Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History, and three complementary minors in Museum Studies, Art and Art Administration, was not Kassidy Eagleson's plan when she transferred to St. Ambrose from Scott Community College.
But, as she discovered, it was the path that empowered and honored her passion for art, inspired her future, and pushed her to explore and witness the world in a new way.
After Kassidy graduates this month she will begin the Master of Museum Studies program at Western Illinois University-Quad Cities. SAU created a partnership with WIU that allows students such as Kassidy to earn a BA in Art History and an MA in Museum Studies in just five years, saving her a year of time and tuition.
"I believe it is so important to find a career you are passionate about and want to do every day," she said, adding when she transferred to SAU she planned to become an elementary school teacher. After one semester, she realized it was not the right fit.
"I needed to find another path and started looking at other majors. I have always loved art and while looking through the list of SAU programs and courses I found Art History. Then I saw the minor in Museum Studies, and I was like, 'Oh, this is it.' I could see myself doing all of these jobs," she said.
As a visual, hands-on learner, Kassidy struggled with some subjects as a K-12 student. But when she was in art class, or painting or drawing in the studio, it was easy. "I felt good about myself, more confident," she said, adding that her confidence grew even stronger at SAU.
"It had to do with the feedback and support that I got from my professors," she said. "They were very helpful and very thorough, so it never felt like I was being left behind in what I was supposed to be doing or where I was supposed to be."
SAU Art faculty also encouraged Kassidy to explore all forms of creative expression and to follow her interests, "even when I was writing a paper or doing projects. That also made me feel more confident in being able to do the work, and once I was done, feel pretty proud about what I did," she said.
Learning about artists and different movements in art history was inspiring. "It is just so interesting to see how the world is represented through this visual form," she said.
Learning about new artistic techniques made her want to try each one. And through her museum studies courses and internship, Kassidy saw herself providing the kinds of hands-on, visual experiences that enriched her education as a child.
"When I decided to follow my passion for art, art history and museums, I began to see how I could take what I was learning in any course, even business, and apply it to what I am going to do in the future. It made me feel really good about learning and I wanted to do well," she said.
Kassidy's world is wide with opportunities, and she cannot wait to try each one before settling on a specialty.
"I know for sure I am planning to work in a museum, and I've even toyed with the idea of working in a library setting," she said. "Right now, I want to keep it open, especially while I am earning my master's degree. This way I can still test the waters."
"When I decided to follow my passion for art, art history and museums, I began to see how I could take what I was learning in any course, even business, and apply it to what I am going to do in the future."
Kassidy Eagleson '20