Meet Emerge Scholar Ann Kast '19

May 5, 2020

by Communications Staff

Alumna Ann Kast '19 credits much of her success in the field of education to her professors' support during her college career. Ann graduated with a bachelor of science in an elementary education major with a minor art history in 2019. Over the course of four years, she took advantage of the many opportunities that came her way as a student.

"I became interested in researching arts integration in the general education classroom because of my own interest in visual literacy. At FSC I had the opportunity to dig deeper into my passion to understand the broad timeline of the world's history — from prehistoric to modern times. With the help of FSC's dynamic faculty, I found that the visual arts can teach a broad variety of topics, from history to writing to reading comprehension skills."

Ann chose to work closely with Professor Judy Senzamici to expand on her passions in this and other areas. She took on a project that dealt with how to increase writing proficiency for students with reading difficulties and she developed five different lessons where Ann used art to enhance student writing. Working with sixth graders at Roberts Academy, Ann saw results that showed that student's writing was truly enriched with descriptive language.

"Ann shows leadership and creativity in everything she does," attested professor Senzamici. "She presented her research on Writing Through the Eyes of Art at the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS). Her findings on using graphic novels to increase fluency in reading were also presented at Fiat Lux as well as displayed during convocation."

Ann is now pursuing a career in the Polk County School District and is implementing all her research in the classroom. She uses the visual arts in reading and writing in her curriculum in hopes to continue discovering ways to impact student learning. 

"I've been so incredibly fortunate to have had collaborative-research opportunities with faculty and coursework that led to my discoveries on the benefits of visual literacy," said Ann. 

For those students who wish to advance in the same path as Ann, she advises to use passion as the resource upon which to build results. 

"Find one thing in the field that you're extremely passionate about and run with it," she said. "Digging deep into learning about the arts integration, for me, subsequently developed my understanding and love of education on a much deeper level."

For Ann, seeking out faculty support was imperative for giving her research the fair chance it deserved. FSC professors and mentors have high expectations that only led to fantastic results.