College of Fine Arts, School of Art, School of Dance, School of Music, School of Theatre, Film & Television

The College of Fine Arts Spring Graduation Ceremonies were in-person on May 12 at Crowder Hall for graduate students and May 13 at Centennial Hall for undergraduates. Each school announced the students who were named Outstanding Senior and Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Katie Baird from the Fred Fox School of Music was also named Outstanding Senior for the College of Fine Arts with Daniel Staggs earning the Outstanding GTA for both the College and the School of Theatre, Film & Television.

The graduates and families were treated to keynote addresses from School of Art alumna Dorsey Kaufmann and School of Art professor – and recently named Regents Professor – Sama Alshaibi

School of Art
Outstanding Senior
BA, Art History

2022 student awards announced ... Ryann Squires

In her nomination letter, Dr. Romano writes, “Ryann is the finest Art History undergraduate major the current Art History faculty has had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring in recent memory. She has the potential to be one of the best of visual culture scholars of her generation as she leaves UA to enter an art history PhD program. She is a remarkable young scholar of great intelligence, creativity, and energy, with superb analytical skills, and a drive to understand complex theoretical and historical materials inside and outside the art history discipline. Ryann is an Honors College student with a 4.0 GPA, majoring in Art History and on the Dean’s List with distinction since her first year at UA. She has demonstrated her commitment to interdisciplinarity by augmenting her major area work with two minors in English Literature and Classics and with language competency in Latin and French. The School of Art enthusiastically endorses Ryann N. Squires as a most worthy recipient of the School of Art Outstanding Senior Award.”

Favorite memory? “One of my favorite memories is when I attended a VIP tour of the @uazmuseumofart’s “The Art of Food” exhibition. I was invited to the event because I completed an internship where I created educational materials for the show. It was an amazing experience to walk through the galleries, led by the curator, with other past interns and contributors to the show. It was one of the first times that I was able to see how my work had physically impacted and contributed to a larger collaborative effort.”

School of Dance
Outstanding Senior
BFA, Dance and Studio Art

2022 student awards announced ... Mia Rosin

In Mia’s nomination letter, Assistant Professor of Dance Christopher Compton states, “During her time at the University of Arizona, Mia has studied as a dual-degree student, obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with and emphasis in Illustration while achieving a GPA of 4.0 and the Dean’s List with Distinction in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, with Highest Academic Distinction in the latter three years. Mia is an exceptionally talented student and has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards in both Dance and Art. Mia is an exceptionally talented dancer with a work ethic to match. In the School of Dance, Mia conducts herself with the utmost distinction, and demonstrates a strong desire to grow in her artform. The ease with which she makes difficult movement vocabulary seem pedestrian, and the grace with which she achieves the effect, are something to behold, and quite rare. Her talent, dedication, and work ethic make her a prime ambassador for the University of Arizona, and in her luminous future, she will represent exactly what it means to be a Wildcat.”

Favorite memory? “The continuous thread from freshman to senior year of the rehearsal process will always be something I hold onto. I love being in rehearsals with my friends and the incredible School of Dance faculty. I am also so grateful for the amazing masterworks that the School of Dance brings to the @uarizona, and I especially enjoyed learning Nacho Duato’s Na Floresta from the renowned dancer, choreographer, and artistic director Jim Vincent. I feel that I have grown so much in the Ina Gittings and Stevie Eller buildings, and of course, the Stevie Eller stage will forever have a special place in my heart!”

College of Fine Arts / Fred Fox School of Music
Outstanding Senior
BM, Viola Performance

2022 student awards announced, Katie Baird

In her nomination letter, Dr. Molly Gebrian states, “Katie is probably the most hard-working, dedicated student I have ever taught. Throughout her time at the Fred Fox School of Music, Katie has continually demonstrated her commitment to excellence in everything she does. In Fall 2021, she was selected to receive the undergraduate Creative Achievement Award from the School of Music, in Spring 2021, she was named the Presser Scholar for the School of Music, and in 2020 she was awarded the Shirley and Maurice J. Sevigny First Generation Scholarship in recognition of her academic achievement. In 2021, Katie was selected to participate in a master class as part of the organization Music to Save Humanity. This masterclass opportunity went through several rounds of auditions and as a finalist, Katie was given mentorship and support by the organization to develop an outreach project. Katie’s project was an outgrowth of a podcast she started. Katie’s podcast, Beyond the Score, profiles living composers from traditionally underrepresented groups through interviews with the composers and performances of their works. Since the moment I started working with Katie, I have been very impressed with her work ethic, attention to detail, and her desire to improve as a musician. She has made outstanding progress in her artistry, technique, tone, vibrato use, intonation, and musicality since she began studying with me. Every time she performs in studio class, the other students are astounded at how much improvement she has made. She holds herself to a very high standard and comes to every lesson very prepared and always enthusiastic about continuing to improve. This level of dedication exemplifies the commitment Katie brings to everything she does.”

Favorite memory? “One of my favorite memories as a Fine Arts student took place in January 2020, when the Kronos Quartet had a three-day residency with Arizona Arts. My quartet and I had the opportunity to play in a masterclass for the violist of Kronos, Hank Dutt. The few weeks leading up to the masterclass were filled with so much excitement, love, and curiosity as my quartet and I rehearsed Philip Glass’s Quartet Satz. It was incredible to work with Hank, who had commissioned this piece as part of their ‘50 For the Future’ project and worked with Phillip Glass himself.”

Katie and other student musicians had a length conversation with the Kronos Quartet first violinist David Harrington. Following that night, Katie decided to fully commit to music.

“I remember feeling so special that night as he gave my friends and I life advice, as he shared his favorite musical moments and rich experiences across the world, and as he listened to my aspirations. David Harrington, one of the best in the world of classical music, fully recognizes that young people are integral in the preservation of our art. With that in mind, he was devoted to nurturing our interest in contemporary music that night.”

School of Theatre, Film & Television
Outstanding Senior
BFA, Film & Television

2022 student awards announced, Nika Bogorad

Professor of Practice Shane Riches writes, “Nika excels through a perceptive intelligence, diligence, and authenticity. Faculty concur that Nika is a superior scholar, a campus leader in and outside her courses, and actively involved in impressive service activities. Nika’s industriousness and work ethic have positioned her as a classroom leader. With a 4.0 GPA — Dean’s List with Highest Academic Distinction every year at the University — she is slated to graduate summa cum laude. Laying the groundwork for a future Hollywood career, Nika also secured a prestigious internship with the celebrated management company, Luber Roklin Entertainment Company. The Film & Television faculty is extraordinarily pleased and honored to have Nika in our program. Not only is she a determined go-getter, but she also routinely demonstrates an impressive intellectual drive — a student who epitomizes the teaching ideal. Her scholarship, leadership, and citizenship make Nika a model student of distinction at the University of Arizona. Nika will not only excel wherever her career takes her, but she will also elevate any company or organization fortunate to have her.”

Favorite memory? She’s has two. One was the exhilarating feeling she got from attending her first History of Film class her first year. The second was finishing a documentary for class her junior year. “It was my first large scale project for the BFA, and the first time I had done something of that size largely by myself (and mostly succeeded with it). That semester had been incredibly difficult to get through, as it was still during lock down. There were a plethora of family emergencies and to top it all off, I had surgery at the start of that semester. But the feeling of knowing I had completed a piece of art that was going to be screened was unbeatable, and it made me feel confident in my career as a film.”

School of Art
Outstanding GTA
MFA, Photo, Video, Imaging

In her nomination letter, Professor Gary Setzer writes, “Raven is a high-energy teacher, articulate, supportive, and keeps the class moving. She is a thoughtful teacher and an excellent gateway into the School of Art for our undergraduate freshmen. In addition to the pursuit of her MFA in Studio Art, Raven has completed a Museum Studies Graduate Certificate. Raven’s identity as a “third culture, biracial and diasporic ᖹᐟᒧᐧᒣᑯ/ (Blackfoot) white queer artist” is deeply tethered to her research and scholarship—which she shares with her students — establishing a role model for many of our underrepresented students. Raven has worked hard to become a part of the broader art academic community, sharing her research with that community as well. I am proud of everything that Raven has accomplished, and I know that her successes here only mark the beginning of what will invariably be an exciting career. Her work here, in all regards, has been above and beyond.”

Favorite memory? “My most impactful experiences through UA have been the community connections fostered through mentorship in AIS and the art department, in particular the Photo, Video, Imaging section.”

