Glasses - Interview with the Student Designer

What is your name, major and year of study? 

My name is Shelden Oliver '26 and I'm a sophomore double majoring in English and Justice Studies in Pre-Law.

What brought you to UNH? 

After visiting a few times, I fell in love with the campus. I felt it was the perfect size for me. I love how close everything is while also retaining seclusion. I am from southern New Hampshire, so staying close to home was also important to me. 

How did you get involved with designing the eclipse glasses, and why was it something you wanted to take on? 

Prior to college, I was involved in art programs in high school. Senior year I took an AP drawing class, focusing on expressive realism portraits that often reflected greater ideas of the universe. One of my portraits was featured in a UNH astronomy-themed art show, through which I met Prof. John Gianforte. He took notice of my art and later on when I entered my first semester at UNH, reached out and asked if I’d be willing to illustrate the design for the 2024 eclipse glasses, to which I excitedly agreed. I was thrilled to be chosen since it’s different from the realism portraits I usually do and I saw it as a challenge to interpret into my own style. 

What was your inspiration for the design? 

I was primarily inspired by the solar eclipse itself, researching its phases, changes in daylight, and its impact on the surrounding environment. I also wanted to incorporate elements of New Hampshire to further reinforce the uniqueness of the glasses. 

Please tell us a little about your interest in astronomy. 

I dabbled in astronomy from a young age as I’ve always been drawn to the unknown. My interest began to sprout in high school as I indulged myself with more intricate concepts. I began watching documentaries, incorporating astronomy in my art and following astronomical events. I have even been able to take some astronomy-type classes! 

What are your plans for the eclipse on April 8th, 2024? 

I plan to observe the eclipse, hopefully with a telescope, and maybe even capture some pictures! 

Does art complement your choice of major, or is it entirely separate? 

My hobby in art is entirely separate from my major, although I hope to integrate it when presented with an opportunity. 

Your artwork will be distributed throughout the state to thousands of people of all ages – how does that feel? 

Thinking about the distribution of my artwork for thousands to see is pretty exciting while also a bit nerve-wracking. I hope my glasses can emphasize the significance of the eclipse while inspiring those who wear them! 

Anything else you want to add? 

My major may have no relevance to my interest in astronomy, but I will continue to find ways to express my appeal towards the matter. I hope to further my understanding of the universe, and implicate astronomy into my life as abundantly as possible!

  • Image of a woman holding solar viewing glasses.