NMC student Casey Ward reconstructs places of historical significance for senior thesis

By Jaycee Kalama

There is a time in every students’ collegiate career when they find their calling—something that inspires them, something that sparks their creativity, something they love. For Casey Ward, his passion project is his senior thesis.

Ward is a new media communications and digital communication arts student and is enrolled in Honors College. Ward, an Oregon State University senior, is working on his thesis project: using 3D modeling to reconstruct places of historical significance for virtual tours.

The project includes 3D modeling the attic that Henry Friedman and his family hid in in Poland during World War II, in fact, the Holocaust Center for Humanity asked to feature Ward’s work. Additionally, Ward’s thesis included two other reconstructed locations in Europe from the WWII era.

“It was a compelling challenge to combine 3D technology and history even further with my thesis project,” Ward said. “I’m extremely grateful to professor Ritzheimer and Dr. Kopperman for connecting me with Mr. Friedman. I was able to interview him at great length and have been inspired by his story and his dedication to education.”

Ward’s interest in European history began right after his high school graduation when he got the opportunity to explore sites of World War II battles on the Normandy Coast. When he came to OSU, he took world history courses in order to deepen his understanding of the subject, specifically pointing to professor Ritzheimer’s Holocaust in its History course.

“I was captivated by the drama of the events that occurred during this period and thus gravitated toward this topic when given the creative freedom to choose the setting for my class 3D projects,” Ward said.

Ward’s passion for 3D modeling began when he started taking NMC courses where he started modeling historic locations, which would later be expanded upon and become his thesis project.

“In the first few years of my NMC major, I explored a wide range of media arts, developed a strong interest in 3D modeling, and subsequently took every NMC course offered on the subject,” Ward said. “I love the raw and unlimited potential that the craft offers, and I have been eagerly pushing my limits as a 3D creator ever since I modeled my first gazebo in professor Kesterson’s introductory course.”

Ward’s passion and dedication to this project, from an array of NMC courses to his senior thesis, is a testament to the socially important work that is being done in new media communication production courses, and how student work in the major is applicable across studies, approaches and interests.

“I’m honored to be able to offer Mr. Friedman and his family a permanent space in 3D, which was born out of our interviews and manifested using skills I’ve learned as an NMC student at OSU," Ward said.