Teaching Statement

As an artist with a foundation in animation and documentary art practices, I understand that traditional roles in galleries and museums capture just a fraction of career opportunities available to art students. As a previous engineering student, I also understand that many individuals, including students from other disciplines such as natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences, often overlook creative careers, simply due to a lack of exposure or exploration. Thus, my teaching philosophy revolves around nurturing not only art students but also those from diverse academic backgrounds. I aim to help them recognize how artistic skills could resonate with their aspirations, encouraging them to conceive and construct alternative careers that satisfy their creative drives and professional goals. What I find most rewarding in teaching is the inspiration that comes from each student's unique practice and the way they infuse new life into interdisciplinary areas with their fresh perspectives. For me, this ongoing process of creation, connection, and communication through various mediums captures the true essence of art and critical making.

My educational journey began at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an institution renowned for its emphasis on interdisciplinary and conceptual art. This foundational experience not only shaped my unique creative style but also instilled in me a sense of leadership and community engagement. Here, I co-founded the Animate Club, aspiring to carve out a nurturing space for budding animators. We organized activities to enrich students' experiences and perspectives through collective ideation, critical making, and knowledge-sharing. Furthering my academic pursuits at Duke University, I had the privilege of assisting in courses like Motion Graphics and Immersive Virtual Worlds. These roles exposed me to various teaching methodologies, shaping my instructional approach and allowing me to blend mentorship with independent syllabus design. It was here that I witnessed the transformative power of art education, such as when a student, who graduated in environmental science, discovered her passion for critical design, altering her career path entirely after graduation. This reinforced my belief in the importance of a holistic educational approach.

In my classroom, I prioritize experiential learning, valuing hands-on creation over extensive lecturing. My goal is to cultivate a dynamic space where students engage directly in supervised studio work, applying their newfound knowledge to critical decision-making processes. This direct involvement in both creation and reflective analysis is as essential as theoretical learning, encouraging a comprehensive educational approach. By weaving together creative exercises with critical thinking requirements, I ensure assignments are robust and thought-provoking. This balance is crucial during group critiques, sessions designed to deepen conceptual grasp by immersing students in a collaborative, analytical dialogue about their work.

Currently, as a PhD student at North Carolina State University, I'm delving into film, teaching courses such as Introduction to Film, Film History, and Video Production. This unique position allows me to bridge my backgrounds in both the English and Communication departments, integrating my art education in a predominantly theory-focused arena. Here, I leverage my "critical making" background to enhance students' learning experiences and skill sets.

As artists, we're immersed in a discipline that teaches us to perceive the world differently, emphasizing affect and phenomenology. We engage with our craft practically and analyze these mechanisms intimately. My PhD journey is enriching this understanding, providing me with a theoretical lexicon that translates my insights into academic discourse. My teaching philosophy, therefore, isn't just about imparting artistic skills but also about helping students become versatile professionals. By navigating between the visceral realm of art creation and the structured world of academic discourse, I prepare students to traverse diverse professional landscapes. They emerge not just as artists, but as problem-solvers and innovators, ready to make their mark wherever their career takes them. In essence, my classroom becomes a crucible where theoretical knowledge meets practical skills, forged by the fires of critical analysis and creative expression.
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