Meet our Faculty
- Cory Bucknam, Adjunct Instructor
Cory Bucknam is an artist and art educator working in Maine, with over 15 years of experience teaching General Art and Gifted and Talented Art. She is active at the local, state, and national levels, designing professional development for art educators in the Greater Sebago Education Alliance, and presenting with the Maine DOE and at both the Maine Art Education Association and National Art Education Association annual conferences. In 2017 she was granted the Monhegan Island Artist Residency for K-12 art educators, and in 2018 was recognized for "Outstanding Service to the Profession" by the Maine Art Education Association. She is a member of the NAEA's School for Art Leaders 2020/2021 cohort, and enjoys working with educators and students of all ages. As a working artist, Cory is a member of the Maine Craft Association, and through her business, Stroudwater Studio, creates ceramic housewares and artwork inspired by the natural textures, colors, and forms found on the coast of Maine. She is fascinated by the microscopic world and the intertidal zone, and her work is an imaginative and tactile interpretation of tide pools and organic forms.
- Rachel Somerville, Director of Art Education Outreach & Program Chair, Assistant Professor
Rachel Somerville holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Davis, where her doctoral work centered on research that bridges the divide among innovation, community, and education, exploring areas of equity within the education system and the impact that mentor programs have on college enrollment and retention for first-generation students. She also investigated the emergence of community workspaces or makerspaces within formal education, specifically examining teachers as early implementers of this movement and the academic conditions that foster creativity. Dr. Somerville’s approach to teaching emphasizes collaboration, creativity, and student voice. Through her experience as a teacher and administrator in a variety of K-12 settings, she believes that quality art programming in the visual arts should be provided by arts specialists and supported by school leaders, classroom teachers, with arts organizations and community programs. She feels that this partnered instruction serves to enhance a collaborative and an authentic approach to learning.
- Heather Nunez-Olmstead, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Heather Nunez-Olmstead is an artist-educator who has decades of walking with students on inclusive Art Learning journeys in the Art room and beyond, as well as engaging in Arts-integrated methods across disciplines in grades Pre-K through Higher Education. Her teaching focus is on educational equity and access, and she is well versed in creating meaningful Arts experiences across instructional modalities, and for a variety of learners. She holds a Bachelor’s of Art in Art Education from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, as well as a Master’s in Curricular & Instructional Strategies from the University of New England. Heather is currently teaching Arts-Integration and Education at the University of Maine Presque Isle. In addition to teaching, Heather is a painter and mixed-media artist, whose work focuses on what we hold sacred as a culture.
- Alicia Uth, Adjunct Instructor
Alicia has years of experience working as an artist/educator with youth from a variety of environments and backgrounds. She has always been drawn to working with students in need of alternative educational options. Ms. Uth spent nearly a decade working at The Met High School in Providence, RI; a progressive student centered high school that focuses on real world learning through hands-on projects and internships. During her time at the Met, she developed an arts advisory in which her classroom was hosted out in the community at the Avenue Concept, an organization that brings public art (murals and sculptures) to downtown Providence. “I believe strongly that the community is our best ‘classroom’, and the most powerful learning happens through experience.” Throughout the years in Providence, Alicia designed and taught courses for the RISD Continuing education program with the focus on art as activism, once again working to empower youth to become active voices in their communities. Since moving to Maine, Alicia has been a teaching artist for SideXSide in Portland and Lewiston; an organization that connects the Arts to the English, Science and Math curriculum in the elementary classroom to engage learners. She has also spent the past five years as the visual arts instructor at the Maine Virtual Academy. Her ultimate objective in the classroom is unlocking students’ curiosity, playfulness, and passion for learning while encouraging them to develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives.