Megan Kobus – From Photography to Tiger Preservation with the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies
May 1, 2012
I began RIT as a photography major in 2004. Prior to enrolling at RIT, I grew up involved heavily in the arts. I expected I would build a career in a field that was art-related. I spent my pre-college years in art classes (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.) and also took dance and music lessons. I attended a creative and performing arts high school for visual arts. High school is where I encountered photography and became passionately involved in the field. My initial career plan was to become a fashion photographer.
My pursuit of a photography career changed during my first two years at RIT. At the end of my freshman year my focus changed. I had conflicting feelings about my career path. My next decision was to participate in a co-op with a sports photography company after my second year at RIT to test the waters. After my co-op ended I decided to leave RIT. Losing my initial focus while in college made me feel like my world was falling apart. After this realization, I went on a path to discover my next focus. I never realized that it was okay to be interested in more than one thing.
For the next few years I traveled within the U.S. and tried to find myself. While living in New Mexico, I became intrigued by nature. I was taking a public speaking class at the community college in Santa Fe and I was given an assignment to write a persuasive speech. This speech changed my life. I chose to write my speech about tiger conservation. I became so inspired by tigers that I decided to take a huge chance and go back to school for biology. My new goal was to work with and help save tigers from extinction.
The following fall in 2010, I enrolled in biology classes at RIT. I chose to return to RIT to finish my Bachelors degree under the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies with concentrations in photography and biology. With my return to RIT, the tiger was a symbol of hope and inspiration for me to finish my degree in a concentration that was completely foreign to me.
Starting my new concentration in biology was a learning process. My knowledge of biology was lacking and I felt clueless. Being a biology student was extremely difficult for me initially. My entire life was spent as an artist. I felt overwhelmed being enrolled with other students who knew they wanted to be biologists and were better prepared. I was very intimidated and felt awkward. In the beginning, the process of learning biology was very slow. As I completed more and more biology classes the material became much clearer.
My Bachelors degree in Applied Arts and Sciences from CMS that I will complete in May is a perfect fit for my needs. This degree allowed me to study in two areas that I am passionate about, art and science, and it afforded me the completion of my degree in the same time period as a single major in a four year degree. After I graduate, I would like to continue being involved in both art and science. My knowledge and education in biology will aid me in obtaining a career working with tigers and other exotic cats. My education in photography from RIT has allowed me to further develop my artistic skills. I hope to be able to use my artistic talents and sell my art as a supplement to my day job of working with animals. I have completed internships working with animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and also at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester. After I graduate, I will be interning in Minnesota with lions, tigers, and leopards OH MY!