Art was not something that Bianca DiGiovanni thought she would create when she decided to pursue an engineering degree, but when the civil and environmental engineering department offered a drawing class in combination with the Lewis Center for the Arts, she decided to give it a try.

“I thought maybe I would find out I was a brilliant artist,” DiGiovanni, a sophomore, said with a laugh. “I found out otherwise, but I did learn a lot.”

Drawing sessions for engineering students began this year after Sigrid Adriaenssens, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, reached out to visual artists Eve Aschheim and Nathan Carter at the Lewis Center, who agreed to offer drawing sessions to students in the “Mechanics of Solids” class. Adriaenssens had taken drawing as part of the engineering program as an undergraduate at the University of Bath, and she believes that drawing stimulates thinking in a different way than mathematics or language.

“When you draw, it is an extension of your mind,” she said. “It is another way to generate ideas.”

The drawing sessions are not required for the course, but they will probably help with the notebooks in which students are required to record their design experiences that are part of the “Mechanics of Solids” class.

“It definitely gave me more confidence in drawing,” DiGiovanni said. “There has to be an aesthetic in engineering, a way to connect from the science to the application.”


  • Sigrid Adriaenssens