Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistants

Daniel Staggs

School of Theatre, Film & Television and College of Fine Arts

“Since his arrival to our program in the Fall of 2019, Daniel has impressed me with his curiosity, work ethic, and tenacity, skills that served him well as we weathered the complications brought on by the ongoing COVID crisis.”

Daniel’s Full Nomination Letter

On behalf of the Design and Technology faculty, it is with great enthusiasm that I nominate Daniel Staggs for the Outstanding Teaching Assistant. Daniel is a third-year graduate student, working towards a Master of Fine Arts in Theatrical Production, with an emphasis in Technical Direction. Since his arrival to our program in the Fall of 2019, Daniel has impressed me with his curiosity, work ethic, and tenacity, skills that served him well as we weathered the complications brought on by the ongoing COVID crisis.

In the middle of his second semester and throughout much of his second year, Daniel’s schoolwork moved to an online format, limiting his production work opportunities. Over that year and a half, he worked diligently to find new ways to enhance his learning within this new paradigm. We spent much of the Spring 2020 semester working with new drafting software that allowed him to explore the field of technical design in a more sophisticated electronic 3D environment.

As the Graduate Teaching Assistant for T AR 111, Introduction to Stagecraft, he has been exemplary; First while transitioning the online format, and then in the Fall 2020 semester, implementing the course as modified for remote teaching over Zoom. His kind nature, seemingly endless patience, and inherent humor make him highly accessible to all the students he encounters.

In the middle of the Spring of 2020, the School of Theatre, Film, and Television resumed production work on our newly purchased outdoor staging system. Daniel assumed the technical director role for the two productions we endeavored to produce, and I was amazed by how well he picked up that mantle after being out of a shop for so long. Again, his quiet nature belied his ability to preside over the process of bringing a show to fruition. He managed the expectations of the generative artistic team while also focusing on the needs of his crew.

In the summer of 2020, Daniel worked as the Technical Director for Jean’s Playhouse in the North Country Center for the A1is. In that role, he implemented the skills he acquired in his coursework to oversee the construction, installation, and removal of a six-show summer season. This unde1iaking would be demanding for any grad student, but the task was even more daunting for one who lost most of his oppo1tunities to take the lead on shows. In January 2021, I had a chance to speak with Rob Mercier, the Producing Director of Jean’s Playhouse, about Daniel. In that conversation, Rob went on and on about Daniel’s demeanor and skill set. Rob was so impressed that he reached out to me to establish a more concrete link between our department and his organization.

Over the winter break of 2021, the department assigned Daniel his master’s report. This assignment is a paper project that involves creating planning documents and technical drawings for a show of my choosing. I chose “Becoming Nancy for Daniel’s project,” produced initially at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA. Daniel’s presentation of his work was outstanding. The detail in the planning and scheduling documents was exceptional, as was the drawing package he submitted. When Daniel arrived at the U of A, he had little to no drafting experience. For his master’s report, not only did he provide a dozen precise and well-executed technical drawings, but he also produced an animation of a piece of moving scenery, utilizing the software he studied while learning remotely during COVID.

Without hesitation, I submit Daniel’s name for consideration for the receipt of this award. He is truly outstanding and a joy to work with. I am honored to have been a pa1t of his journey and education.

Sincerely,
Ted Kraus M.Ed., PMP (He Series)
Associate Professor
Technical Director

Deborah Ruiz

Raven Moffett

School of Art

“Raven’s identity as a ‘third culture, biracial and diasporic ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ/ (Blackfoot) white queer artist’ is deeply tethered to her research and scholarship—which she shares with her students— establishing a role model for many of our underrepresented students. Raven has worked hard to become a part of the broader art academic community, sharing her research with that community as well.”

Raven’s Full Nomination Letter

It is with great enthusiasm that I write this letter of nomination in support of Raven Moffett for the CFA Outstanding GTA award. Raven was named the School of Art Outstanding GTA after the School of Art Honors & Awards Committee voted unanimously in support of her nomination.