School of Dance
Outstanding GTA
MFA, Dance

Jason’s nomination letter reads, “Jason is a unique and a beautifully creative artist. His level of artistry and creative research is advancing the boundaries of our artform. I have witnessed his courage, tenacity, and dedication to his education, teaching, creative and scholarly research during his first year of graduate school, all while being long-distance with his wife and son who are still in Chicago. He is a true artist that immerses himself in his creative work and is willing to make sacrifices to attain his goals.  Jason handles himself with ease and a strong sense of professionalism and has proven to be an exceptional educator. Not only has Jason been a superior Teaching Assistant for our dance program, he also beautifully embodies the equal emphasis placed upon both artistry and scholarship that is so deeply fundamental to the mission of the College of Fine Arts. He has been outstanding … always ready to take on a new challenge and meeting each of these challenges head-on with skill, brilliance, grace, and even more importantly, with gratitude and generosity. We in the School of Dance have been honored to both work with, and learn from, Jason Hortin.”

Favorite memory? “The people. The work. The satisfaction of it all. Every day I am surrounded by inspiration, humanity, and art. Although my ankles may take longer to function properly in the morning, my soul is satiated being surrounded by what I love: art, dance, community. I, of course, have days where I would rather binge YouTube and Netflix, not create a new class, grade papers, or do another plié. But feeling the aches, seeing students’ progress, and reading their work sure beats having to be stuck in a career that is uninspiring. So no, I do not have a favorite memory – they are all constantly happening, every single day, when I am around those with a shared goal of exploring this crazy little thing called dance.”

Fred Fox School of Music
Outstanding GTA
DM, Choral Conducting

In her nomination letter, Professor Elizabeth Schauer states, “Xuxiang is an exceptional student, a masterful conductor and an outstanding GTA. In the 2020-21 academic year, Xuxiang studied remotely, from China, taking her courses and lessons in the middle of the night. Her motivation and desire to learn and grow as a choral conductor were remarkable. The most impressive aspect of Xuxiang’s work in this capacity was her ability to deeply understand and integrate each concept into her work as a conductor, and to come back the next week able to apply what she had learned to new materials. Xuxiang’s work as a GTA has been a vital and remarkable part of the success of the choral program. I’m so honored and grateful to have her as a student and to know her. She is positive, kind, funny, generous and supportive. She is a curious and critical thinker, very bright, disciplined, and hard-working. I give her my highest and unqualified recommendation for this award.”

Favorite memory? “I have a very abundant life as a Fine Arts student here. “My favorite memory is the Musical Murals event. I sang with several choir friends three pieces with different languages at the @tucsonmuseumofart Education Center, in front of a beautiful Tucson mural! There was outdoor walking tour. It was a significant experience for me. This interactive social event incorporated visual art and live music, which let me feel a strong community connection! 

College of Fine Arts / School of Theatre, Film & Television
Outstanding GTA
MFA, Theatre Production

Associate Professor Ted Kraus writes, “Since his arrival to our program, Daniel has impressed me with his curiosity, work ethic, and tenacity, skills that served him well as we weathered the complications brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Daniel’s kind nature, seemingly endless patience, and inherent humor make him highly accessible to all students he encounters. In the middle of the Spring of 2020, the School of Theatre, Film, and Television resumed production work on our newly purchased outdoor staging system. Daniel assumed the technical director role and I was amazed by how well he picked up that mantle. His quiet nature belied his ability to preside over the process of bringing a show to fruition. He managed the expectations of the generative artistic team while also focusing on the needs of his crew. Daniel also worked as the Technical Director for Jean’s Playhouse in the North Country Center for the Arts. In that role, he implemented the skills he acquired in his coursework to oversee the construction, installation, and removal of a six-show summer season. This undertaking would be demanding for any grad student, but the task was even more daunting for one who lost most of his opportunities to take the lead on shows due to the pandemic. I had a chance to speak with the Producing Director of Jean’s Playhouse, about Daniel. In that conversation, Rob went on and on about Daniel’s demeanor and skill set. Rob was so impressed with Daniel that he even asked to establish a more concrete link between our department and his organization. Daniel is truly outstanding and a joy to work with. I am honored to have been a part of his journey and education.”

Favorite memory? “The connections made while working on productions have been very enjoyable to me. I love working with people from different backgrounds, artistic viewpoints, and departments. The collaborative nature of theatre has only enhanced this.”