Outstanding Major Award
Kuan Luo, 2011
Kuan Luo, recipient of the 2011 Carol Lipson Award for Outstanding Major, has focused on seeking connections with her Writing and Rhetoric degree. As a 2011 graduate from Syracuse with a double major in Graphic Design and Writing and Rhetoric, Kuan has learned the art of multitasking. Having juggled the demands for both majors, Kuan says, “The most powerful and valuable thing I learned at Syracuse is how to find connections between multiple seemingly irrelevant ideas, and studying Writing and Rhetoric and Graphic Design helped me tremendously in understanding that those connections are sources of creative ideas.”
Kuan currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she connects her Writing and Rhetoric and Graphic Design majors as a graphic design intern. Still learning and with the same thirst for knowledge, Kuan remembers her time at Syracuse as an opportunity for academic growth. She reminisces on how she became interested in the Writing Program. The summer before her freshman year at Syracuse, Kuan was enrolled in SummerStart, a six-week program that provides incoming srudents with an opportunity to become familiar with the academic, social, and cultural life at SU, where she met Writing Program instructor KJ Rawson, who urged Kuan to pursue her talents in the Writing Program. KJ speaks highly of Kuan, especially her drive as a writer: “I always enjoyed her upbeat personality and the enthusiasm she brought to her work. She was never satisfied with an ‘acceptable’ piece of writing; she always strived to make it excellent.” Kuan soon learned the value of Writing and Rhetoric and cites the flexibility in the Program as giving her the freedom to choose classes that interested her.
Writing Program Director Eileen Schell, Kuan’s advisor, says that she saw firsthand the drive and will to succeed in Kuan. Kuan invested her time in community organizations, receiving hands-on experience working on OutCrowd Magazine, SyrGuide, and a number of other projects. Kuan took the initiative to go above and beyond what was asked of her. What most impressed Schell was Kuan’s ability to develop her interests and incorporate them into her major. “Kuan represents the heart and soul of the Lipson Award: she is an academic achiever, but she balances that with her community engagement, departmental involvement, and her interest and love of travel and the world.”
Kuan has maintained a close relationship with many of the professors who have influenced her. “I have luckily known my advisor Eileen Schell and Dr. Lois Agnew from the very beginning, and they not only offered me academic support, but have always been role models for me—they've shown me how to be compassionate, tolerant and inspiring.” Professor Lois Agnew noticed the drive in Kuan after witnessing her performance in WRT 255, where she worked to discover the nuances of argumentative writing.
Another mentor, Professor Krista Kennedy, remembers Kuan as someone who had a hunger for learning and investigating topics discussed in class as well as others that intrigued her. “Kuan was the sort of student who dropped by office hours just to chat about the reading she'd assigned herself to do that weekend and brought not only smart ideas but journal entries, drawings, and maps.” Her earnest passion for what she was doing and desire to see what else was interesting in the world made her stand out. Exploring new avenues was not just something she experienced in the writing classroom; Kuan also became an avid traveler. Taking every opportunity to see new places, such as Antarctica, she took to blogging along the way.
Pairing a Graphic Design major with Writing and Rhetoric has allowed Kuan to express her creativity in different avenues. Kuan encourages current Writing majors to “seek connections between rhetoric and some other disciplines, either by picking up another major or maintaining some interests of their own.” Seeing the importance of rhetoric, Kuan believes that it always will be a significant part of her career: “As for the future, I don't think I will ever leave rhetoric, as it constantly shows me surprising facets about the world. I would like to continue to deepen my study in rhetoric by looking at how it intertwines with other disciplines and be inspired by finding out the powerful connections.”
top:Professor Emeritus Carol Lipson presents Kuan with the award that bears her name
middle: Kuan and fellow Distinction Program participants Nonna Tsiganok (left) and Marina Charny (right) pose with Distinction Program mentor and WP Director Eileen Schell
bottom: Kuan and family celebrate after her Distinction Program presention entitled "What is Participatory Art?"