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Art-Science Integration (ArtSci)

What is the ambitious goal of this project?

Our ambitious goal is to integrate scientific and artistic ways of exploring the world.

Though typically viewed as separate disciplines, art and science share conceptual foundations. Each field requires scholars to observe patterns in the world and communicate them, suggesting that distinct benefits can emerge from leveraging these fields’ shared features.

In the Art-Science Integration VIP, students will bridge the divide between these disciplines by learning artistic techniques (e.g., painting, movement) and participate in research being conducted by faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate-level STEM mentors in order to communicate that research and unite these modes of inquiry.

Through the intersection of STEM course material and artistic media, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty will strengthen science literacy, creative communication, and critical thinking skills. Each semester will focus on a different theme that unites several campus research labs and will culminate in an annual public exhibition, in which students will share their art and BSU science with diverse audiences in our broader community. In Fall 2023, our artistic focus will be painting and illustration, and our uniting scientific theme will be “Adaptations.” Students will integrate into campus research focused on the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape adaptations both across species and among populations, while developing skills in mixed media, painting, digital illustration, and observational drawing.

Experience Gained

By the end of each semester, students will learn to:

  • Compare and contrast artistic and scientific modes of inquiry.
  • Evaluate and explore STEM concepts using both empirical and creative approaches.
  • Design visual art that effectively communicates scientific research produced at Boise State.

Methodologies and/or Technologies used to achieve project goals

  • Design thinking
  • Artistic inquiry
  • Scientific method

Majors or Interests Needed


VIP Coach Information

Dr. Allison Simler-Williamson (Biological Sciences) studies the impacts of global change on plant populations and emerging diseases. She earned a B.A. in Studio Art, worked as an arts educator at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, and has diverse experience creating art for science audiences, including works for the PLOS journal, the Jepson Herbarium at UC Berkeley, and a children’s book about eelgrass ecosystems.

Dr. Stephanie Galla (Biological Sciences) is an avian biologist who uses DNA to better understand and manage birds in a changing world. She teaches science communication (EEB604) and is a practitioner in science illustration, graphic design, and multi-media sculpture.

Dr. Megan Cattau (Human-Environment Systems) holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and is a practicing aerial dancer and the Artistic Director of the movement arts company Flight Collaborative. She recently directed SciDance, a performance of earth science research, and is the Co-Artistic Director for UNFIX NYC, an annual NYC-based festival that aims to create an awareness of ecology through multimedia arts.

Dr. Sarah Dalrymple (Biological Sciences) is a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences. She previously taught, developed curriculum, and coordinated installations for the University of California Davis’ “Art-Science Fusion” undergraduate course series.

This VIP has been developed as a part of an COAS Innovation Grant, which was codeveloped by scholars within the arts and sciences to produced transformative work. Guest lecturers from the arts will participate in this VIP, and the final showcase in the Spring.

Course Information

VIP  200, VIP 400 or VIP 500
Full semester course. Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits.

Interested in joining this team?

For more information and to request a permission number to register, contact any of the VIP coaches listed here:

You can also complete this interest form and someone will contact you. Check out this page for tips on contacting a professor.

To register

To register search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, read the project description to find the right section of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions Add with a permission number