Feb. 06, 2013

Shaping Lives of Purpose: Student ambassador exhibits research about immigrant experiences


Brandon Eng '15 explored experiences and perspectives of immigrants as the James Houston '80 Ambassadorship in Innovation. His exhibit about his research project is on display in the Kinetic Gallery through Feb. 19. /PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN




"There is no such thing as a view from nowhere," says Brandon Eng '15. Our perspectives — and the perspectives of others — are influenced by who we are, what we experience and where we come from. Last summer, Eng explored the experiences and views of immigrants as one of Geneseo's first student ambassadors.

Eng was awarded the James Houston '80 Ambassadorship in Innovation offered by the Center for Inquiry, Discovery and Leadership. He used the grant to interview immigrants to preserve their experiences, and invited them to take photographs of what they believe represent America and American identity.

Eng is also an aspiring museum curator. As part of his project, he organized "Activating the Gaze: Visualizing American Identity," an exhibition that features the immigrants' photographs, as well as reflections. It is on display in the Kinetic Gallery in the Union through Feb. 19.

Eng says researching, interviewing and completing the project has provided him with crucial skills for curating. It has also made him explore more deeply how what we see in our everyday lives impact us and how we think.

Nine ambassadorships were awarded to students in the areas of diversity, innovation, community engagement, leadership, French language and culture, business and student affairs in 2012. There are 10 ambassadorships available in 2013, provided by generous support from Houston and others, who believe in transformative learning experiences. Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo, is raising $22 million to ensure and expand such opportunities in and out of the classroom for students.

• "Activating the Gaze: Visualizing American Identity" is on display in the the Kinetic Gallery in the Union through Feb. 19. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 12:30 to 6 p.m., Fridays from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 6 p.m.