By: Maya Johnson

Teachers College had been on my mind for a while after graduating from college. Due to its name, I thought it was primarily for teachers, so I didn’t think about it too seriously until the pandemic. Then, I discovered that a lot of TC graduates go into fields other than teaching (although TC does have robust initial and professional certification tracks for a variety of programs). I took the time to learn more about TC’s 120 programs, and I narrowed it down to three that aligned with my interests and career goals. I ultimately chose to apply to the Art and Art Education M.A. program (non-certification track). 

I wanted to advance my knowledge of inclusive art education as well as explore visual arts through a different lens. The Art and Art Education program is goal-oriented and pertinent to developing the practical and necessary skills to succeed as leaders and changemakers in the arts. Attending TC would enable me to further understand the current ideas surrounding art education, give me a perspective on my previous experience, and direct my commitment to promoting the arts as an educational tool. I was also excited to dive back into creating art through the studio art requirements.

Aside from TC’s renowned reputation, I was also drawn to it because of its location and affiliation with Columbia University. Having grown up in NYC and returning after college, I wanted the opportunity to be a student in the city where I wanted to further my career. I focus on museum education, and NYC is home to some of the best museums in the world. Discussing artworks or exhibitions in class and then being able to see them in person is a unique experience that I do not take for granted. Especially when it comes to visual art, seeing the images on a projected screen is nothing like being able to see them in person. I also knew that TC’s affiliation with Columbia would allow for in-person, hands-on research, through resources like TC’s library, Columbia University’s libraries, and the Ivy League library system. The possibilities felt endless by being able to stay in NYC and take advantage of Columbia University’s resources.

Having now been a student at TC for more than a year, it has exceeded my expectations. My program has provided me with great resources and beyond that, TC goes above and beyond for its students. From the opportunity to attend Broadway shows and other free cultural experiences to the social and academic organizations that allow for connecting with other students outside of my program, there are many things that have made my TC experience so unique. Two years does not feel like enough time to soak it all in, but I am so grateful for this educational experience!

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