Raven is a graduate student in the School of Art’s Photo / Video / Imaging program and her current GPA is 4.0. I have worked closely with Raven throughout the last three years as her Professor and as her direct supervisor for her several of her Graduate Teaching Assistant positions in the First Year Experience program. Needless to say, working with her in these capacities has given me a very thorough understanding of her dedication to our students as well as the depth of her involvement in our program. In addition to the pursuit of her MFA in Studio Art, Raven has completed a Museum Studies Graduate Certificate.

My first encounter working with Raven was in the 2019 Fall Semester. She was a teaching assistant for my course, Experience (an introductory course). This is where I first witnessed her confidence and agility leading a group of students. Following that, Raven taught numerous ART100C Gaze courses in the First Year Experience (8 total) and one Digital Photography course for the Photo / Video / and Imaging program. Our teaching appointments are competitive, and Raven always received the top ranking from the appointment committee.

Raven’s identity as a “third culture, biracial and diasporic ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ/ (Blackfoot) white queer artist” is deeply tethered to her research and scholarship—which she shares with her students— establishing a role model for many of our underrepresented students. Raven has worked hard to become a part of the broader art academic community, sharing her research with that community as well. This includes her participation in the following panel discussions:

  • Raven was a panelist at an online webinar at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts called To Remain Connected
  • Raven was a panelist at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference, speaking on the panel, Indigenous Adaptation. Raven is also scheduled to present at the 2022 Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference
  • Raven has been a participant at three Society for Photographic Education Conferences

Raven has had consistently strong Student Course Surveys that illustrate her student’s confidence in her leadership. The students not only clearly communicated that they felt respected and learned a lot about the subject, but additionally, produced high-quality portfolios of photography under Raven’s steady tutelage. The artwork produced by the students in her courses consistently illustrates a dedicated and expert teacher stewarding her students through conceptual development and technical expertise. Raven includes examples of her student work
on her website

Because some of our critiques occur in the hallway near my office, I have frequently been able to observe Raven teaching. She is a high-energy teacher, articulate, supportive, and keeps the class moving. She is a thoughtful teacher and an excellent gateway into the School of Art for our undergraduate freshmen.

Always a leader, Raven has been an active representative for the School of Art graduates on the Graduate Representative Council. She is also is the graduate representative on the Visiting Artist and Scholar lecture series committee. She sets an example, and this extends into her private life as a citizen, where she volunteers at Tucson Food Share.

Raven is one of our most experienced GTAs and has long been a clear leader of her cohort of Graduate Teaching Assistants. She was always quick to offer her time to our less experienced teachers—always offering her guidance and feedback on classroom issues, syllabi structure, and projects. Many of them were taken under her wing and we will miss the positive impact she has had on our program and its students.
In addition to receiving the School of Art Outstanding GTA award, Raven was awarded a Museum Studies Research Prize in 2021. She also was the recipient of the very competitive University Fellows Award in 2019.

I am proud of everything that Raven has accomplished, and I know that her successes here only mark the beginning of what will invariably be an exciting career. Her work here, in all regards, has been above and beyond. From my description above, I think that you will find it only natural that I recommend Raven Moffett for the Outstanding Graduate Teacher award. Raven has been an extremely devoted teacher for the School of Art, and she is a fantastic representative of the University. Her incoming cohort was the first class directly impacted by the pandemic, the impacts of which have carried through her entire career here. In the face of these unprecedented times, she has excelled with grace. Her determination is unflappable. If you should have any further questions regarding Ms. Moffett, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,
Gary Setzer
Professor & Program Chair, First Year Experience School of Art

Jason Hortin

School of Dance

“I am honored to have been able to work with him over the past two years – what he brings to the dance program elevates the level of our graduate and undergraduate program. I have witnessed his courage, tenacity, and dedication to his education, teaching, creative and scholarly research during his first year of graduate school, all while being long-distance with his wife and son who are still in Chicago. I am thrilled to be nominating him for this wonderful award as he is a true artist that immerses himself in his creative work and is willing to make sacrifices to attain his goals.”

