What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Assistant Professor of Studio Art, School of Visual Art and Design, College of Arts and Humanities.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities):
I have been teaching at UCF since 2010. Prior to that, I was an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University/Stern College for Women in NYC. I was also a bartender and freelance arts educator.
What is your academic background?
I received my masters in fine art from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of Art, and my undergraduate work was done at State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. I also attended City University of New York/ Hunter College and am an alum of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
Performing my “Bargain Basement Sovereign” piece at the VAB Gallery in 2013 was a really great time. It was at that point that I felt my colleagues finally had a grasp of what my performance art research was about. I felt as if I had finally been acknowledged for my work.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
There would be more support staff for faculty. Help with grant writing, grading, research, awards for humanities. It is much too hard to do what needs to be done to be relevant researchers with the work load that we currently carry and no support staff. Much too hard. It is a disservice to the university.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Don’t forget that what we do as professors is to TEACH students- but we are all students. Don’t forget that we have to teach each other, help each other to grow, and not assume that everyone comes with the same equipment or expertise.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I would like the Each One, Teach One Fellowship named after me. It would be an initiative to ensure that first generation students and faculty members be tactfully and skillfully trained in academic culture and climate while retaining a connection to roots and culture.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I would want to have lunch with art students and the Provost. I think it is important that someone with that much influence over university decisions needs to connect with the people he ultimately serves.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Cecilia Milanes. Ilenia Colon Mendoza. Beatriz Reyes Foster. MC Santana.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Melanie Reim and Dorothy Loverro from FIT, for teaching art with rigor, passion and approachability. Whitfield Lovell, whose drawings and installations of forgotten African Americans haunted me and gave my research as an artist a sense of purpose. Visual artist and professor Pepon Osorio, who taught me that the authenticity in my voice is paramount; to own the complexities in my life and allow it to inform my work; to be unapologetic, uncompromising and courageous in my practice.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
My time at the Skowhegan school transformed my art and vision. I had no idea that I was a latent performance artist until I spent 9 weeks with some of the most important artists and scholars I would probably ever meet. I couldn’t believe that I could be accepted to such a prestigious institution based solely on the merit of my work. It was incredibly validating and absolutely life changing.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Did someone say food? J In town, I love Prato and Bosphorus. I also enjoy Cask and Larder.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
I am going to run down a list since I don’t have just one and they range from downright silly to serious: Fright Night. The Exorcist. Shrek. The Lost Boys. Crash. Quills.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
Vacation? What’s that? Umm…. Any place that isn’t work related is great!