Arts in Education

Arts in Education

HGSE Arts in Education Program Student Profiles - 2013-14


Amanda Alef, a native of Berkeley, Calif., has had a passion for the arts since the age of five when she began her training in classical ballet. In 2009, Amanda received her B.A. in dance, with minors in education and sociology, from the University of California-Irvine. Upon graduation, she worked as an education intern at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she helped to organize arts integration-based professional development workshops for classroom teachers in the D.C. area. Prior to attending HGSE, Amanda worked at Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, where she coordinated various research studies designed to help expand the conversation about arts policy and to generate greater awareness of the role and value of the arts in community life.   

Mridul Batra learned to play the game of school growing up in Delhi, India, where he eventually found himself working in the financial industry and learning to understand arts and design thinking through a formal learning stint at a design school. The founder of a photography collective that promotes critical practices in photography through education, research, curation, and publication, he also taught high school students, an avocation that he has practiced in many informal settings since he was 16. Currently, at the intersection of education and arts, Mridul is excited about developing alternative models for schools that consider learning in and through the arts as an imperative.

Maggie Cavallo is an experimental curator and educator based in Boston. Committed to celebrating and contextualizing contemporary art in Boston and beyond, Cavallo recognizes unique opportunities for teaching and learning between artists, audiences, and works of art. Outside of school, she is a gallery educator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and has organized numerous exhibitions and programs, including A New Cosmic Mix: now in 5D! at the Charles Hayden Planetarium. She received her bachelor's in science in media, society, and the arts from SUNY-Purchase and most recently has worked as the curator of education at Montserrat College of Art.

Leigh Dale is thrilled to be back in the Boston area, where “there is always more to do than there is time to do it.” She spent last year in the quiet Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, in the education department of MASS MoCA, but Leigh has also interned at several art museums, including Boston's ICA and MFA. Additionally, Leigh worked at Perkins School for the Blind for two years as a teaching assistant during the school-year, and as the assistant coordinator of recreation during the summer program. At HGSE she hopes to learn about museum accessibility and art education for the visually impaired. To further this, she is currently interning with VSA Massachusetts, the state organization on disability and the arts. Leigh enters the AIE Program with a B.A. in art history from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.

Before coming to HGSE, Claudine Fernandez was the head of arts at a Singaporean junior college and a teacher of advanced-level English literature for six years. Apart from classroom teaching, she helped to craft the literature curriculum, mentored teachers under her charge, and implemented interdisciplinary arts and humanities programs for students both locally and internationally. She was also in charge of the corporate communications division in the junior college, working on branding and publicity as a media liaison. A 2005 honors-degree graduate of the National University of Singapore, she believes in the transformative power of the arts to inspire and nurture intellectual, creative minds and empathetic individuals, and she hopes to develop more quality arts education programs and to integrate the arts into schools' curricula for the holistic development of children. Her interests include writing poetry and playing in a band as a keyboardist.

Ali Fessler grew up in Andover, Mass., and recently completed her B.A. in music performance and anthropology at Brandeis University in nearby Waltham. A cellist since the age of nine, Ali’s experiences in various youth ensembles and music programs have triggered her interest in the power of music education. For her senior thesis, she studied the Venezuelan music education system known as El Sistema, volunteering at a newly developed El Sistema-inspired school in Somerville. Ali is interested in improving access to quality music education, particularly for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and is also excited to continue studying the ways in which arts and artful thinking can be better integrated across the curriculum.

Jenna Gabriel graduated from New York University in 2009 with a B.F.A. in drama and concentrations in applied theater and child and adolescent mental health studies. She remained in New York after graduation, co-founding and running a nonprofit, Daytime Moon Creations, that offers recreational arts programs to children with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. She also worked as a teaching artist-in-residence at special education schools throughout the city and studied intellectual disabilities and autism at Teachers College, Columbia University. Here at HGSE, Jenna is working as a research assistant and interning in the education department of the American Repertory Theatre. She hopes to work in teacher training, providing arts-based curricular tools for classroom teachers to reach learners with special needs.

Anne Gaughen is the author of the young adult fiction novels Scarlet and Lady Thief. She currently serves as the director of girls’ leadership for Boston GLOW, a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the greater Boston area. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland. All of these things have culminated in her enrollment in the AIE Program, where she hopes to figure out how to combine them all into one (seriously awesome) career. 