Jason’s Full Nomination Letter

It is my pleasure to nominate Jason Hortin as Outstanding GTA for the School of Dance. Jason is a unique and a beautifully creative artist. His level of artistry and creative research is advancing the boundaries of our artform. He is truly inspiring to all the faculty and students here at UA School of Dance. He has had an outstanding career dancing with Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago for 10 years. Hubbard Street is one of the top contemporary dance companies in the world. Jason has been able to share his professional experiences with our students at UA Dance.  He has been an incredible addition to our UA Dance family. I am honored to have been able to work with him over the past two years – what he brings to the dance program elevates the level of our graduate and undergraduate program. I have witnessed his courage, tenacity, and dedication to his education, teaching, creative and scholarly research during his first year of graduate school, all while being long-distance with his wife and son who are still in Chicago. I am thrilled to be nominating him for this wonderful award as he is a true artist that immerses himself in his creative work and is willing to make sacrifices to attain his goals. 

In addition to being a very talented choreographer and performer, Jason is an outstanding student in every way. He is an excellent teacher, as well. Because of COVID19 and rules regarding social distancing, UA School of Dance has had to add additional technique classes to our normal schedule to accommodate our dance majors. Concurrently, we have had 4 faculty members retire or leave in the past two years. Jason has stepped in to teach our dance major classes in jazz dance technique and modern dance technique. Without Jason’s help with the dance majors’ classes, there would have been a huge loss.  Jason handles himself with ease and a strong sense of professionalism, and has proven to be an exceptional educator. Not only has Jason been a superior Teaching Assistant for our dance program, he also beautifully embodies the equal emphasis placed upon both artistry and scholarship that is so deeply fundamental to the mission of the College of Fine Arts. Jason has sustained teaching excellence in every possible arena of our program: from large-lecture general education courses; to assisting faculty as either Teaching Assistant or Rehearsal Director for our upcoming performances of the Frank Chavez Masterwork Habaneros, to teaching a variety of dance technique classes to the very large non-major population served by the School of Dance. He has been outstanding… always ready to take on a new challenge and meeting each of these challenges head-on with skill, brilliance, grace, and even more importantly, with gratitude and generosity. These achievements are all the more remarkable considering he has been balancing all of this while also staging Penny Saunder’s choreography at Point Park University in the fall. During a two-week guesting position at Point Park, Jason was able to cast and stage Penny Saunder’s work, and teach the BFA Dance Majors.  Penny Saudner’s piece was performed in one of Point Park’s BFA season performances.

We in the School of Dance have been honored to both work with, and learn from, Jason Hortin and we are proud to nominate Jason for Outstanding GTA in The School of Dance. He is courageous, dedicated, and an inspiration for us all.

Sincerely,

Tamara Dyke-Compton (She/Her/Hers)
Associate Professor, School of Dance
Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate Coordinator

Xuxiang Zou

Fred Fox School of Music

“In the 2020-21 academic year, Xuxiang studied remotely, from China, taking her courses and lessons in the middle of the night. Her motivation and desire to learn and grow as a choral conductor were remarkable. In her lessons we worked through a major work, with profound analysis and also focus on gesture. The most impressive aspect of Xuxiang’s work in this capacity was her ability to deeply understand and integrate each concept into her work as a conductor, and to come back the next week able to apply what she had learned to new materials. During the 2020-21 year, Xuxiang submitted an audition for the ACDA National Graduate Student Conducting Competition and she was awarded one of the four spots for this high honor. The master class was presented online and she represented herself, the choral program and the University of Arizona in excellent fashion on this national stage.”

Xuxiang’s Full Nomination Letter

I write this letter of nomination for Xuxiang Zou for the Outstanding GTA Award and I am pleased to do so. I have known Xuxiang since she began her doctoral studies in choral conducting at UA in fall 2020. This year her graduate teaching assistantship included leadership of Treble Glee and assistance with Arizona Choir. Xuxiang is an exceptional student, a masterful conductor and an outstanding GTA. She is most worthy of this award.

In the 2020-21 academic year, Xuxiang studied remotely, from China, taking her courses and lessons in the middle of the night. Her motivation and desire to learn and grow as a choral conductor were remarkable. In her lessons we worked through a major work, with profound analysis and also focus on gesture. The most impressive aspect of Xuxiang’s work in this capacity was her ability to deeply understand and integrate each concept into her work as a conductor, and to come back the next week able to apply what she had learned to new materials. During the 2020-21 year, Xuxiang submitted an audition for the ACDA National Graduate Student Conducting Competition and she was awarded one of the four spots for this high honor. The master class was presented online and she represented herself, the choral program and the University of Arizona in excellent fashion on this national stage.

