“When I’m teaching, I think about influential teachers at MICA and hope that I can be a fraction of that."
For as long as she could remember, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer ’02 (fiber) had an interest in art. When she took a tour of MICA while in high school, she realized immediately that art would be part of her career path. “I knew then that was what I wanted to do,” she said.
A long way from her hometown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Egenhoefer honed her critical and creative thinking skills while at MICA. She also credits the College with teaching her how to make connections between vastly different ideas. “When I was at MICA, I majored in fiber and had a video concentration,” she said. While many would find that to be an odd combination, it showed her that she could pursue divergent interests and forge a unique path of her own.
After leaving MICA, Egenhoefer received her MFA at the University of California, taught briefly in San Francisco, and then spent a year traveling to the United Kingdom, South Africa, China, and other places. But the teaching bug had bitten her, leading her back to the University of San Francisco where she teaches courses such as Art Fundamentals and Information Visualization while maintaining a studio practice and spending time with her husband, Kyle Jennings, and her dog, Alistair.
“I realize you need a balance in your life–it can’t just be work or art. My husband and dog are a huge part of my life and my job,” she said. Egenhoefer was also recently named co-chair of the Alumni Council. “I value the time I had at MICA, and I had an interest in strengthening alumni communities outside of Baltimore, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area,” she said.
With her studio work, “I try to present different perspectives to people in my work.” For example, she recently got a commission from the city of Oakland to do an installation that explores the tug of war between the ideas of nature and technology. “On the one hand we’re buying organic, and on the other hand we have to have the latest iPod,” she explained.
When it comes to her teaching, she fi nds herself helping students make connections between their own divergent interests, just as MICA did for her a decade ago. “When I’m teaching, I think about influential teachers at MICA and hope that I can be a fraction of that,” she said.