Congratulations to WCAAD student Catherine Ruan on her acceptance to Claremont McKenna for 2021! Catherine will pursue Neuroscience and psychology.
Catherine creative journey really began early on where she attended children’s art classes as a hobby while she pursued other interest.
Years later she returned to the portfolio preparation class at West California Academy of Art and Design. Working with Catherine was always a joy in seeing her enthusiastic about all aspects of art. She was always interested in learning about her interest as well as what others were learning.
Her ideas and drive to carry them out, demonstrates a person who is willing to go to, far lengths in everything she sets out to achieve. Every project is considered and researched with care. Her genuine, spontaneous wit never disappoints, and, her desire to innovate and inspire will guide her to a bright future.
She is very determined to give projects a contemporary feel and personal voice. Even though she can be spontaneous and funny, creativity in her art reveals her honest care. Initially she was very shy and insecure with her art, to now being very active and eager to be involved with the process of art making and communication. She is willing to take risk and help others when they need help, voicing her opinions and suggestions and adding to the in-class conversation. You will never find her afraid to state her opinion when there's class discussions.
Notable achievements are going to Regionals with the school's Robotics team while maintaining her grades and taking 8 AP,s while balancing Art classes at WCAAD.
“There is art all around us and despite having drawn my whole life, it has never failed to astound me. Whether it's others' art or even my own, the ability to conjure up a story or a message in one's head and then spread it out onto a canvas of any sort is only a small part of what's so magical about art. For quite some time during my life, I drew and it felt like a chore. But as I began to become more serious about refining my skills and improving, I started to have fun again, because I was growing more confident in myself and what I can do. There is no right or wrong answer in art; there is only your hand, your heart, and your mind. I truly believe art is what you make of it. Always ask yourself what are you trying to convey? It doesn't have to be a strong message calling for justice or change. It can be a simple story. It can be nothing. It can be everything. I love art, even if I'm not majoring in it, and it's something I'll always take with me no matter where I go in the future. Have fun with art! Let yourself free!”
“My parents have always been a big influence in my life. Unlike the stereotypical Asian family where being a doctor or a lawyer when you grow up is mandatory, my parents have always supported me in whatever subject I wanted to explore Even though I still want to be in the medical field when I am in the workforce, my parents have always supported the mindset that as long as I was happy with my career, then they would be happy too.”
Catherine’s Parent Testimonial
2020 was an unusual year due to the COVID-19 which made people very depressed. On the afternoon of December 15, I suddenly heard that "I got in!" My daughter earned acceptance to her dream college: Claremont McKenna. That was really the happiest news for us in 2020. 17 years’ effort finally paid off. At a very young age my daughter showed interest in various art forms including music, chess, calligraphy and painting, but what she loved most is drawing. We sent her to learn art at West California Academy of Art and Design. Although she is busy with her studies and extracurricular activities, she takes art classes with a persistent attitude. She said she loves drawing very much and art makes her relax and happy. To her, art creation is a big joy of life. According to the Montessori, an Italian preschool educator, children learn through the work that they do, and able to move onto extensions when they complete the task. It is not adults who shape children’s future, but children who complete their own self construction, who interact with the surrounding environment and understand the environment. Children have their own personalities, and they have the beauty and dignity of creative spirit. Children's progress does not depend on their age, but on being able to freely watch everything around them, and achieve self-learning through children's inner strength. Interest is always the best teacher for children.
Claremont McKenna College, one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, prepares students to make a difference. Located on a scenic, tree-lined residential campus 30 miles east of Los Angeles, Claremont McKenna is a member of The Claremont Colleges, a seven-college consortium modeled after Oxford University. CMC students choose from more than 2,200 classes and participate in co-curricular activities with 7,000 other students at Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, and Scripps College, as well as the Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute. Students have the best of both worlds: the intimacy of a small residential college with small classes and a student-faculty ratio of nine to one, and the shared resources of a larger research university.
Many Claremont McKenna graduates go on to receive prestigious post-graduate fellowships and degrees in business, law, medicine, and many other fields. CMC alumni thrive in a wide range of careers including consulting, education, financial services, government and public policy, media and entertainment, medicine, nonprofit leadership, science, and technology. Claremont McKenna excels nationally in post-graduate job placement and satisfaction, salaries, and career success.
(By Omar Gallegos, Vice Principal and Director of Education for West California Academy of Art and Design)