Based on her exceptional work, I awarded Xuxiang a GTA and leadership of Treble Glee for the 2021-22 academic year. At the beginning of the fall semester Xuxiang also was assigned to prepare and perform a program with Recital Choir. This is a lab ensemble and in every rehearsal, as I worked with Xuxiang, she added to the skills and abilities we had worked on the previous year. She grew exponentially through this process in her ability to internalize the score, plan effective rehearsals, really hear and appropriately respond to what was happening in rehearsals, and to adapt subsequent plans. I have never seen a student grow as much as she did in such a short time. She came into our program having masterful gestural language and she applied it with great power and beauty on the recital. The well-prepared performance jumped considerably in confidence, artfulness and expression based on her conducting, and her peers were effusive in their admiration of her gesture.

In the fall, the numbers for Treble Glee were understandably quite low. This ensemble is made up of non music majors and is open to anyone, regardless of whether they read music or have been in choir before. Xuxiang applied all the things she had learned from the previous year and all the new things she learned from her Recital Choir experience as well. In this small, inexpert group, she fostered beautiful, healthy singing; part independence, confidence, unified sound, balance, good pitch and expressive performing. The ensemble grew substantially and presented a beautifully performed program at the end of the semester. Through this process, Xuxiang also learned about how best to serve a population of students who were in choir to form bonds and to have an outlet from their other courses. She learned how to balance her own desire for them to succeed musically at a high level with their needs for fun and community. I was very pleasantly surprised by the level of performance she was able to achieve with this small group, and the amount of growth that each individual in it showed as well. They were fittingly proud of and delighted by their performance.

The program featured a good range of repertoire to help the students succeed but also grow, and to encounter music from different eras and traditions, including “classical” works like the medieval music of the Llibre Vermell, William Boyce’s Alleluia canon, and a partsong by Fanny Hensel; contemporary works featuring women’s voices including the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the music of Susan LaBarr, and works representing Black and Latin American voices and traditions as well. The concert was a collaboration with the 40-voice Arizona Women’s Chorus, and Xuxiang conducted two pieces performed by the combined choirs. She worked with the two groups on the dress rehearsal to improve and elevate their music-making, and again conducted with clear, artful and compelling gesture on the performance, inspiring the best of all the singers. Xuxiang is off to a wonderful start with her singers again in this spring semester, and I look forward to experiencing the concert at the end of the semester, this time a collaboration with Arizona Women’s Chorus and Tucson Women’s Chorus.

In addition to her work with this ensemble, Xuxiang has provided capable leadership and support in the administration of Arizona Choir this year, keeping attendance records and keeping track of communication from students – a complicated task in this particular year. During the beginning of the spring semester, when I became ill with COVID myself, I asked Xuxiang on very short notice to take over rehearsal of two new pieces for soprano and alto sectionals. Xuxiang is not one of the section leaders for the choir, but I only found out at 10 am that someone would need to take rehearsal at 2 pm that day so I asked her. The section leader gave a glowing review of Xuxiang’s work and asked that she lead again the next day. On the third day, I asked Xuxiang to rehearse both works with the full choir. Her exceptional work in her lessons and with the other two choirs made me confident that she would succeed and help the choir on track in my absence.

Xuxiang’s work as a GTA has been a vital and remarkable part of the success of the choral program. I’m so honored and grateful to have her as a student and to know her. She is positive, kind, funny, generous and supportive. She is a curious and critical thinker, very bright, disciplined and hard-working. I give her my highest and unqualified recommendation for this award.

Thank you for your consideration,
Elizabeth Schauer

Outstanding Seniors

Katie Baird

Fred Fox School of Music & College of Fine Arts

“Throughout her time at the Fred Fox School of Music, Katie has continually demonstrated her commitment to excellence in everything she does. In Fall 2021, she was selected to receive the undergraduate Creative Achievement Award from the School of Music, in Spring 2021, she was named the Presser Scholar for the School of Music, and in 2020 she was awarded the Shirley and Maurice J. Sevigny First Generation Scholarship by the University of Arizona in recognition of her academic achievement thus far. As a violist, she has had the opportunity to perform for some of the world’s most celebrated violists, including international viola soloist Kim Kashkashian and former violist of the Grammy-award winning Cleveland Quartet Martha Strongin Katz.”

