Morristown, N.J. (March 3, 2015) – Cristina Mendoza '16 is an emerging artist. When she first visited CSE, she did not have a clear sense of direction, but knew she wanted to continue her education. Cristina visited CSE and felt very welcomed when she chose to spend the night in one of the residence halls. "I was immediately part of their family, everyone made me feel like I was home," she recalls. So Cristina enrolled at CSE as an art major with a minor in psychology. She is a commuter student from Morristown.
"I have had amazing experiences here, especially with the one-to-one time I get with my professors," she says. The intimacy of the community is very supportive with both fellow students and faculty. "I feel as if I am being prepared for the real world," she says. "I am growing personally and professionally with the confidence to branch out and try new mediums in art."
She has taken her artistic skills to the children's ministry in her church where she teaches her young charges to express themselves. While she currently loves this ministry, she does not see herself becoming an art teacher – unless it's at the college or university level. But for right now, she sees herself as an emerging artist and following the path to see where it might lead. Cristina has done her due diligence and knows that to get her art shown, she needs to continue to step out of her comfort zone when creating her pieces in the studio.
Growing up, Cristina moved a lot and learned to appreciate the relationships in her life. She developed her outgoing personality while having to make new friends and keep up with the old ones. "I have learned to truly cherish my family – they have always been there for me and will remain my support system."
Cristina received the Student Academic Leadership award, nominated by her professor and chair of the art department, Dr. Virginia Butera. "I was surprised, but very encouraged," she recalls. "I was working very hard, and it is nice to be recognized for that."
What advice does Cristina have for young women entering college? "No one is making the experience for you. You are creating your own story. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, never stop challenging yourself, and decide to want your dream more than it scares you."