Watson Chronicle


Student Opportunities and Student News

MAT in Art Education Students and Alums Present at NCAEA Conference

Friday, December 02, 2022

Graduate students Gina Jasionowski, Feira Taylor, Erica VanEssendelft and Justin Earp co-presented with Christine Liao at the North Carolina Art Education Association’s Fall 2022 conference, held October 27-30 at Cape Fear Community College. The students are all enrolled in WCE’s MAT in Art Education program. Dr. Liao is an Associate Professor at the Watson College and coordinator of the Art Education program.

“The NCAEA conference provides a great opportunity to network and learn from other art educators,” Liao said. “The MAT in Art Education is an  online program, and none of the students live in Wilmington, but they received a travel award through the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education that enabled them to attend. This conference was first time we all met it person, and it was a wonderful way to build stronger connections among members of the new cohort that began over the summer.”

“At the conference, the students presented their teaching with contemporary art curriculum designs and shared their lesson plans with other art teachers from across North Carolina. The room was packed, with some attendees even having to sit on the floor. They received many positive comments from other art educators,” Liao said. 

Kristen Breyfogle '22M, Alexis Michelle '22M also presented at the NCAEA conference. The alumni, both members of WCE’s inaugural MAT in Art Education cohort, shared their experiences transitioning from intern to first-year teacher.

“I was so proud of our students and recent graduates,” Liao said. “One of our program goals is to cultivate leadership in art education so Alexis and Kristen’s voluntary participation in the conference after graduation shows we are successful in this aspect.”

Renee Otero received the NCAEA’s 2022 Emeritus Art Educator of the Year award, which was presented at the conference. Otero is the intern supervisor for WCE’s MAT in Art Education. She was an art teacher in Onslow country for 28 years before retiring in 2019. She has been a Certified National Board Teacher since 1999 and continues to hold a valid certification. With knowledge of excellent teaching, she also served as an assessor for the national board.

About the MAT in Art Education Program

WCE’s intensive MAT in Art Education program combines online courses with in-person and hands-on field experience to provide maximum flexibility for working professionals. During the final semester, students participate in full-time student teaching under the guidance of a mentor teacher and faculty supervisor. Successful completion of the program prepares students for obtaining NC K-12 art teaching licensure. 

New cohorts begin each semester. Interested individuals can contact program coordinator Dr. Christine Liao at liaoc@uncw.edu or visit the program website