Meet Katie Schuler – Luce Scholar, 2014-2015

Katie Schuler - Luce Scholar
July 02, 2014

The Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research congratulates Katie Schuler!

Katie, an alumna of the Corcoran College of Art and Design and a George Washington University Luce nominee, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Luce Scholars Program for 2014-2015. Founded by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship that fosters an understanding of Asia among future leaders in the United States and offers their fellows to fully customize their work in Asia.

 

Katie is eager to take her special brand of environmental storytelling on the road to Asia. An acclaimed visual storyteller, Katie describes herself as “part artist, part photographer, part educator, and part naturalist,” and plans on spending her Luce year collaborating with the Institute of Marine Sciences at Silliman University in the Philippine city of Dumaguete.

 

The Philippines play a vital role in the future of marine conservation, as it sits in the center of a region know as the Coral Triangle. Sometimes referred to as the “Amazon of the Ocean”, the Coral Triangle is home to the highest marine biodiversity on the planet.  And while the Philippines alone contains over twelve hundred marine protected areas, 90 percent are managed ineffectively or simply not managed at all. Katie hopes to spend time with the fishermen, scientists, and government officials who have vested interests in the health of the ocean so she can better understand these efforts, tell stories of unsung hero’s in marine conservation and explore new and exciting scientific discoveries.

 

Katie explains that good storytelling doesn’t end when the credits roll; it should move people well after they’ve left the theater. Through this type of transformative storytelling, Katie hopes to inspire environmental stewardship and empower communities to consider the long-term impact that non-sustainable fishing and other human activities have on the coastal reefs. Not only to conserve the species and creatures that inhabit them, but for sustainable food security and livelihoods within a community.

 

Katie’s previous background lends itself ideally to the projects she will undertake in her Luce year as her portfolio already includes work done for, or in collaboration with National Geographic, The Smithsonian Institute, Conservation International, Woods Hole Oceanographic and PBS. Katie has also already visited fifteen countries on six continents to depict wildlife in their natural habitats, and is well prepared for another year abroad.  A recipient of the prestigious Koenig Trust Scholarship, some her most recent works include: “Frame of Mind: Haiti”,a 5-day photojournalism workshop with 26 Haitian youth, “Sea Spirits”, an art exhibit featuring life size endangered sea animals and “Andy the Anglerfish” the adventures of a not-so-lucky anglerfish in the deep sea, (nominated for “Best Children’s Film” and “Best Animation” in the Blue Ocean Film Festival, 2012).

 

In addition to her professional partnerships supported by the Luce Foundation, Katie will undergo two months of intensive language training in the Philippines where she will learn Cebuano (a dialect spoken by the fisherfolk in the central Philippine islands). She can also look forward to three meetings with her fellow scholars throughout the year including an orientation in San Francisco and trips to Thailand, and Indonesia.

 

Katie is also very excited to launch her newest venture, Coral & Oak studios, which will house a special team dedicated to empowering stewardship of the natural world through various media such as video, photography, illustration and outreach programs.  Throughout her Luce year, Katie plans to post a blog on her website to keep readers up to date with her adventures and stories.  If you’d like to see her work and follow her exploits in the Philippines, you can visit her company’s website at coralandoak.com