BA in Dance, Minor in Educational Studies 2009
School of Education
February 1, 2010
“My education has consistently been enriched by the arts.”
Looking back on her educational journey, from the time she entered kindergarten until the day she graduated from UC Irvine, Amanda’s education has consistently been enriched by the presence of the arts. It is this unique involvement with the arts, to which she attributes much of her educational and personal success today.
Amanda’s involvement with the arts began at the early age of five, when she began her classical training in ballet. As she grew older, what began as a childhood dream of prancing around in a pink tutu, quickly turned into a discipline and passion that she fondly and vigorously pursued.
Throughout middle and high school Amanda immersed herself in the arts; she began playing the flute in the school orchestra and took advantage of the photography and visual art classes that were offered at her school. Outside of school, she was committed to her dance training and was accepted as a member of the Berkeley Ballet School’s Youth Company as a sophomore in high school. As a member of the Youth Company, Amanda had the opportunity to train and perform both nationally and internationally. The discipline and determination that Amanda acquired from her 16 years of dance training helped her excel throughout high school and led her to pursue a dance major at UC Irvine.
During her time at UCI, Amanda had the opportunity to continue her dance training and performing while also exploring new areas of interest. Her interest in education was first sparked while taking a Political Sociology course in which she studied how political culture affected public education in America. She became intrigued by the system of public education in the United States and decided to add a minor in education to her degree.
Amanda was first introduced to the idea of “arts education” during her fourth year at UCI, when she enrolled in Ed 104D: “Teaching of Fine Arts in Elementary School” with Lecturer Kim Burge. Inspired by the opportunity to examine teaching from an arts-based perspective and to combine her passion for the arts with her interest in education, Amanda felt energized to learn more about arts education. Through her fieldwork with Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center (OCCTAC), an organization that offers art therapy to at-risk and disabled youth, she witnessed the capacity that all art forms have to instill a strong sense of self-esteem, confidence, and determination. However, in her other fieldwork experience with the THINK Together program, she became increasingly aware of the absence of support for arts programs in many public schools. As a result of this disheartening realization, Amanda became committed to advancing the platform for arts education within the public school system.
After receiving her B.A. in Dance from UC Irvine in 2009 and also completing minors in Education and Sociology, Amanda moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue an internship at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. At the Kennedy Center, Amanda worked with the education department’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program to create professional learning opportunities for educators. These opportunities come in the form of arts-based professional development workshops for teachers, as well as school administrator resources. Workshops are designed by teaching artists from across the country and promote arts integrated teaching strategies that empower educators to teach in, through, and about the arts.
Currently Amanda is continuing to advocate for arts education as an Intern at Americans for the Arts, the nations leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. During the course of her internship she hopes to contribute to creating increased government support and funding for arts education, and to provide services that aid local arts agencies in creating arts education programs similar to the CETA program at the Kennedy Center.
In the future Amanda plans to attend graduate school to receive her Masters in Education, with an emphasis on arts integration, and to continue working in arts education both as a teacher and administrator. As Amanda continues to move forward in life she remains motivated by the significant role that the arts played in her education, and is committed to creating opportunities for arts education.