“What brought me to Southwestern was that I would be able to study both art and science in four years,” says Morgan Bailey, who was—not surprisingly—a studio art and biology double major.

Although Morgan didn’t actually visit the SU campus until after she was accepted, she immediately felt that “it just fit with what I was looking for in a college education.” Over the course of her time on campus, what she enjoyed the most was the small campus size. “There is truly nothing like it,” she says.

When not in the art studio or biology lab, Morgan could be found in a conference room discussing issues with the Art and Science Interdisciplinary Committee, on the lacrosse field as a member of the women’s intramural team, or a few miles off campus helping disabled children at Ride on Center for Kids (ROCK), a hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and equine facilitated learning center.

All the while, Morgan nurtured her passion for science as a research assistant and collaborator with several Southwestern professors, and her love of art as a freelance artist and figure model for other artists.

What did she learn, besides a lot of science and art stuff? To “never take yourself too seriously, but always take what you do seriously,” she says. With that in mind, Morgan says of her more recent art, “I strive to integrate scientific and artistic endeavors, which share the investigative powers of observation and evaluation.” Now that’s taking both of your passions seriously!

Because Morgan’s art has appeared in more than 20 group and solo exhibitions, and her student/faculty collaborative research on the post-translational processing of mutagenesis proteins was presented at the national meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Francisco, Calif., she can legitimately share this advice to new students—“What you put into your college experience is definitely what you get out of it.”

Southwestern helped Morgan become more open-minded and prepared her for the real world by teaching her to think critically about almost everything. 

“This campus has a way of forcing you to confront ideas, theories or beliefs that may be quite different from your own and, through good old-fashioned Southwestern contemplation, you learn how to reconcile such ideas with your own.”

Morgan is currently attending medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and is still painting “on the side” at her kitchen table turned make-shift art studio.

Doubling down 

Southwestern’s intentional, interdisciplinary and integrative approach to higher education allows students like Morgan to pursue more than one academic interest while becoming a broadly and highly educated individual. This is the value of having a broad-based, liberal arts curriculum, spanning many disciplines.