Student Profile: Art Education major

Kate Till
Art Education & Secondary Education majors

Student profile of Kate Till, Art Education major

Kate Till ‘15 had always known she wanted to become a teacher. It did, however, take her some time to figure out exactly what subject she would teach.

"I've wanted to teach since I was born," she said.

Kate comes from a long line of people who have studied education or become teachers, including two great grandmothers, her grandmother, a great aunt, her mother and both of her sisters.

Originally she wanted to teach history. Eventually, in tenth grade during World History, she decided that history wasn’t for her. She wanted to become an art teacher.

"[Art] is always something I was good at," Kate explained.

She said that she would like to one day teach at the secondary level in order to have a more in-depth interaction with her students, which she would not get in the elementary setting. She is currently in an art classroom at Regis Middle School.

As for a specific medium of art, Kate cannot pick a favorite.

"I don't think I can say I like one more than the others," she said.

Whenever she is in a particular art class, Kate tends to become enthralled with that particular style. When the semester ends and new classes start, she starts to really enjoy that type of art.

Last spring, Kate created her favorite piece of art to date—a life size, very-angry-looking pig head. The pig head is placed on a suit-wearing statue and stands at around 6-feet-tall.

She created the pig, which she refers to as Angry Pig, during the fall and spring semesters and finished just in time for it to be showcased in Mount Mercy’s Summer Art Student Exhibit.

Originally the pig head was an entire bust, and due to Kate’s inexperience with ceramics, the shoulders collapsed. Her professor, Andrew Casto, jokingly suggested she put the head on a mannequin and Kate ran with the idea.

“I bought a suit and tie at Goodwill, and filled the mannequin with cement so it could stand free of supports,” she said. “I then used epoxy to attach the head to the body. I built stronger shoulders onto the mannequin with wire and stuffing, and gave him a napkin pocket square.”

Kate was reading George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” at the time of Angry Pig’s creation. She based the pig off of the bad-guy character Napolean.

“I think that anyone can prescribe their own (meaning),” she said. “He started as a literary character for me, then grew into a symbol for business in education. My four-year-old goddaughter thinks he’s my boyfriend; he could be a bully or a boss, someone you used to know. The point is, he’s someone who has scared you.”

“It starts conversation. The best part about Angry Pig is that people have reacted to him. I think that is what makes art.”

Kate also spent a month this summer studying Czech language and culture in the Summer School of Slavonic Languages, an international summer school in Olomouc in the Czech Republic .

"It was the experience of a lifetime," she said. "You don't want to wait until retirement to do this."

In the Czech Republic, Kate made many friends, a few of which she still talks to everyday. One of these friends is Nikola Utinková from the Czech Republic, who now goes to Mount Mercy as an exchange student. Utinková is a student at the University of Olomouc, where Kate studied.

At Mount Mercy, Kate works at the Info Desk and at the switchboard, is a Lower Campus RA, a member of the volleyball team, president of the art club, and she participates in the drama club.

"I love my volleyball team," she said. She compared the team to a sorority of sorts, as it is an instant group of friends to be around.

“If I had gone to a larger school, I would have rushed. A sorority is like a ready-made family when you’re somewhere new. The volleyball team was that for me. They are my sisters, through thick and thin. I love how much joy we share, and I always have someone to lean on when I need help.”

This student profile was written by Maddy Jones, co-editor, and was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times during the 2013-14 academic year.