For a world that’s eager to digest complex stories in a succinct, well-designed image, we have Tim Meko, an award-winning graphic reporter who is deputy graphics director at the Washington Post. He uses data, design and code to distill the most complicated information into decipherable and often stunning visuals.
The 2006 Transylvania University graduate will return to campus Thursday, Jan. 31, for a free, public talk on data visualization and the liberal arts at 7:30 p.m. in Carrick Theater.
This Creative Intelligence event coincides with the university’s Morlan Gallery “Data, Mine” exhibition. The show, which will run Jan. 16-Feb. 19, will feature the works of nationally renowned data visualization artists Hasan Elahi and Laurie Frick. Continuing with this theme, Transylvania will present Medical Application of Data and 3D Digital Elements on Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Carrick Theater.
These events are supported by Transylvania’s new Digital Liberal Arts initiative, which teaches students how digital technologies affect the world of today and tomorrow.
Meko draws from his liberal arts education on the job. “More than anything,” he explains, “Transy taught me how to learn. That’s a skill I use every single day, as I switch from mapping the Rohingya crisis in Burma to diagramming how climate change and wildfires can lead to mudslides in California.”
He describes how the job requires him to become an instant expert, to determine what is most essential and then to communicate it clearly and creatively. “Without Transy’s liberal arts focus,” Meko explains, “I would not have the depth or breadth of subject expertise or the ability to solve problems with the flexibility and creativity that I have now.”
The Russell, Kentucky, native had the freedom to design his own major at Transy, blending creative coding and art with communications courses. After graduating with a B.A. in digital imaging and application design (minoring in studio art and computer science), Meko earned a master’s from Ohio University, specializing in information graphics and publication design.
Transy helped him develop book smarts, says Meko, “but more importantly, it taught me how to embrace the unknown and seek truth in the world. Transy also provided me a rock-solid foundation in how to solve problems and express myself through writing, physical art and digital code.”
Meko credits professors in a variety of fields for helping him over the hurdles. “They pushed me creatively and challenged me to think in ways I never had before,” he remembers. “Among many others, it’s these relationships that really helped supercharge my education at Transy, and I’m incredibly grateful.”