In elementary school, art class is the one place where everything is possible. At least it was for Lian “Lili” Lash-Rosenberg ’16, a biomedical engineer at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering whose love of making things was cultivated from an early age by her mother and elementary school art teachers.
Lash-Rosenberg continued to pursue her interest in high school, where she took courses in studio art. She was convinced that she wanted to keep doing art even though she had decided to pursue a career in engineering.
“Growing up, I found math and science to be captivating, while simultaneously harboring a love for art projects and the chance to use the craft skills I had learned,” Lash-Rosenberg said. “I knew from the start of my college application process that I wanted to study all three.”
So she came to USC Viterbi, where she combined her biomedical engineering degree with a minor in sculpture. While many people might find this combination unusual, as art and science are often perceived as two opposite fields, Lash-Rosenberg believes that both disciplines complement each other.
Engineering has allowed her to apply the principles of science and math to the aesthetic design of products. Moreover, many of the technical skills she’s learned as an art minor, such as 3-D printing, woodshop and soldering, have come in handy while developing her engineering projects.
One of my engineering projects consisted of building an electric guitar.
“One of my engineering projects consisted of building an electric guitar,” Lash-Rosenberg said. “Having already learned to apply my woodshop abilities to my artwork, creating an electric guitar was not a daunting task.”
Her exploration of the connection between science and art also led her to join Corpus Callosum, the executive board of student organization that she has led as president. The club brings together students from diverse backgrounds with the goal of creating artwork using science, technology, engineering and math.
“Corpus Callosum has provided me and many other students with the resources needed to pursue projects we did not think were possible,” Lash-Rosenberg said. “For instance, we have designed an LED shirt that creates a flashing pattern to match the wearer’s heartbeat on a computer program.”
While Lash-Rosenberg plans to pursue a master’s in mechanical engineering, she also wants to continue producing art. In her opinion, her simultaneous pursuit of engineering and sculpture given her the chance of participating in interesting projects, and it has also contributed to her personal growth.
“I certainly plan to continue to make art,” she said. “It is definitely something I really enjoy — learning more and more precise machining skills from engineering also pushes the limit of what I can create in sculpture.”