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Legions of Student Leaders

Student leaders across campus discuss their experiences

Posted 01.01.14 by mica communications

Peer Career Advisor Chelsea Castro ’16 working with students in the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development.

A key MICA focus is to prepare students to be leaders not only in the art and design professions, but also in their immediate communities. Juxtapositions highlights a sampling of MICA's student leaders' experiences, goals, and accomplishments--as told by the leaders themselves.

School for Professional and Continuing Studies
The School for Professional and Continuing Studies provides a Pre-College Program, a month-long summer residential program for high school art students. Within this program, there are two leadership positions: Pre-College Teacher's Assistant/Resident Counselors (TARCs), who assist faculty, as well as young artists and designers as they navigate life on a college campus, and Pre-College Desk Assistants (DAs), who serve as monitors for the program.

First year TARC Sara Dittrich '14 (interdisciplinary sculpture) wears many different hats as she guides high school students as a mentor, teacher, program planner, and administrator, showing them what art school is all about.

"As a TARC, I hope to help high school students realize their potential in artmaking and make well-informed decisions about what college experience is right for them," Dittrich said. "I received a lot of guidance in high school, so it's nice to give back and help other aspiring artists find what is best for them."

Estelle Kline '15 (photography) has been a TARC for two years and is also a France-Merrick Fellow in Student Activities and a LGBTQ Mentor in the Office of Diversity & Intercultural Development.

"This position not only helps high school students with thinking about their transition into an art college, but also helps weave a larger community on campus of MICA students that worked as TARCs," Kline explained.

She has developed two promotional music videos for Pre-College events "to show and solidify the infrastructure of community that the TARCs have amongst each other."

Kline, who brings an accommodating and engaging dynamic to her student leadership position, helps connect mentees to the City of Baltimore through arts and culture events. She feels that her own participation in the Pre-College Program is ultimately what led her to MICA and connected her with a community that she hopes to help others become a part of as well.

Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development
Students Maddie Becker '15 (painting, video and film) and Chelsea Castro '16 (graphic design) started their first year in leadership positions as Peer Career Advisors (PCAs) for the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development.

The PCA position involves students' raising awareness about professional development and career opportunities by planning programs, facilitating weekly workshops with students, and attending on-campus major events.

"PCAs are the students that act as a bridge connection for the student body and Career Development," Castro explained.

As student leaders, Becker and Castro hope to make a positive impact on their peers and assist in helping them achieve their goals.

"In this particular position, I hope to genuinely help my peers. I am excited to be someone who assists them in their development and who helps them achieve their goals. It's rewarding to know that you are someone who is giving them this knowledge and that it may mean they land that internship or even know a bit more about what they look to do in their future," Castro said.

"As a student leader, I would like to include those around the school that normally would not want to come to Career Development or those that don't know how to ask for help, or have not really considered it," Becker said.

International Affairs
The Office of International Affairs offers leadership positions, including International Orientation Assistants, who assist with the biannual International Student Orientation on campus, and Exchange Student Guides, who help exchange students settle into campus, make friends, and adjust to life in Baltimore.

"Helping younger students fit into the community makes one feel a bit more rooted in Baltimore, so International Orientation is also an orientation for leaders," said Diana Zhang '14 (art history, theory, & criticism), an orientation assistant.

MICA Fitness
MICA Fitness is dedicated to providing innovative, fun, and challenging programs that encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for artists. Fitness Center Coordinators are responsible for day-to-day management, including event planning, promotion, and administrative duties. Fitness Assistants monitor the front desk and assist members, as well as perform daily maintenance of the facility.

Fitness Center Coordinator Leah Tipton '15 (illustration) programs health and wellness events and helps manage the facilities. "I was happy to have landed this position because fitness has been a passion of mine for almost my whole life. I am planning a lot of amazing events for our students that involve community outreach, education, and building healthy lives and relationships through fitness," Tipton said.

Fitness Assistants Colleen Coleman '16 (photography) and Lauren Sessa '15 (illustration) address the questions of students, faculty, and staff and provide health information. "I hope to help others make healthier choices," Coleman said. "Coming to the gym and eating healthy has a really positive result in one's happiness, art, and stress levels," she continued.

Sessa, who also works with a student club that puts on entertaining games on campus, is hoping to bring two MICA communities together through her role as an assistant. "As a personal goal, I have been making efforts to combine the amazing resources that the Fitness Center has to offer with the club that I am a co-president of, MICA's Urban Gaming Club," Sessa said.

Student Organizations & Committees
More than 50 student organizations are offered through the Student Activities Office (SAO), ranging from academic to cultural based.
Groups such as the Animation Club, MICAppella, Maryland Institute Queer Alliance, and MICA Exercise Initiative provide students with countless opportunities to become involved on campus and develop as leaders.

In addition to programs and activities, SAO oversees the Student Voice Association (SVA), which is MICA's student government. SVA's two councils focus on student life and the academic concerns of students. Molly Gamble '15 (art history, theory, & criticism) and Lindsay Miller '14 (ceramics, MAT) are presidents of the Academic Affairs and Student Life councils, respectively.

The Graduate Student Union (GSU) is a student-run organization serving and representing all graduate students at MICA. The organization provides a forum for discussions of and recommendations on matters that affect graduate student life.

Students also had an opportunity to lend their voices to the search for MICA's fourth president. The presidential search committee consists of board, faculty, and staff members, as well as a student representative.

Student Michelle Gomez '12 '14 (general fine arts, Curatorial Practice) applied and was selected to be on the committee. "I thought it was a great opportunity to be a part of this historical moment at MICA," Gomez said.

"Since I was here for undergrad and grad, I really understand the MICA experience from many diverse perspectives. I also want to make sure that MICA goes in the best direction possible."

Image captions (top to bottom): Peer Career Advisor Chelsea Castro '16 working with students in the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development; Fitness Assistant Lauren Sessa '15 during her shift at MICA Fitness; Michelle Gomez '12 '14, a member of the Presidential Search Committee.