Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
The University of Texas at Austin M.A. in Art Education has three focuses — school, museum and community cultural development. UT is the only school I know of that offers an art education program that addresses the emerging field of community development. After teaching five years in a public school my perspective on learning and the arts shifted. I think the most engaging things happening in the arts are coming from grassroots organizations rather than institutions — so finding a program relevant to this movement was really exciting for me.
What’s your dream job after graduation?
I see-saw between doing art programming for a cultural organization or museum, and immersing myself in the social/cultural sides of art in the community … or strapping on an apron with primary colored handprints and teaching 6-year-olds to wedge clay. I guess I’ll see where the winds take me.
If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?
I have a sweet spot for the Mediterranean region. They have an art for living that is inspiring. I also have an Italian heritage — my grandfather was born in Naples — so perhaps that’s part of the intrigue.
What music are you listening to?
I gravitate towards anything with a strong beat: Latin, African, Rap, Hip-Hop, Electronic, and some Pop. I appreciate all genres, and occasionally have a craving for Rock, Country or Classical … but my default is always something that makes me want to dance.
What are your favorite Web sites? Why?
I guess the site I enjoy visiting most is my teaching blog: This Brazen Teacher. I started writing four years ago, while I was teaching K-4 Art in Ohio. Not many people know that half of new teachers quit within five years of entering the profession. There are many reasons for that statistic — but in summary — my blog became my life raft during those rocky years. I finally broke my anonymity this past year. Prior, not even my parents or close friends read it. I’m still working to get over my nervousness letting people read things I write.
What’s your pick: Tex-Mex or Texas barbecue?
Until someone creates a vegetarian Texas barbecue, I guess Tex-Mex it is!
Where are your favorite places to go in Austin? What are your favorite things to do in Austin?
I’ve had a lot of visitors since moving here — and my favorite agenda is taking them paddle boarding on Town Lake, a trip to Daily Juice, and then an afternoon at Barton Springs. This has quickly become my favorite Austin kind of day.
What are your favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?
Recently I’ve been thinking about using one of my electives to take a course on debate. I’m intrigued with people who are able to engage in positive, respectful discourse. Is it weird for an art student to take a debate class?
What tip would you give to someone new to the UT campus?
“If you have one eye on the goal than you only have one eye on the path.”
True learning is not regurgitating material to satisfy school credits. Enjoy the path. Enjoy laying in the shade in the middle of campus. Listen to people laughing as they walk to class. Read an interesting book that has nothing to do with your coursework. Make time to exercise or philosophize at a coffee shop with friends. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty for doing these things. The rat race isn’t your life. There are quite a few older people (myself) who wish they had learned this sooner.
Tell us a little about your family:
My family is the quintessential Mid-western family. My mother is a commissioned minister and my father works on contracts for NASA. If I had to summarize my parent’s lifestyle in two words it would be: “conservative hippy.” They’re this great mix of traditional and progressive — and it’s really influenced how I see the world.
I’m the oldest of three girls. My sister Tara, I like to call the logical sister. When she was eleven she debunked a math error on an episode of “Boy Meets World.” I think my parents looked at each other and knew: this girl is the real deal! In many ways, I have Tara to thank for getting into the University of Texas. She patiently held my hand as I cried over the quadratic formula in preparation for the Math GRE.
My baby sister Emma, I like to call the brave sister. When I was eight years, I wished on a penny for a baby brother to ride roller coasters with my Dad. One month later, my mother got pregnant and simply knew it would be a brave baby boy. Nine months later out popped a girl and my gender biased little brain was crushed. As it turned out, Emma is braver than most men I know, and was dragging us on terrifying rides at the local amusement park by the time she was tall enough. Talk about a life lesson.
What are your favorite free-time activities?
Drawing, biking, writing and catching up with friends.
Name one interesting or quirky thing about yourself:
I have “Raynaud’s Disease” which is a circulatory disorder that causes your hands and feet to become cold or numb. Moving to Austin has been glorious, in that for the first time in my life I haven’t had white fingers and toes eight months out of the year.