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Sujata Murty (IAC 05, IAA 05-08) studied voice at Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy. She is one of our young alumni volunteers and has returned to Interlochen to speak to students in the R.B. Annis Math/Science Department.
Briefly describe your current job and career path.
I am an assistant professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York. I teach undergraduate and graduate classes on climate and environmental science. I also conduct research focused on using corals and ocean models to understand past, present, and future changes in climate and ocean systems. To better communicate my research, I often pursue art-science outreach projects, including videos, museum exhibits and art galleries.
What’s your Interlochen Story?
I first became interested in Interlochen Arts Academy as a freshman in high school after attending the Interlochen Arts Camp. I attended IAA for three years as a voice major, gaining valuable skills in performance, communication, and expression that I continue to use professionally to this day. I also fell in love with the sciences at Interlochen, realizing my love for environmental science in large part through several opportunities provided by the Math/Science department. From these experiences, I found my passion for oceanography, climate science, and art-science collaborations which has propelled me to where I am today.
Why do you give back to Interlochen today?
The years I spent at Interlochen were filled with moments of inspiration, creativity, and dedication, bringing together people with diverse interests to collaborate with and learn from each other. It’s my honor to give back to Interlochen to help students see that pursuing a career outside of the arts doesn’t need to mean stepping away from the arts all together. I want to give back to share with students all of the ways we can bring the arts and sciences together to inspire the world.
What would you say to alumni who are thinking about ways to give back?
Giving back to Interlochen in-person and virtually has been a rewarding experience. I am constantly thinking about ways to engage with the Interlochen community and look forward to every opportunity I have to do so. The creativity that fuels Interlochen extends to alumni engagement, which has made giving back creative, interesting, and fun!
Why does art matter in our world today?
The universal language of the arts has the power to bring people together, to educate and to empower. In an ever-changing and complex world, art has never been so important in connecting us. As I continue in my scientific career, I continue to find that art-science collaborations are critical to better communicate climate science and motivate people to respond to our changing world. In connecting us all, art has the power to change the world.
What advice would you give current or prospective Interlochen students?
You have a fantastic opportunity right now to explore not only your art, but also how it intersects with the world. Try to keep an open mind to what the future has in store and where your time at Interlochen may lead. Be bold and have fun finding new ways to use your art to reach out to the world, whether it be through art-science collaborations or something else. There is amazing power within the arts to connect and inspire. Embrace opportunities to do so.
Sujata received her Ph.D. from Nanyang Technological University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her research focuses on past changes in ocean and climate systems.