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WWU students are experiencing the best of art and science as they combine areas of study from across the spectrum (part 1 of 5)

Art and science are often considered polar opposites, and students can feel the pull to choose one or the other. Engineering or English? Computer science or art? Biology or music? However, employers today are increasingly seeking graduates with skill sets that blend the best of both worlds—the ability to interpret data and draw conclusions, to think and communicate creatively, to reason effectively, to work with others to solve problems, to make informed decisions.
Meet Laura Egolf, a Walla Walla University student who is finding creative ways to combine her passion for areas of study that are stronger together.

The question of studying science or humanities is one that WWU senior Laura Egolf has considered for some time. “It’s funny, in high school my brother was always the science one and I was more into humanities. I really liked to write, and people always thought I would go into English,” Egolf says. “As I got a little older, I got more into science. That is what I ultimately went into. Now music and literature are more for relaxing.”

Egolf is preparing for medical school, so adding a chemistry minor to her biology major was a natural fit. “I just needed to take one extra chemistry class to get the minor, and I figured why not!” With family members in Argentina, spending a year studying Spanish at Universidad Adventista del Plata with the Adventist Colleges Abroad program was also an easy choice, and she added a Spanish minor.

“Music was the most unplanned minor,” says Egolf, who didn’t participate in any musical ensembles her freshman year. “I really missed it, so my sophomore year I joined choir and ended up in I Cantori. Then someone told me the vocal department needed a pianist to accompany lessons.” One thing led to another and before long Egolf had added a minor in music. “It’s been a little hectic trying to get everything in, but I’m happy. It’s been a good balance for all my science classes to have this whole other music community.”

An expanded campus community is one perk of studying both the sciences and the arts at WWU. Egolf interacts with students and professors from a variety of areas on campus and as a result enjoys a wide social circle and support system.

During her sophomore year Egolf traveled with I Cantori on tour through Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. One of her best memories from that trip was, ironically, singing in an empty church. “We weren’t singing to anyone. It was just this beautiful piece. You could hear an echo through the church. It was something that makes you want to cry. There was just beauty. It was definitely a very spiritual and memorable experience. There’s something about music and sharing it that I don’t really find in anything else,” Egolf says.

“Science really challenges me intellectually. I enjoy figuring out how things work, and I like the problem solving. Whereas with music there is the creative aspect. You get to make something beautiful and share it with people. Especially in I Cantori we sing for church a lot, and that’s been a really good way to give back. I think of the music as a gift. I feel like these are two aspects of me that are both important to me,” she says.


Explore more areas of study available at WWU at https://www.wallawalla.edu/academics/areas-of-study/.

Posted Jan. 20, 2020

Portrait of Laura Egolf sitting by a window wearing a dark green jacket.
Laura Egolf // Major: Biology // Minors: Spanish, chemistry, music // Hometown: Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

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