Maria Giarrizzo was raised in Wyoming by two artists: her father, a classical painter and art professor, and her mother, a photographer and museum curator. She pursued her own artistic passion at the University of Montana, earning her B.F.A. in acting in 2008. Immediately following college, she traded her Big Sky for the Big Apple, moving to New York City to act and create a mandatory, schoolwide drama program at The East Harlem School at Exodus House. After teaching for five years, she is thrilled to be at HGSE exploring the ways in which artistic and theatrical processes create strong students, teachers, and educational communities. Maria is particularly fascinated by the ways in which arts training can shape the craft of teaching. She plans to use this knowledge to build her recently founded company, The American Children’s Theatre, and to develop a professional development program for classroom teachers.

Originally from Utah, Erica Glenn has lived and worked in Arizona, New York, London, and Ukraine. She holds both a B.M. and an M.M. in music composition and has taught music privately for 15 years. Most recently, she was adjunct faculty at Dean College and an instructor of piano, voice, and composition at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts. Erica has music-directed extensively, performed lead roles in over a dozen musicals, and conducted a Broadway orchestra and several choirs. In 2012, she spent her summer working with Broadway composer Charles Strouse and his collaborative partner, Richard Maltby, on a series of transcriptions and arrangements.  Erica is also an active composer of both concert and theatre music. Her original musical, The Weaver of Raveloe, appeared at the 2012 NY Musical Theatre Festival and is slated for performance at the American Repertory Theatre's second stage, Oberon.

In 2010, Cami Gordon graduated from University of California-Santa Cruz, with a B.A. in the history of art and visual culture and a minor in education. After graduating, she spent the next three years at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with their School and Teacher Programs Department, authoring curriculum, coordinating programs, and leading Visual Thinking Strategies tours in the galleries. During her time at HGSE, Cami also interns with the education department at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and works at Project Zero as a research assistant with the Agency by Design Project. Upon graduating Cami hopes to return to museum education, utilizing the unique learning opportunities the museum space presents, making art and the museum more accessible for students, and creating life-long museum-goers!

Nancy Guevara is an interdisciplinary community designer and artist from the South Texas/Mexico border. She focuses primarily on identity, Chicana studies, storytelling, and collaborative art and design. She studied design at the University of Texas-Austin, where she was influenced by design-thinking, and she incorporates this framework in creating open-ended, inclusive learning spaces that, she notes, “allow students of color and other minoritized groups alternative pathways of participation and engagement.” She spent one year in Mexico City on a Fulbright, where she co-authored and co-illustrated a children’s book for pediatric cancer patients that is now being used in the Hospital General de México Federico Gómez and will be used in the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. At HGSE, she is working towards expanding her capacity for working with youth and their families, and learning how to create more collaborative and introspective learning spaces using social design, art, and social justice.

Joanna C. Horton is a Maine native, most recently coming from her acting studio in Florida. With a background in both Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed and Meisner's "emotional honesty" acting technique, as well as experience in nonprofit youth work and personal mindfulness meditation practice, Joanna is curious about "what happens for learners and teachers when things don't go as we expect them to." With that in mind, she explores the relational-emotional aspect of listening and the role of uncertainty in democratic learning environments.

After graduating from University of California-Berkeley, with a B.A. in political science and from Stanford University with an M.A. in education (gender studies), Felicia Khoja (Kamriani) moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a writer, commercial actress, test prep teacher, and educational consultant. Three years ago, she founded the Felittle Group, LLC, a graphics studio that creates art with positive messages for kids. Felicia has attended nine TED conferences in three countries and has created nine TEDx events as co-curator for TEDxSantaMonica (2010-2012). Currently, she is spearheading TEDxHGSE, which will occur in the Spring of 2014. She came to the HGSE AIE Program eager to explore more ways of using art as a tool of empowerment for children.

Tyme Khleifi grew up in Ramallah, West Bank, where she started her violin lessons at the age of seven. In 2004, Tyme joined the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Daniel Barenboim as the youngest musician and the only Palestinian from the West Bank. After finishing her studies in Ramallah, Tyme was offered a scholarship to continue her studies at Bard College as a double degree student in violin performance and German studies. Besides her experience as an orchestral musician, Tyme has participated in several chamber music concerts around the world, including performances in music festivals such as the BBC proms, the Salzburg Festival, and the Rolandseck Festival. Tyme also worked as an admissions and student services fellow at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, where she initiated outreach efforts in the Arab world.

Holly Kinnamont, a native of Maryland, spent her days working in both a history museum and a community college, “encountering amazing people and their stories” at both places every day, before enrolling at HGSE. Holly is a recent graduate of Swarthmore College, where she studied literature and film but “managed to cram tons of theater” into her life as well, her favorite productions being  “anything with Shakespeare” and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Having fallen in love with AIE for its “beautifully interdisciplinary” mixture of people and curriculum, she feels that everyone here is “incredible, inspiring, and challenging in the best way” — and is especially excited to research spaces for informal learning and performance, particularly when it comes to new media and digital identity.

Indi McCasey believes that the arts can play a key role in transforming education. This Bay Area-born experiential educator holds a self-designed B.A. in education for environmental responsibility and social justice from Fairhaven College and has led outdoor education, visual arts, and circus arts experiences as well as presented on topics of environmental conservation, sexual violence prevention, and institutional oppression. Over the past 12 years, Indi has managed nonprofit programs at Washington Water Trails, Solace Crisis Center, Wise Fool New Mexico, Fine Arts for Children & Teens, and Destiny Arts Center, focusing on community arts education and youth development. Indi comes to AIE just after participating in the Alameda County Office of Education’s Art is Education programs informed by Project Zero research.

Tulsi Mehta is a dancer, an artist, and a student of the body. Having studied movement techniques all over the world, including her hometown of Mumbai, she brings a breadth of kinesthetic knowledge to HGSE, from advanced yogic techniques to modern dance. Tulsi first created entrepreneurial work on somatic consulting at a holistic preschool in Mumbai, where she trained teachers on how to use their bodies to create embodied learning environments. Having studied dance, theater, and visual art, Tulsi graduated cum laude from Pomona College in 2012, where she founded an inter-college artist collective consisting of 40 diverse and talented artists. She brings her enthusiasm for collaboration and movement to HGSE with her newly founded group, Movers, Shakers & other Art Makers.

Believing that classical music and fiddling traditions are equally viable in a variety of concert settings, Taylor Morris enjoys blurring the line between violin and fiddle. After studying classical violin at Arizona State University, he spent four years touring the world as one of five fiddlers with Barrage, a Canadian-based, world-music violin troupe. His travels have led to performances in 47 states and 13 countries with musicians from a multitude of backgrounds. Off of the stage, Taylor is a passionate advocate for arts education. He serves as the artistic director of the Gilbert Town Fiddlers, a high school fiddle troupe in Arizona; he founded a summer music camp called StringPlay; and he regularly works with students and educators around the country to explore the violin’s unique relevance to a variety of genres.

Caitlin Niles came to the HGSE Arts in Education Program after five years of teaching English language arts to 7th and 8th graders in Hartford, Conn. There she helped redesign her small neighborhood school into a museum school, encouraging students to transform their hallways and classrooms into exhibits of what they were learning and to open them up to their community to celebrate. Caitlin is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she majored in English, minored in music, and participated in theater and vocal groups. As someone who has always enjoyed arts education as a student and writing project-based curriculum as a teacher, she came to HGSE to learn more about museum education, relationships between schools and arts organizations, project-based curriculum, and arts integration in K-12 classrooms.

Laura Ogburn studied music history and theory at Tufts University, with a focus in ethnomusicology, and spent her undergraduate summers at Primary Source in nearby Watertown, Mass., coordinating globally focused professional development seminars for K-12 teachers. After graduating, she moved to Austin, Texas, where she served as an AmeriCorps member with College Forward, doing college access work with high school juniors. Laura then returned to the Boston area to coordinate the College Exploration and College Bound mentoring programs at the Hyde Square Task Force, where she also wrote grants for their arts-based youth leadership programs. She is interested in exploring arts integration, issues of class and race, and the intersection of civic responsibility and education — and is a lapsed classical musician who now prefers the banjo.

Ye Sul Park, originally from South Korea, studied studio art in college and visual arts administration in graduate school. She has worked and developed research interests in art museum settings, hoping to develop collaborative arts programs through which social integration and reconciliation can be promoted. An “extreme believer” (see the writings of education philosopher Peter Elbow on the “believing and doubting game”), Ye Sul has brought her passion for the arts and excitement for learning at HGSE to the lovely AIE cohort, and would love to enrich society at large with her work through the arts. 

