Majoring in Creativity: Benn Lam
As a double major in Engineering Science and Studio Art, Benn Lam has a strong artistic side that has found expression all over campus.
“I see myself as a creative person,” says Benn, a junior. “I always want to create something new.”
As a freshman in the Undergraduate College of Arts, Culture and Humanities, Benn joined Stony Brook’s Fine Art organization, a group that organizes an annual art show in the SAC ballroom called MAMA (Modern Art for Modern Artists). From there he quickly found a home with Rock Yo Face, a student-run live music venue in the University Café. He’s been working with them for two years.
“I design and create posters and giveaways for the shows,” Benn says. “Last year we had a theme for each show, such as New York City culture night. I made posters and spray-painted tote bags to give out.”
With the support of his peers at Rock Yo Face, Benn began experimenting in contemporary digital art and now plans to add Digital Art as a minor. He found out earlier this year that Undergraduate Student Government needed a graphic designer and was encouraged by his friends to apply.
“They tried me out in the position by letting me design the poster for last year’s Wiz Khalifa concert,” Benn explains. “After that I was hired.”
Benn’s creativity doesn’t end there. As an RA this year in Hand College, Benn not only gets to interact with other students and lead them in campus activities, he also gets to cook – one of his favorite creative outlets.
The challenge of being a commuter student – without a car – in his first year has probably done more to motivate Benn to be involved in Stony Brook life than anything else. He remembers riding his bike to school through snow, rain and bitter wind to attend an early-morning physics class taught by Professor Thomas Hemmick. The class was a prerequisite for admission to the College of Engineering.
“I loved that class,” he says. “The topic is definitely challenging, but he is so animated. It was one of the best classes I’ve had at Stony Brook.”
In addition to his coursework and activities, Benn is currently a TA in ACH 101, working with the instructor he had when he took the class. And he still rides a bike around campus and to stores. But Benn is not complaining.
“It’s all been great,” he says.
By Toby Speed; photo by John Griffin