Graduation gifts

Over the past several weeks I’ve been building gifts to thank various people of my university for the role they’ve played in my undergraduate education at Washington University in St. Louis. The past four years have been an intellectually stimulating journey in my study of arts and sciences and the biology major. At the same time, college saw the boom in my Lego hobby, and I am happy to have employed my experience in building to create these tokens of thanks for the people at my school.

This DNA sculpture park was made for my research mentor, whom I had the privilege of working in his genetics lab for three and a half years. The DNA helix codes for a secret message, which can be solved with some knowledge of molecular biology.

The pirate ship was made for my residential college director whom I’ve known since freshman year. This creation was my foray into building the pirate theme, and it was by a miracle that I discovered the resemblance of white windscreen pieces to sails. The exercise vignette was for my physiology professor, who really cared for her students and made a point to drill it into our young minds to exercise and take care of our bodies. Her quote engraved on the vignette got me back into running this year.

The DNA vignette was also given to my research mentor, and it was for the special occasion on his 60th birthday last week. The spiral effect achieved with Bionicle claws contines to be a hit; the effect of this technique far overshadows its simplicity. The vignette of the green ball is a gift for my behavioral ecology professor, one of the funniest and liveliest faculty at the school. I’ve compared attending his classes to watching stand-up comedy, and I hoped to have captured this liveliness in a video showing the motion and sound effects of the creation.

This depiction of our school’s landmark, Brooking’s Hall, is a gift for my super friendly and resourceful four-year adviser. The build uses the medium dark flesh color from the Prince of Persia sets, and the rarity of the colors reflected the $100+ pricetag on my Bricklink orders. The creation is also my first attempt at building an architectural replica, which I am quite happy for the push to expand my building repertoire.

This fantasy aircraft is for my lab bench mentor, who taught me the skills of DNA manipulation and the etiquette of research. I’ve never built an aircraft like this, but knowing his interest in hobby planes, I couldn’t think of anything better to make.

I presented the last of these gifts yesterday, and I am truly flattered by the responses. Each recipient, with the exception of my research mentor, have voluntarily told me the specific place where the gift will be displayed for a long time to come. In the case of my research mentor, I saw the creation on the windowsill of his office the next day I came to lab. From this, I learned that Lego is truly a special medium.

Today I graduated from college. My next step in life is to apply for medical school, and I’ll be taking a year off to work close to home. Thus, this break from my studies roughly translates into an obscene amount of time to build in the upcoming year.

9 comments on “Graduation gifts

  1. Daedalus

    What a great idea, not to mention generous. And congrats!
    Looking forward to seeing the results of your new-found time. :D

  2. Starwars4J

    Congratulations again, even though I’d bet none of them are AFOLs, I’m sure each appreciates the thought, time, and creativity that went into making them.

  3. matt

    Congrats on your graduation. These were great ideas and you executed them fantastically. They remind me of lego con trophies but for teachers. Applying to medical school? Then I’d say, get your building time in while you still can, because you won’t have time for it later! (speaking from experience – I’m finishing med school this year). Good luck with everything, and great job on the models.

  4. Alex Fojtik

    Those are some rad gifts, man. Congrats on the graduation and good luck with med school. You certainly haven’t chosen a path of ease. Look forward to the increased LEGO production =).

  5. Nannan Post author

    Thanks everyone!

    Matt: I never knew you were a med student, you’re the second person to let me know that after I posted these creations. I wonder how many other AFOLs are on that path.

  6. lego911

    Congratulations Nannan!

    They are some beautiful models to share as gifts. Graduating university is a very special time.

    Welcome to the big bad world!!

    I hope you get a job/further study that allows you to continue to hone your craft.

Comments are closed.