On Friday October 18th, the Department of Art Education held its inaugural alumni panel in the William Johnston building. The panel featured alumni from each program within the Department who shared experiences from their professional career paths.
Achia Floyd, alumna from the Arts Administration program, graduated with her master’s in 2017. At the time that she entered the program, she aspired to become an orchestra manager. She currently serves as the Development Manager for the Atlanta Music Project, a nonprofit that serves over 300 children in the Atlanta area and strives to use music to create social change. Achia reported that the Arts Administration program prepared her for her current position by teaching her to advocate for the arts across disciplines through a wide breadth of knowledge and love for continual learning. She advised current students to join networks wherever they go, both within the arts and beyond, because these kinds of connections will provide critical support to professional pathways.
Amanda Thompson, a 2006 master’s graduate, represented the Art Education program. Amanda currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Council on Culture and Arts in Tallahassee. She re-counted knowing that she wanted to become an art teacher in the 3rd grade. This drove her to pursue both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from FSU’s Department of Art Education. The Art Education program prepared her for her current position by helping her to understand her abilities and values while teaching her to develop confidence in herself to practice with intentionality and compassion. Amanda cited that the department’s Art for Life philosophy is central to her practice as an art educator and that she enjoys implementing that philosophy in a tangible way in her work. Amanda’s advice for current students is to determine what your goals and skills are, and to keep in mind that one can learn skills and tasks, not enthusiasm and passion for the field. These are among the most valuable skills an arts-based professional can possess.
Rachel Mock, a 2007 alum, represented the Art Therapy program. Ms. Mock pursued her Art Therapy degree from FSU because she wanted to help people in a creative way. Rachel currently owns her own private practice and believes that the Art Therapy program prepared her for her current position by exposing her to a variety of populations during her three practicum placements as a graduate student. She advised students to try working with different populations soon after graduation, and to not fear seeking another job if the position does not fit your skills and abilities.
Finally, Dr. Sarah Graves represented the Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Curation program. Dr. Graves shared that her love of museums began at a young age, and that she had gratifying internships at the Tallahassee Museum among other museums during her master’s. She currently works at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art as the collections information specialist. She believes that the Educuration program prepared her for her current position by training her to incorporate education into curation to benefit the public. Her advice to current students is to approach internships with a willingness to ask questions and speak up in order to show interest and enthusiasm beyond just receiving course credit.
Faculty and students from all programs in the Department of Art Education attended the event. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions to panel members regarding their experiences as professionals, which covered a range of topics including choosing positions that are a good fit, navigating licensure, and the choice between a professional and an academic career. The Department of Art Education’s next event will feature a special guest lecturer in February of 2020 during the Spring Semester.