Ellen Shattuck Pierce, a native of Vermont with an undergraduate degree from UMass-Boston and an M.F.A. from York University in Toronto, grew up with an artist mom who catalyzed her formation as an educator and artist. A prolific printmaker, she exhibits her prints in New England and nationally, has taught printmaking to Inuit artists in Nunavut, Canada, and has been a teaching artist in several Boston Public Schools. Her pride and joy is a utopian artist hangout she created with students out of a toolshed that she revisits each summer in order to unearth a hidden time-capsule. Ellen lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband, two boys, and two polydactyl cats.

Kathryn Robinson comes to AIE by way of Johns Hopkins University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she received a master’s degree in art history. She worked in Boston for two years as the fine art specialist at a small auction house specializing in American paintings in the realist tradition, and she currently works as curator and gallery manager at HGSE’s Gutman Library, where AIE student artists have a chance to exhibit their work for a few weeks every year. After graduation Kathryn hopes to work to increase access to high quality visual art in rural communities through museum, school, and community partnerships.

Michael Sanders, a native of Destrehan, La., earned his M.A. in communication studies from Louisiana State University (LSU) and his B.A. in mass communication from Xavier University of Louisiana. At Loyola University-New Orleans, he coordinated the inaugural Jazz and American Democracy Professional Training Workshop, exposing primary and secondary school teachers to the use of jazz as a tool for educating students about democracy. Working between New York and Louisiana as a freelance publicist, educator, performer, and communications practitioner, he has taught public speaking and interpersonal communication courses at Louisiana State University; has participated in a number of experimental and theoretical performances with LSU’s HopKins Black Box Theatre; and has performed in (and been otherwise involved with) New York theater. 

Originally from Greenville, S.C., Kristen San Miguel comes to HGSE as a recent graduate from nearby Wellesley College, where she majored in Latin American studies. She received education in various art practices throughout childhood, including the visual arts; but with her strong background in ballet and modern and her experience with other dance forms such as hip-hop, flamenco, and Scottish Highland, she identifies mainly as a dancer. Prior to enrolling in the AIE Program, Kristen helped to create and teach at an all arts-inclusive summer camp for children, served as a teaching artist at a local museum, and worked at a bead store, working with budding jewelry-makers and creating her own jewelry.

Emily Shepard grew up experimenting with mosaic, acrylic painting, drawing, and sculpture in Upstate New York. She taught arts classes in informal settings throughout high school and college, and she earned a B.A. in visual arts education (K-12) with a minor in art history from Ithaca College. After two years at an Expeditionary Learning school, Emily came to AIE seeking a stronger foundational background in the arts in learning, to improve her practice as a teacher, and to become a more articulate and effective advocate for the arts in education. She currently works as an AIE Program assistant and as the coordinator of the AIE Advisory Council’s activities, as well as interning in the art studio at Peabody Terrace Children’s Center. When she’s not studying, Emily enjoys drawing, cooking, and hanging out with her greyhound.

Amelia Spinney is a printmaker and educator who is currently focusing on a body of artwork that explores issues related to social justice and personal identity management. Spinney earned a B.A. in English and fine art at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and an M.F.A. in printmaking from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. 

“MV” Sweeney served recently as the interim executive director of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit learning center in NYC supporting art, meditation, and activism. One of the initiatives for growth included implementing innovative media technology for learning, mentoring, and mindfulness, subjects that she is eagerly researching at HGSE. She has worked closely with PBS, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Games for Change founder, participated in the seminal Ford Foundation Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue, and is currently working on a suite of contemplative video games. In 2010 she took a sabbatical from teaching art and design in college for a Path of Service residency year at Upaya Zen center with Roshi Joan Halifax. In 2012 MV was a senior investigator with the Mind & Life Summer Research Institute think tank, co-founded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a collaboration with leading scholars to advance scientific research and practices for compassion, mindfulness, and creativity. On top of all that, MV also blogs for the Huffington Post