Katie’s Full Nomination Letter

I am thrilled to be able to nominate Katie Baird for the Outstanding Senior Award. I have known Katie since the fall of 2019, when I joined the faculty at the University of Arizona and became her applied viola professor. Katie is probably the most hard-working, dedicated student I have ever taught, and I believe she is an excellent candidate for this prestigious award.

Throughout her time at the Fred Fox School of Music, Katie has continually demonstrated her commitment to excellence in everything she does. In Fall 2021, she was selected to receive the undergraduate Creative Achievement Award from the School of Music, in Spring 2021, she was named the Presser Scholar for the School of Music, and in 2020 she was awarded the Shirley and Maurice J. Sevigny First Generation Scholarship by the University of Arizona in recognition of her academic achievement thus far. As a violist, she has had the opportunity to perform for some of the world’s most celebrated violists, including international viola soloist Kim Kashkashian and former violist of the Grammy-award winning Cleveland Quartet Martha Strongin Katz. In 2021, she was also named as an alternate for two online masterclasses during the pandemic, both of which received audition applications from around the world. The first of these international masterclass competitions was to play for Milan Milisavljević, the principal violist of the MET Opera Orchestra. The second was for violist David Harding as part of the organization Music to Save Humanity. This masterclass opportunity went through several rounds of auditions and as a finalist, Katie is given mentorship and support by the organization to develop an outreach project. Katie’s project is an outgrowth of a podcast she started in the spring of 2021. Katie’s podcast, Beyond the Score, profiles living composers from traditionally underrepresented groups through interviews with the composers and performances of their works, the first episode of which aired in May 2021. In expanding this project through Music to Save Humanity, she plans to include student composer/ performer collaborations to highlight the next generation of composers.

Katie is also emerging as a leader among her generation of violists and has done considerable volunteer work in this regard. Here at the University of Arizona, she has served as a College of Fine Arts Ambassador since 2020. In early 2021, she was chosen from a competitive field of applications to serve on the Youth Advisory Council of the American Viola Society. The YAC is an arm of the American Viola Society Board of Directors made up of student and pre-professional violists from around the country. They determine and lead their own programming for violists on a national level, and also advise the Board of Directors on matters relevant to pre-professional violists. As part of this, she helped to start and coordinate the Young Artists Spotlight Series, which further expands the work of her podcast by hosting a donation- based concert series online to highlight the works of marginalized composers. They hosted their first concert in summer 2021 and the second in October 2021, with Katie’s performances featured in both concerts.

Katie’s interest in the work of underrepresented composers began in the summer of 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests. I led an all-volunteer team of violists in developing a database of music for viola by underrepresented composers, of which Katie was a team member. The database (housed on the American Viola Society website) has nearly 1600 works by over 500 composers and of everyone on the team, Katie did more work towards developing this resource than anyone else. She single-handedly added over 800 of the works included in the database, which required extensive research and time, including working from sources entirely in Spanish. It is no exaggeration to say that this database would not exist without the immense time and effort Katie put into it. In the summer of 2021, Katie and the database team were selected to give a

presentation on this work for the American Viola Society 2021 Festival, the biennial professional conference for violists. The 2021 Festival was presented online to an international viewership. Katie also co-authored an article on the development of this database (with fellow student Dorthea Stephenson), which was published in the Fall 2021 edition of the Journal of the American Viola Society, a peer-reviewed journal and the only scholarly American journal dedicated to the viola.

Since the moment I started working with Katie, I have been very impressed with her work ethic, attention to detail, and her desire to improve as a musician. She has made outstanding progress in her artistry, technique, tone, vibrato use, intonation, and musicality since she began studying with me. Every time she performs in studio class, the other students are astounded at how much improvement she has made. She holds herself to a very high standard and comes to every lesson very prepared and always enthusiastic about continuing to improve. This level of dedication exemplifies the commitment Katie brings to everything she does. Her outstanding level of achievement is doubly impressive given that most of her undergraduate career has been dominated by the pandemic, and her home living situation has been considerably more challenging than many students’ during this time for a variety of reasons. Despite these enormous barriers, she has continued to excel.

