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“The Sun Also Rises”

Financial aid is helping Louie Zong, E13, accomplish not just one dream, but three

Financial aid is helping Louie Zong, E13, accomplish not just one dream, but three. The soft-spoken student from the Utica, New York, area, is enjoying a multitrack undergraduate experience, majoring in civil engineering, minoring in studio art—he’s a cartoonist for the Tufts Daily—and performing jazz piano.

“It’s been a terrific experience,” he says. “Tufts, and the financial aid I’ve received, have enabled me to experience all the facets of the things I enjoy—it’s a great place and in a great city—it’s got it all. “

He was drawn to the School of Engineering because he’s been fascinated since he was a child with anything to do with transit systems. Since arriving at Tufts he also has heeded his own natural artistic gifts.

“I never took an art class before Tufts,” he says. He has taken classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in animation, children’s book illustration, and comic book art. Skilled at merging graphic design and type, he digitally illustrated a children’s book written by fellow students. (See samples of his work online at http://louiezong.daportfolio.com.)

His aesthetic—and voice—emerges through his cartoons. One project is a webcomic/cartoon series called “The Sun Also Rises.” The Tufts Daily also runs his editorial cartoon once a week and his comic strip three days a week.

His aesthetic—and voice—emerges through his cartoons. One project is a webcomic/cartoon series called “The Sun Also Rises.” The Tufts Daily also runs his editorial cartoon once a week and his comic strip three days a week.

“It’s a slice of life sort of cartoon, like Calvin and Hobbes, but a bit less philosophical,” he says. “On occasion I see art as a release from engineering, but just as often, I believe art and engineering are connected: I am a visual thinker, and art allows me to convey what’s in my mind more easily.”

Then there is piano. He has played with the Tufts Jazz Orchestra (formerly the Big Band) and performed in small jazz groups.

Recently he got together with friends to form a trio to play “Sinatra type” music in local clubs.

Does he see some overlap in the innovative, experimental approach to both engineering and jazz?

“They use the same kind of mindset,” he says. “You’re thinking on your feet to solve a problem.”

Louie has kept a close eye on expenses while attending college. Part-time and summer jobs have included working as an arts-and-crafts coordinator at a daycare center in Arlington and painting houses.

With both parents working in academia and with a younger brother, only a generous financial aid package would have made it possible for him to attend Tufts.

For that reason, he says, he is profoundly grateful for his scholarship. “It’s completely accurate to say that I would not be here without this generous gift,” he says.