Hailing from Atlanta, Ga., Daniel Oberti is a biology and studio art double major with a minor in chemistry.
Arriving at Wake Forest as a Presidential Scholar recognized for his exemplary sculpture work as an artist in high school, Oberti was initially required to take art classes. However, his passion for art led him to pursue studio art as a major.
“Once I started taking the studio classes, I realized how much I needed them to keep stress down,” said Oberti. “There was no way I was going to give them up.”
Oberti branched out from his prior concentration in sculpture and earned a double concentration in both sculpture and printmaking, taking at least three classes in each of these artistic disciplines.
“I was so afraid of 2-D art coming into college because I had never done drawing [or] printmaking,” said Oberti. “Printmaking is like 2-D art but there’s so much working with your hands involved, and that’s what I love to do.”
Oberti recalled one of his favorite projects — the creation of gigantic, red letters that spelled ADHD as a sculpture outside of the library for his public art course in the fall of his junior year.
“Those were really fun, and they were the premonition to the Not Alone sign I did for Mental Health Week [this year],” he said.
Professor David Finn remarked on the profound impact of Oberti’s artwork that highlighted prominent issues to the Wake Forest community.
“Daniel is not afraid to speak his mind and use art to start a deeper conversation,” Finn said. “I admire his vocal support of mental health, and the way his big letter artworks ‘ADHD’ and ‘#NOT ALONE’ brought the issues on to public attention on campus.”
Managing his time creating artwork with his coursework as a double major in biology, Oberti has also spent a lot of time in lab at Wake Downtown.
Biology professor Gloria Muday commented on Oberti’s interdisciplinary approach to liberal arts education and his application of an artistic approach to his scientific studies.
“Daniel has used his artist’s perspective in his biology research,” Muday said. “He uses a microscope, instead of more traditional artistic media, to capture beautiful images of plant anatomy, revealing new insight into the relationship between plant form and their underlying biochemistry.”
Oberti has also been involved in Student Government since second semester of sophomore year and was recently the Chief of Staff. Oberti has also been a tour guide since freshman year, and he became an executive member during his junior year.
In his extracurricular commitments, Oberti has also demonstrated artistic leadership. Since the second semester of his sophomore year, Oberti has been involved with the Refugee Art Therapy group, in which he traveled frequently to local mosques or the YMCA to play and craft with the kids while their parents attended ESL classes.
Looking back on his four years as an undergraduate, Oberti commented on his involvement in the Wake Forest community.
“I don’t think I’ve left anything unfinished here,” said Oberti. “I think I’ve made the most of every opportunity I could.”
Oberti commented on how he will continue to give back to the Wake Forest community through his artistic talents and position as the Wake Downtown fellow for next year.
“I think they want me to help incorporate public art into Wake Downtown,” Oberti said. “I’m very excited, and there are a lot of big white walls that they could use for some murals.”
After his year as a Wake Downtown Fellow, Oberti also expressed that he eventually wants to attend dental school and pursue orthodontics, although he will include some form of art in his future plans.
“I will definitely try to keep up art in my life, no matter what, because there’s no way I’d be able to stay sane if I don’t — it’s too big a part of who I am now,” said Oberti.