Visualizing the Human Lifespan
April 28, 2011
Social Work Program students in two University Campus classes with Dr. Veronika Ospina-Kammerer, along with members of the student Social Work Club, have given a new dimension to the traditional human life-cycle diagram used in many courses.
The human life cycle refers to the lifespan of a person, from prenatal influences and events, to childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age, and death. The cycle is often depicted in diagrams, but also in outlines or text. However, Dr. Ospina-Kammerer–– affectionately known among students as Dr. VOK––challenged her students to use the craft of quilting to communicate the concept. Each student was responsible for creating one to four squares to highlight a life stage or key influences at a particular stage. Dr. VOK was inspired by the example of an agency in Florida that created quilts in memory of individuals who had died of AIDS.
Employing the craft of quilting in classes, she decided, would tap into students’ creative juices and visual-learning mechanisms, and perhaps stimulate new ways of thinking about the life cycle concept. And in the end, the assembled quilt serves as an educational tool for a broad audience. A piece bearing the Saint Leo University logo occupies a corner of the quilt. The quilt squares were sewn together by a local business, Quilts on Plum Lane in DadeCity.