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Drinko Center grant aids self-designed major with research

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Posted on Thursday, December 9, 2021

With the help of a grant from the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, one Westminster College senior individual interdisciplinary major carried out her passions through research. 

Pittsburgh native Lindsey Rutledge took the title, and direction, of her major into her own hands by creating one that combined all of her interests. When it was all approved, her self-designed major, Biological Illustration, was born. 

Rutledge centered her research around the applications of mycology, a branch of biology that studies fungi, in both the environment and human use.  

Rutledge found her passion for mycology through a class that was offered at the outdoor classroom in Boyce Mayview Park in Upper St. Clair, Pa.

“I find fungi to be very fascinating and I have always been fond of sketching,” says Rutledge. 

After foraging and identifying mushrooms, she begins the second part of her research—sketching her findings. Rutledge finds that sketch and watercolor as the main mediums best portray how someone in the field would document specimens. 

“I want others to see my research and learn about the seldom discussed uses and unusual properties of fungi,” says Rutledge. 

The Drinko Center aided her in funding the costs of several materials used to create her research pieces. Rutledge was able to purchase new water color sets, various brushes, a palette, framing supplies, canvases and much more. 

Her biggest inspirations for her research come from small artists and her art adviser, Summer Zickefoose, assistant professor in the art department. 

Rutledge is looking into pursuing an artist residency or illustration work for her post graduate life. 

For more information an individual interdisciplinary major, click here: 

For more information on the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, click here: