Students Lunch with Montgomery Fellow, Enrique Martínez Celaya
The Montgomery Fellow Program is involved in bringing students together with remarkable and distinguished individuals outside the usual realm of scientists or scholars they would normally interact with.. In this way, students can enjoy a multitude of perspectives and create lasting contacts with people outside their field. This was very true for this lunch, which drew a large crowd from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Martínez Celaya holds a physics degree from Cornell University and undertook a PhD in quantum electronics from the University of California, Berkeley. However, the influence of painting in his adolescence and the draw it had on his heart made him decide to switch his career path to art. He abandoned his doctorate and went on to receive his MFA with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Martínez Celaya is a prominent artist, who has exhibited globally. He works with a variety of media, has his own small press called Whale and Star, and has published several works of fiction, poetry, science, and philosophy.
Conversation during lunch was very open and free-flowing. Many students asked about Martínez Celaya’s decision to switch out of graduate school into art. Sharing his perspective from his own life, Martínez Celaya commented, “I am usually the only scientist among artists, and now I am the only artist among scientists.” He spoke about how it was hard to change life paths, and many people, including professors, friends, and family, struggled with accepting his change. He noted that by the time you are in graduate school, what you are studying becomes so much of your identity that it is very scary to start a new path in your life.
Graduate students extend their gratitude to the Montgomery Fellows Program for organizing these informative lunches. For more information on the Montgomery Fellows Program, visit their website here.
by Jessica Goold