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Graduating senior begins career in Columbia

December 12, 2013

By Amber Surdam/Stephens College Senior

From an undecided declaration to a graphic design major, graduating senior Taylor Hill found her place among children, art and teaching.

During her sophomore year, she decided she wanted to be an artist and a teacher, so she changed her major to liberal arts with concentrations in visual arts and early education. Hill started working as an art teacher at Montessori Children’s School in Columbia earlier this month.

Hill discovered Montessori Children’s School through Stephens’ Career Services office. She needed to find a job, but she didn’t want to do just anything. After weeks of searching, numerous phone calls and persistence, Hill got an interview in October. Two months later, she received a phone call, letting her know she got the job. She will now take nine months of additional classes to obtain a teaching certificate.

Hill credited courses she’s already taken for preparing her to draft lesson plans.

“My advanced printmaking and independent class really helped me understand different methods to teach hard techniques to children,” she said.

She did a lot of practicums with the Stephens College Children School and learned through trial and error what works best with young children. She knows they want to play, make things and paint and  knows children think being creative is “cool.” But she also knows with 20- to 30-minute attention spans, keeping children interested is a challenge. Still, Hill sees it as an adventure.

In her art classes at Stephens, she worked on a variety of pieces, including a mask that she created in October. The mask isn’t for Halloween but it instead represents the troubling environment, she said. Another one of her pieces is a transparency project made from silk, thread, and picture and word clippings from a magazine.

Hill created a technique to teach young children cubism, impressionism and basic color theory. She started with cotton and muslin fabric squares. She used Vincent Van Gogh’s the Starry Night, Camille Pissarro’s Fields, Claude Monet’s the Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog), and Barnett Newman’s End of Silence as models for her technique study. Using the original works of art, she recreated them using a basic color palette.

From St. Louis, Hill attended an all-girls high school and said Stephens felt like her second home immediately. She wanted to do something creative and declared herself as undecided while she tried out different classes to see what fit. Hill decided she would try graphic design but discovered the world of graphic design is a bit too competitive.Unable to work at someone else’s pace, she discovered her passion for visual arts and early education.

Her first day at the Montessori Children’s School went well. And while she said she couldn’t wait to do more than small lessons, she knows for right now she’s still learning.

Someday, Hill hopes to teach in St. Louis and live closer to her family.

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