I would be thrilled for Katie to receive this honor in recognition of all her hard work, artistic and academic excellence, leadership positions, and extensive volunteer work in the local and national music communities. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Dr. Molly Gebrian, DMA

Deborah Ruiz

Ryann Squires

School of Art

“Ryann is the finest Art History undergraduate major the current Art History faculty has had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring in recent memory. Professor Paul Ivey affirms she has the potential to be one of the best of visual culture scholars of her generation as she leaves UA to enter an art history PhD program (with acceptance at one major program and waiting to hear from others). She is a remarkable young scholar of great intelligence, creativity, and energy, with superb analytical skills, and a drive to understand complex theoretical and historical materials inside and outside the art history discipline. In addition, Ryann is an outstanding leader among her peers and is actively engaged with the UA and Tucson communities.”

Ryann’s Full Nomination Letter

We are pleased to congratulate Ryann N. Squires as the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award for

May 2022 in the School of Art and present her as an excellent candidate for the College of Fine Arts’ Outstanding Senior Award. Ryann is the finest Art History undergraduate major the current Art History faculty has had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring in recent memory. Professor Paul Ivey affirms she has the potential to be one of the best of visual culture scholars of her generation as she leaves UA to enter an art history PhD program (with acceptance at one major program and waiting to hear from others). She is a remarkable young scholar of great intelligence, creativity, and energy, with superb analytical skills, and a drive to understand complex theoretical and historical materials inside and outside the art history discipline. In addition, Ryann is an outstanding leader among her peers and is actively engaged with the UA and Tucson communities.

Ryann is an Honors College student with a 4.0 GPA, majoring in Art History and on the Dean’s List with distinction since her first year at UA. She has demonstrated her commitment to interdisciplinarity by augmenting her major area work with two minors in English Literature and Classics and with language competency in Latin and French. She is currently writing an Honors Art History thesis on “Museums as Sites of Protest” under the direction of Professor Irene Romano. She comes to every meeting prepared with insightful comments and probing questions, having delved into the literature on various topics related to politics, social history, the history of museums, theories of institutional change, protest movements, and art as a form of protest. We anticipate that this thesis will be an important, well-researched, and beautifully written contribution, worthy of an emerging scholar in art history. In December 2021

Ryann’s paper entitled “No Justice, No Peace”: The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Repatriation of African Art and Artifacts was selected for first prize in a Museum Studies Research Paper competition hosted by the School of Art, but open to students from across the university. She presented her paper before an audience of faculty, students, museum curators, and the general public in a professional manner, confidently and articulately fielding questions. She is an excellent researcher and writer, authoring outstanding research papers in various classes, including one of the best Professor Ivey has read in the past 25 years, entitled “Abandoning Idealist Notions of Art: The U.S. AIDS Epidemic and the Art of Activism.” In an Independent Study with Professor Stacie Widdifield, Ryann designed a module for an ideal art history platform for undergraduates, entitled: Artlamatio: An Engaging Approach to Art History, showing her commitment to and interest in art history pedagogy and digital modalities for 21st century scholarship and teaching.

Ryann has shown an exemplary commitment to social justice issues, especially LGBTQ+, women’s rights, and civil rights, displayed in nearly every research paper she has written and in her extracurricular activities.

The planned focus area of her PhD research in art history is queer studies and museum studies, as she aspires to a museum curatorial career. She is an engaged thinker and an empathetic listener, serious about the impact of visual culture on society.

In addition to her impressive scholarship, Ryann has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and has participated as an engaged citizen of the UA community as founder and now President of the Feminist Literary Society at UA. She is an officer of the undergraduate Art History Club, is a volunteer writing tutor in the UA Think Tank, leading a team of peer tutors through weekly trainings and discussions and acting as the site supervisor for weekly shifts, and is a College of Fine Arts Ambassador, volunteering at events throughout the arts community. She is also engaged with the Tucson museum community, and has held internships in the University of Arizona Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and, currently, in the Tucson Museum of Art. After her Museum of Contemporary Art internship, her faculty representative wrote: “She was focused, professional, and helped create databases in support of the museum’s mission and interfaced with the public with respect and ease. I could not have been more impressed.”

