At an early age, growing up in a family of educators in North Platte, Nebraska, I learned how passionate teachers could affect the experiences of students in positive ways. In my youth, mentors encouraged open dialogue, professional rapport, and opportunities for individualized and collaborative inquiry. After achieving multiple awards in high school, my craft developed with the guidance of local, national, and international artists while in college. Coupling the modeled dispositions with emerging artistic practices and educational field experiences, my professional identity took shape.
In 2006, upon graduation from the University of Nebraska, I began a rewarding career as a visual artist educator in K-12 public schools in and around the greater Omaha metropolitan area. The experiences allowed me to share a passion for the arts while mentoring students from diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings. Concurrently, while serving in school leadership roles, I learned about complex topics facing our educational systems and matured into a vocal advocate for arts education.
My scholarly career began with a 2011 study at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where I explored how the previous experiences of Nebraska art educators influenced their pedagogical choices. Encouraged by findings in the research, I started to think critically about the interplay between theory, praxis, and expectations for art educators, beginning a process of reflexivity that informs my current work. The professional and scholarly experiences inspired me to continue graduate study and aspire for a career in which I could engage both pre-service and professional artist educators in constructive analysis of their pedagogies.
In my first year at the University of North Texas, I was selected as a pilot participant for the Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Program. I collaborated with students and faculty from a variety of programs to engage contemporary issues and topics in higher education and was one of three inaugural graduates. Nominated in 2013 as the senator to the Graduate Student Council from the Department of Art Education and Art History, I worked with students and faculty from most graduate departments to address campus-wide concerns. Furthermore, I served two terms as president of the Graduate Student Art Education Association, responsible for planning events, coordinating the graduate student body, and acting as a liaison to department faculty. In recognition of exemplary academic, teaching, and service performance, I was honored with the UNT Faculty Senate 2016 Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award for the many contributions to the College of Visual Arts & Design.
In my higher education academic roles at UNT, UA Little Rock, and UNK, I work with students, faculty, and staff to create and implement courses for preservice art educators and non-majors that support progressively responsible arts education programming. I hope to provide opportunities for students to develop reflexive practice, foster relationships for mentoring, and encourage practitioners to share a passion for the arts with their students and communities. My career aspirations include continuing emergence as an arts education scholar, where I can further develop and share my research agenda and practical experiences; engaging a variety of educators, students, and community members as arts advocates; focused maturation of artistic practices; and providing leadership to the field through service.