What was your greatest accomplishment during your academic career at USD?
My honors senior thesis art exhibition was definitely my greatest accomplishment during my time at USD. I had full responsibility over every aspect of this project, from the concept to the written component to the installation in the gallery. The end result became something I am extremely proud of, not only because of all the time and effort put into it, but also because I felt like I had found a way to bridge my two majors with this series of paintings. I had struggled through all four years of school with the idea that I would eventually have to choose between the two, art or psychology, but I ended up really being able to incorporate both worlds into the concept and subject matter of this series of paintings.
Tell us which faculty have challenged and inspired you and how.
My painting instructor and faculty advisor Professor John Halaka has been one of the biggest sources of challenge for me at USD. Painting is an ever-developing process, and Professor Halaka always made sure his students were not staying within a comfort zone in any phase of the process. He challenged our initial concepts, our sketches, and the decisions we made with our brushes on the canvas. I appreciate Professor Halaka as an instructor because he was always pushing us to expand our ideas and improve our skills, all while supporting our own personal directions.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After spending quite a while worrying about whether I should continue to pursue my art or my interests in psychology, I actually ended up getting accepted into a Master's program at Tufts University in Massachusetts that will allow me to do a little bit of both. It is a Child Development program with an emphasis in the Arts and Art Education, so I will be able to continue down a research path while also receiving further training in my own art practice. I am still not exactly sure what I will end up doing career-wise, but I am excited to see what opportunities this graduate program will offer.
What is the most valuable advice you received during college?
Some of the best advice I received was to choose a major that I was passionate about. At the beginning of college I didn't think I would continue to study art because I doubted its practicality. I ultimately decided I would be happier doing what I enjoyed, so I opted for the double major. It was definitely more work, but I never regretted that decision.
Where is the best view on campus?
My favorite view on campus was actually the view I had from my University Terrace Apartments (UTA) balcony. In the evening we could get some pretty terrific sunsets over Mission Bay and a perfect view of Sea World's fireworks at night—all from the comfort and convenience of USD's campus housing!
What is your favorite place to eat on campus? What do you order?
I was pretty obsessed with ordering the Greek Pita Scramble with bacon from La Paloma and smothering it with salsa. Although it was perfect for breakfast, I had a tendency to order it any other time of day too!
Where was your favorite place to study on campus?
I was always most productive studying in a nice quiet booth down in the Stacks at Copley Library.
Where can you get the best taco in San Diego?
Forget tacos! It's all about the gigantic burritos you can get at JV's right down the street. My favorite was the Del Mar burrito. It was filled with fish, shrimp, beans and cheese, and it was big enough to feed me for two or three meals!
As de los Santos prepares to start her graduate program, the College of Arts and Sciences wishes her the best of luck in her continuing education!