We in the School of Art are equally impressed! The School of Art enthusiastically endorses Ryann N. Squires as a most worthy recipient of the College of Fine Arts’ Outstanding Senior Award for May 2022.

Sincerely,
Irene Bald Romano, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History, School of Art

Mia Rosin

School of Dance

“During her time at the University of Arizona, Mia has studied as a dual-degree student, obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with and emphasis in Illustration while achieving a GPA of 4.0 and the Dean’s List with Distinction in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, with Highest Academic Distinction in the latter three years. Mia is an exceptionally talented student and has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards in both Dance and Art, including the Max A. and Clara E. Springer University of Arizona Arts Scholarship, The Gayle McNeil Award, The Friends and Family of Albert Haldeman Scholarship, and the Wildcat Excellence Scholarship.”

Mia’s Full Nomination Letter

It is my absolute pleasure to nominate Mia Rosin as the Outstanding Senior representing the School of Dance at the University of Arizona.

During her time at the University of Arizona, Mia has studied as a dual-degree student, obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with and emphasis in Illustration while achieving a GPA of 4.0 and the Dean’s List with Distinction in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, with Highest Academic Distinction in the latter three years. Mia is an exceptionally talented student and has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards in both Dance and Art, including the Max A. and Clara E. Springer University of Arizona Arts Scholarship, The Gayle McNeil Award, The Friends and Family of Albert Haldeman Scholarship, and the Wildcat Excellence Scholarship.

Mia is an exceptionally talented dancer with a work ethic to match. In the School of Dance, Mia conducts herself with the utmost distinction, and demonstrates a strong desire to grow in her artform. I have had the privilege to have Mia in several of my pieces, and found to her to be a gracious collaborator, and a versatile mover. The ease with which she makes difficult movement vocabulary seem pedestrian, and the grace with which she achieves the effect, are something to behold, and quite rare. Mia is a frequent face in our mainstage productions, and has had the opportunity to perform in numerous masterworks by world-renowned choreographers including George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Paul Taylor’s Runes, Nacho Duato’s Na Floresta, and Frank Chavez’s Habaneras, the Music of Cuba. Additionally, Mia has appeared in several faculty works by Amy Ernst, Elizabeth George-Fesch, Autumn Eckman, Hayley Meier, and myself. Respected by grad students, and undergraduate students alike, Mia frequently appears in student works.

In addition to her studies at the University of Arizona, Mia has trained with many prestigious organizations, often on scholarship, including Batsheva Dance Company, Hubbard Dance Chicago, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts. She has worked with leaders in the field of dance including Jim Vincent (Nederlands Dans Theater, Hubbard Street), Dante Puleio (Limón Dance Company), Alonzo King, Nilas Martins (New York City Ballet), Frank Chavez (River North Dance Chicago), Linda Kent (Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey), and Yin Yue (YYDC).

Mia’s talent extends beyond our dance studios, and across the campus. In the Fall ’21 semester, one of Mia’s animations was screened at The Loft Cinema during the “What’s Up, Docs?” premier. The animation was a 30 second stop motion (around 400 frames) about Personal Structures. Per Mia’s Artist Statement regarding the piece, “This work explores how the physical body can express emotions that are even difficult to verbalize and shows how the mind and soul can exceed the internal boundaries through the physical movement of the body.” To be so adept at multiple art forms epitomizes what it means to be Wildcat, and the ability to bridge the two worlds reflects well on Mia, and by extension, the College of Fine Arts.
Along with her undeniable dedication and leadership qualities, Mia is an active participant in the Tucson and Phoenix communities. As a former member of Chi Omega Zeta Beta Sorority, Mia has participated in fundraising events to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. She has also volunteered her time collecting and packaging food for the High Holidays at Temple Chai in Phoenix in 2018, and 2019.

