Four Herron School of Art and Design students have been honored with 2020 IUPUI Top 100 Awards.
Emily Crowel, Shelby Elrod, Abigail Mendoza, and Dane Wallace would have been recognized during the Top 100 Outstanding Students Recognition Dinner in April, but COVID-19 prompted the 20th annual event's cancellation.
So, over the next two weeks, we're illuminating their achievements through a series of Top 100 Q&As.
A senior at Herron, Emily Crowel is also an IUPUI Honors College student, a resident assistant, a 500 Festival Princess, a member of the IUPUI Regatta Royalty court, and a soon-to-be art educator. Here, Crowel discusses her leadership roles, teaching art, and the significance of being a Top 100 student.
HERRON: What motivated you to become an art teacher?
EMILY CROWEL: I've always been in love with art; I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, it was really difficult to enroll in art classes because so many people were trying to take them. I finally got accepted into an intro to 2-D class during my junior year. It felt like some weeks I spent more time outside of class on my artwork than I did on my AP homework because I valued it so much.
I realized I wanted to be an art teacher because I love children, teaching, school and learning, and art. It just made sense. I was accepted into Herron with only two semesters of art classes in high school. It was a struggle during my foundation year to feel like I truly belonged at Herron, but once I began my art education classes, everything made sense. Working with students, crafting lessons, and helping others find a love for art keep me motivated in my art educator role.
HERRON: During your last semester, you've taught at an elementary school as part of your field experiences toward certification for teaching pre-kindergarten through 12th grade art classes. What has the unique artistic viewpoint of children taught you about creating art?
CROWEL: Teaching art to elementary school students has been such a rewarding experience. The kids have really taught me that you can enjoy art at any age. As long as they're having fun with their learning and creating, I'm doing a good job of teaching.
Teaching in elementary school has also taught me that there is no such thing as "good" art. The aesthetic discussion of what art is, and the value of art, is ever-changing from person to person, era to era. It's important to express that to the students and their parents, too.
HERRON: Has COVID-19 impacted your field experiences?
CROWEL: For the rest of the spring semester, I'm co-teaching grades 6 through 8 at Carmel Middle School while navigating eLearning. I was supposed to take over teaching completely when schools closed and classes moved online.
This experience has taught me that being flexible and adaptable is so important as an educator. Teaching art online isn't impossible, but it's a different experience than being in the classroom. I've had to get creative with my lessons.