A Lost Connection: Senior Thesis Project

Raised: 17%
Goal: 100%

Created by

Melanie Mencarelli

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I'm a senior at Parsons The New School for Design, and for my year long thesis project I'm investigating the lost connection with spirituality and the natural world. I beli... more


Updated posted by Melanie Mencarelli 11 months ago

I wanted to thank you all for the support I've received this year. I've grown tremendously with my thesis and am so thankful for all the kind words that have been shared with me.

Now with my thesis finally done, and my upcoming graduation (next Thursday!!), I wanted to share my final project with you all.

My experience in Costa Rica was indescribable and it informed me in the language and overall tone of my thesis project. I was able to interview Jonathon, an ethnobotanist in Costa Rica who ran the retreat, and speak with the shamans that were there. I made connections with two other members on the retreat, and I was able to interview them when I returned to the city. I'm positive that I was meant to travel to Costa Rica for a reason.

My final thesis project can be see at www.awakentheconnection.com. I created a series of video interviews with those who believe in the lost connection, and the methods they use to reconnect in order to inspire others and bring attention to this issue. The website acts as a way to host these interviews in addition to being a launching pad for others who are also interested in the lost connection with the resources that I recommend that have helped me along my journey thus far.

Check out the website at www.awakentheconnection.com, or watch my thesis trailer here ( https://vimeo.com/64530903) that sums up everything that I've done.

I will be sending out your donation gifts by next week! Expect a little gift of appreciation in your inbox or mailbox soon :)

Thanks to you all. I appreciate your support so much.

With warmth,


Updated posted by Melanie Mencarelli 14 months ago

I have finally returned from my trip to Costa Rica. I prepared so much and awaited in anticipation for the day to arrive. Now that I have been there and back I know I could not have prepared for the beauty, love and wonderful traditions that I was able to take part of during my stay.

I was able to record and capture some beautiful moments, but most importantly, I was able to experience, first-hand a community so deeply rooted in love for oneself, others, and nature, that I have been full of inspiration and happiness since I've left. It truly was a life changing experience, and I really couldn't be more thankful to all of you who supported me.

I cannot wait to share my final thesis project with you all, I hope it inspires you to look within yourself and start your own journey of reconnection.

With love,


Updated posted by Melanie Mencarelli 15 months ago

Thanks so much for everyone's support so far! I'm currently running around the city with my head cut off trying to get the final pieces together in time to leave for my flight on Monday!

Thank you so much for your kind words, I get so happy knowing that my message is reaching out to you guys.



Created by Melanie Mencarelli on November 17, 2012

I'm a senior at Parsons The New School for Design, and for my year long thesis project I'm investigating the lost connection with spirituality and the natural world.

I believe that our culture makes people think that material things make us happy. That if you go through the motions of attaining a well paid job, and if your place is filled with nice looking things, then you've succeeded, and you're supposed to feel happiness. As a result, I think we've lost a connection with ourselves and with nature, evidenced by global decimation, decreasing cultural diversity, and a culture that relies on chemical means for happiness.

Final Project

I'm hoping to create an exhibition in Parsons' Thesis Show that the sole purpose is when people leave, they come away with an understanding that there might be something missing from their lives and start to question, even if it’s just moment, that there’s something more. I hope that my project is the spark for people to lead a more spiritual life. Through different mediums and perspectives, I’d like to break open the heads of my audience.



I'd like to create 5 or so interviews of people's experiences with spirituality and their personal journey to showcase the different ways people work towards the same goal, leading a spiritual lifestyle. Ranges from topics like shamanism, religion, ethnobotany, meditation, and drug use.

Interactive Print Piece   https://vimeo.com/55344895

I'd like to create a piece to make people stop & focus on a particular perspective.

Sensorial Experience Design

I'd like to create an experiential design piece, with 2 one-person pods that transport the user through the use of sound, smell, visuals and manipulation of surroundings and help give contrast to an extreme example of our Western material culture, and of one unplugged, uncharted, and free.

Web Design

I will be creating a site for the audio and video interviews to live. People can explore these stories on their own and inspire their own journey.

Personal Blog  www.alostconnection.tumblr.com

A place where I can share my inspiration, troubles, thoughts and worries about this project and personal journey!

What Will Your Donation Help With?

Guaria De Osa Retreat (11 days, 10 nights in Costa Rica) - $2200

Roundtrip flight to San Jose, Costa Rica - $541.07

Roundtrip flight from San Jose to Osa Peninsula - $275

Hotel stay & taxi first night in San Jose before retreat - $70

Donation to Secoyan Curanderos (healers) to help support their families - $100

Portable Digital Recorder (to record audio interviews and sounds of the rainforest for project) - $100


This project is my chance at delving within myself, exploring and learning about a topic that I'm really passionate about, while bringing the findings to you. I'm hoping to inspire someone to reach within themselves, and start a journey that I think would benefit a lot of people. 

Why not?


Feel free to follow my progress at  http://alostconnectionthesis.tumblr.com/

where I'll be uploading my inspiration, design process, sketches and thoughts about my project!



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Recent Donations (9)

17% raised by 9 people in 17 months.



14 months ago

$35 Pledge


Nancy Wynn

15 months ago


Mel, you are on your journey as I am writing this. I hope it will be an inspirational and spiritual journey with new discoveries every day. I look forward to hearing, listening and seeing your work when you return. Great project!

$10 Pledge


Deborah Gruber

15 months ago




15 months ago




15 months ago

$10 Pledge


Lesley Sakinah

16 months ago


Melanie!! So glad you was able to start a fund for your wonderful project. Like always i value your presence and wish you all the success and greatness with your trip to Costa Rica and future projects =)




16 months ago




16 months ago

$10 Pledge


Jordan Kallenbach

16 months ago


I wish I could give more and wish you the best on your journey. I enjoyed the video and think you are doing really great work and support your trip and work, keep it up!


1-9 of 9 donations


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