Normally, the College of Arts and Letters honors its nominees for Outstanding Graduating Senior with a banquet. Since that’s not possible this year, we’re letting the public get to know the honorees here on our website.
Vanessa Mora was nominated for outstanding senior by the Art Department. She is an art education major with a minor in Spanish. She has a 3.97 GPA going into her final semester, and will be certified to teach Pre-K through 12th grade upon graduation. She’s from the Phoenix-area, growing up in Queen Creek and graduating from Corona del Sol High School in Tempe. Her accomplishments while in school include an award from the Arizona Art Education Association and being published in SchoolArts.
Vanessa said it’s hard to narrow down a favorite part of her education at NAU. She thoroughly enjoyed all her classes with Dr. Pam Stephens. “I learned so much about myself and what I found important in teaching.” She also discovered a passion for lithography while at NAU thanks to accidentally enrolling in the class. It is now her second-favorite form of art behind painting.
Vanessa said her education while at NAU was not limited to the classroom though. Her greatest life lesson was to be present in the moment and not take anything for granted. “Be grateful for the friends you only talk to in that one class or that person you interact with downtown,” she said. “Always be appreciative of what you have.”
NAU also helped her develop an appreciation for community. She said both the university and Flagstaff provide a feeling of acceptance of her true self. “I believe I would not have had that same sense of belonging had I attended a different school,” she said.
Vanessa is currently doing her student teaching at a high school in Phoenix, where her cooperating teacher reports she is doing an exceptional job and teaches with a skill not often seen in novices. She had a goal of finding a job teaching high school art in the Phoenix area, “but there is something about going back to school for my Master’s that sounds appealing to me,” she said. “I’ll figure it out soon!”