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MAT Candidates AY 2019-2020

Arianna Dilios is a photographer, designer and teacher candidate currently enrolled in the MAT Program at Maine College of Art. Arianna received her B.A. in Studio Art with focuses in Photography and Graphic Design from Wheaton College, MA. Growing up in Portland, Maine, Arianna fostered a passion for design, architecture, the Atlantic coast and how they all intersect. Her attraction to man-made and naturally occurring minimalism informs both of her studio practices and has heavily influenced her visual voice.

Throughout her undergraduate journey Arianna nurtured a passion for mentoring and aiding fellow artists in the development of their own visual voice. After spending time as a graphic designer Arianna made the decision to turn her passions for mentoring and academia into a career as an art teacher.

Karol Carlsen just recently moved to Portland, Maine, and is currently a Teacher Candidate in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, at MECA. She has just graduated with a B. A. from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, with a major in Studio Art, and a Minor in Educational Studies. Here, her body of work focused on portraying aquatic life on a large scale using oil paints. This is largely inspired by her love of spending time on and in the water, both in the Chesapeake Bay and Caribbean. During undergrad Karol has spent her summers teaching at sailing and art camps. She is looking forward to combining her passion for art and education throughout the duration of this program.

Dylan Fruh is a multimedia artist and an MAT teacher candidate from New Jersey. He considers himself an intellectual omnivore, and believes in an interdisciplinary approach to art in which frameworks for approaching visual, textual, sonic and temporal media cross-pollinate. Dylan received a BA in Studio Art from Vassar College in 2017 with a focus on printmaking and video art. After graduating from Vassar he spent some time traveling around the United States following his passions for rock climbing and the natural world. This eventually lead him to teach rock climbing classes at Salt Pump Climbing Co. in Scarborough, Maine, an experience that revealed his affinity for teaching. Dylan decided to meld this newfound interest in teaching with his background in the arts by pursuing a degree in art education at MECA where he hopes to cultivate the skills to run a great art class.

Anne Hayes is a current teacher candidate in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Maine College of Art. Her pursuit of a career in art education stems from her identification as an artist, a teacher and a life-long learner. Her years of experience working with children and adolescents, both at home and abroad, in academic, sports-related, and creative hands-on settings has helped solidify her desire to educate the next generation of young creative thinkers and artists.

In 2016, Anne received her B.A in Visual Arts and French from Fordham University. She has since worked as a High School French Teacher, a K-12 Reading Tutor, a Substitute Teacher, and an English Language Assistant in France. In choosing to pursue a Masters of Arts in Teaching at MECA, Anne took into consideration all of the creative freedom she’s had in her past teaching experiences. She believes that her interdisciplinary background, as well as her passion for the art-making process itself will make her a successful and well-balanced art educator.

Ian Myers is a painter and current MAT candidate at the Maine College of Art. He received his BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2016. In the following two years, Ian was the assistant high school art teacher at the Churchill School and Center, a school for students with learning disabilities in Manhattan. After settling in North Adams, Massachusetts, Ian worked with IS183 and 21st Century programs teaching art at high-need schools throughout Berkshire County. Ian also was a substitute teacher with North Adams Public schools and volunteered with Berkshire Children and Families.

Adrienne Munger is currently a MAT teacher candidate at MECA. She spent her childhood in upstate New York, and now lives in Hollis Center, Maine. Adrienne earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine), where she focused in studio art and poetry. Adrienne’s undergraduate studies collimated in a thesis project based in puppetry, imagination, and creating narrative. Her current studio practice involves drawing, woodblock relief printing, painting, and sewing. Adrienne is thrilled to be a part of MECA’s MAT program where she is excited to learn how to bring her passions of the visual art world to teaching and inspiring children.

Melissa Weglein graduated from MECA in 2019 with a BFA in Painting, with minors in Art History and Drawing, and is now back as a teacher candidate in the Masters of Arts in Teaching Program. Melissa is originally from Canterbury, CT, but over time has come to call Portland her home. In between earning her BFA, Melissa has spent the last four years teaching and interning at various summer camps and programs throughout New England, working in MECA Student Life as a resident assistant, and chatting with customers about knit structures and textiles at The Sock Shack. Melissa is honored and excited to be apart of this year’s MAT cohort, and looks forward to all of the growth and opportunities to come.

Before returning to his home state of Maine to do the MAT program, Jon Rudnicki spent time teaching in a variety of settings around the world. Instructing soccer at clinics and camps at an early age sparked his desire to teach and work with youth. He has also coached tennis, hockey as well as instructed rock climbing in England and the US. His Art History Degree from the University of Maine led him to assist exhibitions at an Art Gallery in St. Louis, MO for 2 years after graduating. Jon has since spent over two and a half years living and working in French and local language in Burkina Faso, West Africa, teaching English and Art to middle school students. In 2011, he taught children at a school in Belgium focused on learning through the creative process.

Jon more recently donates his time by sitting on the board of two humanitarian non-profits, one focusing on water security in West Africa. He comes from spending his last 7 years in admissions at Maine College of Art and has volunteered with Hope House and students from The Portland High School Mentoring program.

Kristen Kaiser came to the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Maine College of Art in the summer of 2019. It has been over twenty years since she was last in an academic setting.
She had never wanted to be a teacher but was advised by those who knew her best that it would an excellent field for her to go into. Because she was naturally good are drawing, she thought. Kristen also knew that wasn’t enough to teach, but she wasn’t sure what.

Kristen received a Fine Art degree in painting from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She found gainful employment and success at several weekly newspapers in Maine and Idaho as a graphic artist and illustrator.

She has taught riding lessons, rock climbing, and was a Maine whitewater guide. Although those are all instructional positions that she enjoyed, Kristen never looked past shared interests with her pupils. It wasn’t until she coached Girls on the Run that she saw she still could find common ground with her students. Kristen is not a runner, but her young team members excelled under her coaching, and Kristen loved the experience. This what she needed to understand that teaching, in general, could be worthwhile.

Seeking a change in lifestyle, she returned to Maine after ten years in Idaho in May 2019. She decided to go back to school to be an art teacher. MECA’s MAT program offered an opportunity for artists to become art teachers and that spoke straight to Kristen’s heart. Her artist identity would be respected and encouraged.

Kristen hopes to find a connection with all her future students and encourage their own spirit and creativity.

Miguel Benitez is a Teacher Candidate in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at the Maine College of Art. Originally from Connecticut, he grew up in and around the art saturated New Haven culture. He earned his Bachelors at Southern Connecticut State University in Studio Art with a concentration in ceramics. In his professional life he has run a small home studio, participated in New Havens annual City Wide Open Studios, was the Upper Art Director at the Audubon Arts Summer Theater Program, taught as a private tutor, and was a middle school art instructor at the Engineering and Science University Magnet School. During instruction his aim has always been to introduce new art mediums or progressively challenging art forms to his students in the hope that they will develop a passion for creative problem solving and original thinking.