I proudly nominate Mia Rosin as the Outstanding Senior for the School of Dance. I feel strongly that she not only represents the best of the School of Dance, but of the College of Fine Arts. Her talent, dedication, and work ethic make her a prime ambassador for the University of Arizona, and in her luminous future, she will represent exactly what it means to be a Wildcat.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Christopher Compton
Assistant Professor of Dance

Nika Bogorad

School of Theatre, Film & Television

“Nika is an inspiring example of UA citizenship, enthusiastically involved in leadership roles for service activities. She is a notable member of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, liaising between students and faculty to help craft a DEI statement for the TFTV department, as well as creating and marketing the first of its kind art salon by and for marginalized students to showcase their work. Additionally, Nika was a leader on the Executive Board for the Delta Kappa Alpha Cinematic Society, where she helped organize philanthropic events to introduce and educate other students in the diverse offering of film and television employment, including trips to Los Angeles to tour studios and meet with executives. She wore multiple hats on the Executive Board, including Programming Chair, Fundraising Chair, and Retreat Chair. Nika has also collaborated on numerous student productions in a myriad of roles, including Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Sound Mixer, and Assistant Director.”

Nika’s Full Nomination Letter

The Film and Television Program in the School of Theatre, Film and Television is honored to present the Film & Television Outstanding Senior: Nika Bogorad. As a distinguished BFA student in Film and Television and a minor in Psychology, Nika excels through a perceptive intelligence, diligence, and authenticity. Faculty concur that Nika is a superior scholar, a campus leader in and outside her courses, and actively involved in impressive service activities.

Nika’s industriousness and work ethic have positioned her as a classroom leader in engaging discussions with faculty and peers. With a 4.0 GPA — Dean’s List with Highest Academic Distinction every year at the University — she is slated to graduate summa cum laude. Moreover, Nika’s scholarly accomplishments resulted in her being a 2020 Finalist for the Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as being honored with multiple scholarships, such as the Albert Haldemann, Eirene Lamb Memorial, Lorena DeSanctis McDuff, and Wildcat Excellence.

Nika is an inspiring example of UA citizenship, enthusiastically involved in leadership roles for service activities. She is a notable member of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, liaising between students and faculty to help craft a DEI statement for the TFTV department, as well as creating and marketing the first of its kind art salon by and for marginalized students to showcase their work. Additionally, Nika was a leader on the Executive Board for the Delta Kappa Alpha Cinematic Society, where she helped organize philanthropic events to introduce and educate other students in the diverse offering of film and television employment, including trips to Los Angeles to tour studios and meet with executives. She wore multiple hats on the Executive Board, including Programming Chair, Fundraising Chair, and Retreat Chair. Nika has also collaborated on numerous student productions in a myriad of roles, including Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Sound Mixer, and Assistant Director.

Nika is well-regarded amongst the TFTV faculty and staff as the go-to student when a superior volunteer is needed, whether its meeting with prospective students or simply moving chairs for an event. Impressively, Nika was also selected to be a preceptor, where she further enhanced her academic career via researching clips for class screenings, providing feedback on scripts and screen studies, and compiling valuable production resources for her peers. Her unending community spirit and outstanding leadership have made her a celebrated fixture of our School.

Nika has balanced a rigorous academic schedule with active job experiences, including working as a writing and language tutor for C.A.T.S. Academics, where she aided in developing literacy skills through individual and group tutoring. She has also worked as a personal caregiver for elderly clients, helping them with daily living activities, as well as chaperoning clients to medical visits where she often serves as a translator between Russian and English. Additionally, Nika worked in the University of Arizona Bookstores as a Textbook Buying Assistant.

Laying the groundwork for a future Hollywood career, Nika also secured a prestigious internship with the celebrated management company, Luber Roklin Entertainment Company. For that internship, she was first vetted and selected by FTV faculty to be a representative of University excellence.

Impressively, Nika will be a first-generation college graduate. She was raised in poverty by a single mother who was a non-English speaking immigrant. Moreover, many of Nika’s creative projects have centered on the voices of LGBTQ people — and she hopes to bring her unique perspective to film and television, highlighting stories of those who might not otherwise have a voice.

The Film & Television faculty is extraordinarily pleased and honored to have Nika in our program. Not only is she a determined go-getter, but she also routinely demonstrates an impressive intellectual drive — a student who epitomizes the teaching ideal. Her scholarship, leadership, and citizenship make Nika a model student of distinction at the University of Arizona. Nika will not only excel wherever her career takes her, but she will also elevate any company or organization fortunate to have her.

Best,
Shane Riches
Professor of Practice, TFTV