Two Johns Hopkins University master's students, two staff members, a first-year chemical engineering major and other JHU community members sit around a conference table in Levering Hall. Each come with a bag of supplies—tools necessary for succeeding in the class.
Their instructor, a JHU engineering alumna, walks to the white board and writes the title of the course. With mirrors, makeup, and a professional brush set in hand, the class members get to work.
Students learn makeup application and color knowledge in "Basics of Beauty." The personal enrichment Intersession course allows participants to embrace the "educated way" to apply makeup, said Rachel Lew, who has taught the class for a few years.
"Having this kind of chance to … be able to recharge from the difficult academics is definitely great," said Lew, who took Intersession courses when she was an undergrad.
The class attracted students with beginning knowledge of makeup. They learned about skin and face basics in the first class meeting, and about colors for the lips and eyes in the second.
Sanitized color palettes were available for students who do not have their own. Class participants were encouraged to try new techniques and play with different trends.
Maria Elena Grimmett, a first-year chemical engineering major, said she took the class because she is passionate about makeup but does not feel she applies it correctly.
"I'm definitely more geared toward STEM normally," Grimmett said. "This is a chance to do something totally different. I thought of it kind of as a way to mix things up."
Lew used the white board to illustrate where to apply certain shades of eyeshadows for a natural or a dramatic look. Then she walked around to each student and gave individual attention to their different features, skins tones, and preferences.
Christine Yu and Vanessa Guarnizo took the class together. They are master's students studying biomedical engineering. Both said that they did not have much makeup experience but felt the course would encourage them to use products they already have.
An added benefit, they said, is the class' stress-free atmosphere.
"I feel like I am rejuvenated after break and ready to start rigorous stuff," Guarnizo said. "It's nice, it's relaxing, and you learn a lot."