Alumni Update with Danielle

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their holiday time. Today will be busy for some, but it’d be great to take a break and read about our next alumni update! This time around will be focused on art education. Art education is important, because it is one of the main influences on children and teenagers to become interested and involved in the arts. Danielle Zito was kind enough to share her insight and experiences about art education!

DANIELLE ZITOHeadshot of Danielle

Graduation Year/Major:
2007 B.A. Art Education, Magna Cum Laude, with a minor in Art History
2015 M.A. Art Education

Marywood Clubs/Organizations: Involvements at MU: Delta Epsilon Sigma, the Marywood Fund 2004-2006, Kidstuff decorations co-chair 2005,  Kidstuff PAEA booth 2006, Co-founder of MU PAEA Student Chapter after a decade of absence in 2005, PAEA Board of Directors Student Representative 2005-2007, photographer and graphic designer for MU String Project newsletter 2004-2005, MU tutoring in art history and philosophy

Current Occupation: I currently teach K -5 Art at Delaware Valley Elementary School in Milford, Pa. I began my career at Delaware Valley in 2007 teaching Painting, Drawing, and Ceramics in the High School. Outside of teaching, I have been involved with Music and Arts Educational Representative Diana Traietta in the creation of children’s book illustrations.

1) What was your favorite part of Marywood?
I loved my entire experience at Marywood University. I selected it over a larger NY university and I am still grateful that I did over a decade later. My favorite part was having small class sizes and dedicated professors. This allowed for a more personalized experience to meet my future career goals.

2) Any advice for current art students at Marywood?
It is never too early to begin seeking out connections in your field. Network and become involved in meaningful clubs and organizations when you arrive on campus. Do not join a dozen clubs just to fill out your resume though. A few select endeavors will be far more beneficial in the long run, not only for gaining actual experience, but your sanity as well. Also, look for and make connections in unlikely places. I openly discussed my future goals and course of study with customers I saw on a weekly basis at the two retail jobs I held while working on my Bachelor’s Degree. I ended up meeting various people in education related fields and even had a serious job offer, from an educational services organization, extended to me based upon those conversations.

3) How did your art education at Marywood help you in your career?
Marywood’s reputation for having an exceptional teacher preparation program led me into my dream career before the state had even awarded my degree. Prior to graduating in May of 2007, I attended a job fair in April. Delaware Valley was one of the schools represented at this particular job fair. The man I met with that day, and who just a few months later ended up hiring me, spoke about how he preferred coming to Marywood to find new teachers because of how well prepared we were.  Furthermore, beyond a positive reputation among school districts, having professors with strong practical knowledge of teaching in a classroom and in the visual arts provided me with the foundation for a successful teaching career.  Ann Marie Castelgrande in particular continues to serve as one of my most inspiring professors and mentors from Marywood University.

4) What is your favorite part about your job?
There are so many things I have enjoyed about my career. At the secondary level, I loved preparing seniors for future art careers and delving into the intricacies behind their artwork. At the elementary level, I love seeing the enthusiasm and excitement of children when showing them an art concept or technique for the very first time. At all age levels, I have loved truly making a difference in the lives of individual students. I realized quickly, it is not just about teaching the visual arts. You work with, and become invested in, students through their personal development, joys, successes and even tragedies. It is about cultivating individuals for our future.

5)  What made you decide to major in art education?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher by the time I entered second grade.  The visual arts had always been important to me, but it was in 2001 that my high school art teachers, Nikki Corgel and Sean Bowers, inspired me to pursue a career in art education specifically. Seeing how the visual arts could be used in so many positive and influential ways in the lives of young people and in general society made it clear that I needed to pursue an Art Education degree.

All images are courtesy of Danielle Zito

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN STUDYING ART EDUCATION?

UNDERGRADUATE: Marywood’s art education program develops teachers who are competent in studio art, art history, aesthetics, and art criticism. Our bachelor’s degree in art education leads to K-12 certification. LEARN MORE

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