Art II 1996 Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Lent by The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Collection 2015

I’m not 100% sure this is Roy Lichtenstein’s last painting, it’s probably not (turns out its really hard to figure out which one was last unless people are meticulous about dates), but it was painted one year before his death.

Anyway those are some “last” paintings to share on my “last” day, but the thing is it isn’t really my last day like it was for these artists. I still have a lot to go. and I’m excited to see where I end up. Anyway I should probably stop talking about art and start talking about what I had planned to say in my last blog, which is the last few days and thanks to everyone for all they did.

so first, the symposium: The symposium was so scary. Socializing with strangers is difficult for autistic people, myself included. And loud rooms with many conversations are a struggle because I’m hard of hearing. But I think I did okay. And my team really helped out when I couldn’t hear and stepped in when I needed talking breaks. My grandparents came to see the symposium. I didn’t think that I needed someone to come see what is done this summer, so I wasn’t even going to tell anyone, but on a whim I asked my grandparents who live pretty close if they’d want to come to the symposium. It really did feel good having family show up to support me. Grandpa wasn’t able to find parking, so only grandma was able to come in, but it really made the experience a lot less scary for me. And people were very kind to her and everyone wanted to meet her. That made me happy.
Andric and Curtis were amazing at the symposium. I could tell that Andric was struggling with the same social anxiety issues as me but he is so brave when it comes to it. He once said that he even though he’s scared of public speaking he wants to do a good job so he works through it, which is very impressive. Yesterday we have our exit interviews as well, which required sitting in front of a camera all by ourselves as well as in a group. Andric did well both times despite being scared. Curtis, as the only one in our cohort who is an extrovert, was loving the whole thing. And truthfully I was too, albeit in a very different way. Below the fear was excitement that other people were hearing about, understanding, and getting excited about what we were doing. It was scary but fun to talk to people about how we designed our prototype and show them the game asset trailer I made and watch them play the prototype and ask insightful questions. It felt good when Hila and Jorge (the grad mentors on our team) came by to see our poster. Even though they knew what we’d done all summer, they’d been there after all, and helped us make the poster, it was nice to have them come support us. People were overall very supportive. Imtiajul was very excited to be there and smiled practically the whole. We got good questions from Eliot and Stephen. The whole experience, even the bits I was nervous about, was worth repeating. I’d even let people take our pictures again even though I hate being photographed.

We’re having a goodbye lunch today and I’m nervous for it. Like the symposium I just don’t know what to expect. But I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I’m really glad I came here this summer.

now to the thank yous:

Allison: you were a great roommate. You always cleaned up and took out the trash when I forgot and are so sweet in every way. I could not have asked for a better person to share a room with. It was a pleasure getting to know you and I will miss you.
Amy: You’re also a fantastic person to share an apartment with. You never seemed to mind when I make messes or was loud or just a generally bad roommate, so thank you. I loved discussing knitting with you and talking about all the various things that pop into my head. I loved hearing you play the piano the other day. I will miss you as well.
Andric: You made this project a million times more fun. Not that it wasn’t already fun, but I love working with you and collaborating with you. I appreciate your ability to calmly discuss even the things you’re very passionate about. I like how, when we disagreed on things it was never an argument. You always tried to see my point of view and always explained your point of view to me so that we could make the best product possible. I will miss hanging out with you and making you smile.
Curtis: Thank you for always making sure I was able to hear. You would check in and ask about how I was hearing in situations where most people just assume I can, and I appreciate that. You are a very efficient worker and I hope that I learned some of that from you. I also appreciate all your efforts to make people go out and do things. I enjoyed getting to know you a little better at hickory park the other day, as did Jake.
Ayman: It’s been nice having another art person around. I enjoyed talking about ProCreate and drawing and seeing how your friend group did all those amazing animations and stuff. I will also miss you randomly coming up to my computer and asking “what are you doing” every few hours.
Nadya: I loved trying to find a pie with you at the fair, and talking with you at the pool, and just overall spending time with you. While I didn’t get to know you as well as I would have liked, your happy personality makes you so easy to be around. You ask really great questions in luncheon lectures and I will miss seeing your smile.
Rebekah: thank you for being the mom of the group and taking us out to the pool. I really enjoyed being problematic and chaotic at the pool and I liked talking with you about iPads. You’re very fun to talk to and I appreciate how you always ask good questions about grad school in our luncheon lectures.
Tim: it was nice getting to know you. You have interesting perspectives on things and I benefited from learning with you. I enjoyed arguing about what a sandwich is, and I really enjoyed helping you learn how to put your hair into a bun. I think you will do amazing things in the future and I hope you have a good time being an RA this school year.
Kimberly and Evrim: Thank you for having me on your team. I’ve really enjoyed learning about Storm Lake and education. Even with busy summers you both made the time for our group and I appreciate that very much.
Ezequiel, Hila, and Jorge:
Ezequiel, thank you for always explaining things when I didn’t understand, and waiting until I did understand to keep moving forward. I will miss working with you.
Hila, thank you for letting me try out your game. I loved shooting the paintings. And thank you for all your help with Unity and Blender. I really enjoyed learning from you and will miss working with you.
Jorge, Thank you for always answering our questions, even the potentially very dumb ones. You are very kind and always help make things easier for all of us. I enjoyed playing some of the games you suggested we try, and I will miss working with you.
Alex: I really enjoyed learning about SolidWorks (even though it may not have looked like it) and I loved the MCA. I’ve been wanting to learn about additive manufacturing for a long time but haven’t had the opportunity. Thank you for believing in me, and for telling me that you believe in me. I often struggle to believe in myself, so having someone else tell me they think I have what it takes is very impactful. Thank you for making octoXRbunny for us and going the extra mile to make something for us to remember this program by. Also thank you for letting me read your research, as well as suggesting the additive manufacturing book. I really enjoyed reading both (thought I haven’t finished the AM book just yet).
Dr. Gilbert: Thank you for being so kind. I’m grateful that you took the time to check in on all of us and I enjoyed hearing about Namibia and all the things you did there. Thank you for sending me the link to that talk you gave.
Glen: Like you said at the symposium, you kinda snuck into the background, but I know you were doing a lot of stuff there in the background that I’m thankful for. So thank you for that, and for talking to my grandma, and for generally being kind.
Dr. Winer: I appreciate your directness. When I began to talk about what I wanted for my career you noted that engineering would be helpful to add to my education. This was something I hadn’t really thought too much about, but after looking into it I realized how valuable it could be to me, and added biomedical engineering as a minor in my program. I’m already really enjoying learning about it, so thank you for the suggestion.
Heliya: Thank you so much for being so caring for all the interns. I appreciate how supportive you have been and your kindness when my aunt passed away, as well as willingness to help made the whole situation much easier than it otherwise would have been. I am incredibly thankful and will miss talking with you.
Imtiajul: Thank you for always keeping track of the interns and making sure we were safe. I enjoyed listening to you talk about how your daughters educational experience is so different from your own and I appreciate you taking the time to walk my grandma out of the symposium the other day.
Sarah: Thanks for coordinating everything and checking about food allergies and making sure I got messages when I didn’t respond right away (sorry about that). Also thanks for all the food you made us!
Lynn: thanks for checking in on us so often! And for the snacks! And for encouraging me to bring my husband to VRAC to show him around. He LOVED the building and seeing all the engines and stuff. I’m slowly but surely trying to convince him to come back to school, and this definitely helped.
Paul: Thanks for letting us use the assets you had for unity. And thanks for making the filming and photography stuff as painless as possible. As well as setting up different slack channels and stuff, I feel as if the contributions you made to our program were very often unrecognized so if I missed some, thanks for those as well.
Anyone else that I may have missed: I’m sorry there are simply too many people and I’m terrible at names. Everyone who taught us or who gave luncheon lectures or who came to the symposium made this REU special and I’m so thankful to everyone for being so welcoming and encouraging. I am very grateful to have had this experience and to have met all of you.

Anyway, that’s all. I hope to see some of you again when I come back to ISU in the spring as a student!

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