By Travonte Harris
2013 was an important year
for Florissant Valley's Professor Janice Nesser- Chu, whose art has been
exhibited nationally and internationally for the past 20 years. Nesser-Chu has been awarded the
prestigious 2013 President’s Arts and
Activism award. It’s a confirmation of talents for a woman like Nesser-Chu who is constantly working, whether she is serving
as the chair of Florissant Valley’s arts program or as the the campaign director of the St. Louis Chapter of the National
Women's Caucus for the Arts - or even teaching here at STLCC-FV.
Nesser-Chu attended a small four-year
Catholic college in rural Indiana called St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. It was here
that Nesser-Chu published some of her poetry and became editor of the newspaper. She
participated in social and political action, from the Equal Rights Amendment to
Nesser- Chu believes that college had a lot to do with
her success. She explains that with
class sizes small and expectations high, “you never came to class unprepared.” Nesser-Chu further explains that she learned
from Jesus and the sisters of Providence to be strong, and that the
lessons taught during college have led to her success.
She believes that community work and
mentorship of young women, both on a local and national level, have helped prepare her for her current situation. Nesser-Chu
takes great pride in teaching the arts, saying that she does “not measure accomplishment by the
big moments, but by the small ones.”
Nesser-Chu does take some pride in things
like the New Faculty of the Year Award, or the Emerson Award, but she firmly believes that seeing her students succeed is her greatest accomplishment
in teaching of the arts. This arts professor seeks to use her teaching as a vehicle to
open doors for her students and to allow them to see art and the world as a whole
in a different light. In her spare time, Nesser-Chu likes to make art or work in
her three-acre garden. She also likes to mentor and teach as well as be active in planning
art events and activities.
Nesser Chu appreciates awards, but she does not take any obvious pride in them. What drives her is the
difference she makes in the world through her art, teaching, and
activism - and that is what makes her feel accomplished.
There will be tables in the student center with people willing to help you register to vote.
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