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Kristen Orr is a kindred spirit and speaking with her was incredibly fun! Kristen knew from a young age that she loved both science and art and hoped to always see them intertwined. Honest conversation with a mentor in Kristen's life opened her eyes to all that was possible at this intersection. In our conversation, Kristen chronicled her time at Rhode Island School of Design, internships in prominent museums like the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and one of a kind projects enabled by Kristen proactively reaching out to organizations. I love Kristen's encouragement to seek out the quiet but mighty voice in our gut as we move toward our calling. Kristen and I speak about Kristen's recent transition back to school for a graduate degree in biology and the intentionality to find a program that was her best fit. We celebrated the importance of universal design as well as the applicability / value-add of Kristen's artistic skillset to the scientific/academic space. From sketching ants as a child to commissioned bug-based works for Wilson, Kristen's journey to-date exhibits tremendous curiosity, openness, and sincere appreciation for the world around us. We concluded our conversation playing a game Kristen invented to explore new types of collaboration, and I cannot wait to hear about the new professions and companies that form as a result of the brainstorms Kristen creates. Listen-in to learn more about Kristen and Kristen's multi-faceted work!

For more on Kristen Orr and her work, visit @kristenorrr on Instagram.

Interview with Kristen Orr, Artist, Designer, Biologist, on July 2, 2021. Opinions expressed and conversations are my own and not those of my employer or the university I attend.

Video editing: Angela Salvatore

Contents of this video:
00:00 Intro
00:40 211 Cafe
01:35 Loves of art + science at Kristen’s core and along her academic path in industrial design
08:46 The RISD Nature Lab + cultivating your global curriculum
10:48 Exhibit design snippets from Providence Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History, + Smithsonian Exhibits
14:35 Exhibit design as an educational tool + emphasis on universal design
16:44 The “Power of Poison” mystery boxes
18:58 Color cabinets at the RISD Nature Lab that shift classification perspectives + accessibility
21:48 Designs for Takoma Park Nature Lab + *hopefully* wallpaper in our future!
27:07 Kristen’s personal projects and artistic collaborations
33:15 What’s a zine?
35:41 Back to school for Kristen! Where + why + seeking out the quiet but mighty voice in your gut
41:46 Using both skillsets in Kristen’s degree and life - A special project with Wilson, gouache illustrations of Manakin genomes, a photoshop rendering of the Sylvan Heights Bird Park, + citizen-science data on chimney swifts!
51:05 Design as physically enabling solutions made by all of us
55:04 Support for + affirmation of all people with multiple interests; reach out + embrace DIY, be silly! You never leave behind a past experience’s value
58:50 Last remarks + a collaboration game invented by Kristen!
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