Connections Past Issues

Why I Teach


Mitch Messina, M.F.A.

Professor of Art

Back in high school, I was a typical lost student. I struggled in the traditional academic classroom, my unorthodox intellectual curiosity and my emotional and physical intelligence waiting to find a voice. There were plenty of thoughts in my head, but I didn’t know how to get them out.

Art became my new voice. My ceramics teachers in high school and college reached out and said, “You can do this.” They saw in me the potential that I could not see in myself. My artistic voice communicated for me in ways that I could not have imagined. What I had to say had impact and was important. People noticed my sculpture. I was learning to make sense of the world around me by making art. Most importantly, these mentors started me down a pathway that ultimately led back to the classroom.

This is why I teach, to pay it forward. Every day, I hope to be instrumental in helping at least one student find their right pathway. I teach to give back a piece of what was given to me.