Carrie Able, Visual Arts.

While many Duke students focus on professional careers with set paychecks, senior Carrie Able decided to pursue her passion for painting. Carrie is a Visual Arts/Art History major who plans to spend the next few years painting intensively and working at a gallery or museum. Eventually she hopes to develop a portfolio and attend graduate school at Columbia or Yale. Choosing to experience life as a struggling artist was a difficult choice for someone who originally opted for Duke over art school to keep her options open. But after having her art featured in National Geographic-She recreated Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel on the Pegram Bench-and relying on painting as an emotional outlet during the course of her father's recent death, Carrie now understands the psychological necessity of art in her life.

Currently, Carrie is using oils on canvas to juxtapose realist figures with modernist backgrounds. Several of these paintings will be showcased in an exhibit in the East Campus Art Building during finals week. Peter Lasch, Carrie's independent study professor who organized the show, has inspired the senior to pursue art after graduation and believes she will be successful. Carrie hopes her art can one day inspire others to follow their interests instead of a six-figure salary.

-Lexi Richards

Jessica Knight-Walker, Dance.

As a freshman Jessica Knight-Walker was a Sociology major. It took a public policy class with professor Sheila Kerrigan to change her mind.

"The class was on community theater's purpose in changing culture and society," she explained. "I realized that my talents really lay in the realm of the arts, specifically dance, and that this would be my opportunity to change things. I realized that I could use my creative energies in collaboration with others to really make a difference in their lives."

Having taught dance classes in Chapel Hill since she was in high school, Jessica was able to design a Program II major that focused on teaching and choreography. This May, Jessica plans to teach dance full-time and introduce her choreography to as many people as possible in an effort to gain exposure.

Jessica's decision to pursue her passion for dance post-graduation was simple. "I could not sit behind a desk all day no matter what I was doing!" She acknowledges that her path is "definitely physically harder" then a typical job, and that it is also mentally challenging as well. "No matter how difficult it is, it is always worthwhile for me. I have a passion for movement, creativity and children, and I look forward to sharing that passion."

-Gillian Barnard

Danny Smith, Drama.

"When I first entered Duke I had sort of planned on becoming a doctor which is about as stable a career as you can get. Then I decided to drop it and go for acting which is about as volatile a career as you can choose," explained graduating senior Danny Smith. A Theater and English major, Danny plans to move to Chicago after graduation to pursue acting. As he describes them, his plans to break into acting are relatively standard.

"I plan to start auditioning as soon as possible, but I'll need to get a job such as bar-tending or waiting tables that will provide me with flexibility." While theater is where he wants to focus in order to grow as an actor, Danny acknowledges that Chicago is "a prime location for commercial work which pays very well."

Danny is not a stranger to the professional acting world. Last year he took his first professional acting job at the local Manbites Dog Theater Company. Despite his success he is aware of the inevitable difficulties in such an endeavor. He explains that the support of his friends and family, as well as his passion for acting motivate him.

"Acting allows me to express myself in so many different ways. Every roll that I take on is something completely brand new, and I never get bored with it.... Acting is something I can be happy doing," he said.

-Gillian Barnard