Boston-based teaching artist Mila Thigpen comes to HGSE with a wide variety of performance and teaching experience in dance. A graduate of Kenyon College (B.A.), the Boston Conservatory (M.F.A.), and the Emerging Leaders Program at UMass-Boston, Mila has also coordinated a Fulbright exchange in the Netherlands and is an alumna of the Choreographer’s Lab at Jacob’s Pillow. With faculty appointments at Boston Ballet, Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, and Tufts University, she has served as artistic director of AileyCamp Boston through the Celebrity Series and is a “lively dancer” (Boston Globe) who has performed a vast array of dance repertory, including Soaring (by Doris Humphrey), Esplanade (by Paul Taylor), and Floor of the Forest (by Trisha Brown), as well as contemporary works by Seán Curran, Germaul Barnes, and Arthur Aviles.  

Sharnetta Tyler is originally from Washington, D.C., but has lived more recently in Prince George’s County, Md. With a B.A. from Georgetown University in English, and an M.S. in counseling from Johns Hopkins University, she has worked with students and professional staff, at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as an English instructor, an advisory coordinator, and a school counselor. Sharnetta is an AIE student because she wants “to use art-based programs and various forms of art therapy to help increase student performance and close the achievement gap in America.”

Moana Fololini 'Ulu'ave was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to 'Alama and Losaline 'Ulu'ave, both of Niuafo'ou, Tonga. She is an Oprah Winfrey High School Essay Contest winner and a Gates Millennium Scholar. In 2012, she graduated from Brigham Young University in English with a minor in sociology. Her honors thesis, entitled Tauhi Va: Nourishing the Space Between - A Collection of Essays, dealt with her love of growing up in Glendale and the multiple dimensions of being Tongan-American, Mormon, and working class. Moana’s recent endeavors include four months in Tonga teaching English and creative writing at Havelu Middle and a year at Edison Elementary working with fifth graders. She has also spent time tutoring for the LYFE program and starting up a nonprofit for Pacific Islander Americans called LELE.

A Philadelphia native, Alex Vargo graduated from Oberlin College with a major in art history, a minor in history, and experience working at Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum in both educational and curatorial/research roles. After interning in the family programs departments of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation, Alex moved to Marfa, Texas, to work at the Chinati Foundation in their education department. During the past year, she served as the 2012-2013 McDermott Intern for gallery teaching at the Dallas Museum of Art, working with students, teachers, and the volunteer docent corps.

Liz Woodbury earned her B.A. in theater and dance from Oberlin College, focusing her undergraduate work on the role of theater as an educational tool in health and wellness outreach/education programming. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City and proceeded to work as a teaching artist for four years. During her time as a teaching artist, working with several different companies and nonprofits, Liz was able to develop and implement original curricula throughout NYC's boroughs, facilitate afterschool and conservatory intensive programs, and work with the Department of Education's pilot program, Summer Quest, in creating more effective, integrated summer school structures focusing on narrowing the achievement gap by decreasing summer learning loss. Liz also had the privilege of having original plays produced at several NYC festivals, including Theater for the New City's "Dream Up Festival,” and of performing in several plays in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

Lisa Yanofsky comes to HGSE having just graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory's double degree program, where she studied art history, dance, and opera performance. She has danced and sung her way across the country and throughout Europe and brings her love of interdisciplinary art studies to HGSE. A Boston-area native, Lisa is enjoying showing her cohort around her home this year. She is also interning at the Massachusetts Cultural Council and plans to continue working in arts policy after graduation.

2011-12 AIE Student Profiles

2010-11 AIE Student Profiles

2009-10 AIE Student Profiles

2009-10 AIE Student Profiles

2008-09 AIE Student Profiles

2007-08 AIE Student Profiles

2006-07 AIE Student Profiles

AIE Student Involvement

Events and Exhibits

At the Office for the Arts in Education Program, Room 305 Longfellow Hall, students can find a variety of resources such as:

  • lists of arts-related courses throughout the university and lists of courses at HGSE that lend themselves to arts focusing
  • information on possible arts-related field placement sites, internships, and job opportunities
  • guidance on focusing an Arts in Education Program
  • recommendations for instructors who will support arts-related independent studies
  • selected resources for arts-related research and a collection of past AIE student courses of study and sample student work on arts-related topics
  • information on arts activities and resources at Harvard and in the surrounding areas

Arts Resources

The following resources may be of use to students in the program and others with an interest in arts in education.