Each year we choose judges with a variety of backgrounds to evaluate the student artwork submitted for our Science Without Borders® Challenge, an international student art contest. We typically invite scientists, artists, art enthusiasts, and primary, secondary, and tertiary art teachers to judge.
For the past couple of contests, we have invited local artist and teacher, Cassandra Kapsos, to help us judge. Cassandra is trained in the art of photography, specifically fine art and commercial photography as well as digital art. Initially, she started working as a commercial photographer where her topics included portrait and interior design photography. Throughout her career, she has exhibited her fine art photography in various art museums throughout the United States including California, New York, and Maryland. Cassandra, a local of Baltimore, also enjoys capturing imagery of her community and its culture. Her photography has been displayed throughout various galleries in her home city.
While working as a professional photographer, Cassandra started teaching at a children’s science museum. She soon realized that she felt more energized and excited to go to work every day. This led her to pursue a Master’s in Art Teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and then, later, her Masters of Fine Arts degree in studio arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Furthering her education opened the door to sharing her knowledge and passion of photography and the digital medium, giving her an opportunity to help youth develop higher-level intellectual and creative skills. Cassandra is currently an educator at Key School in Annapolis, Maryland where she teaches digital art, photography, and video to students in grades 9-12.
Her enthusiasm for teaching has not diminished over time. She states, “It has been 16 years since I first started teaching. I still get that energized feeling when I stand in front of the classroom to share a new art or photography technique. Plus, it is a double bonus to be able to help students develop their creative skills, and I still get do something creative every day too.”
Cassandra volunteers to judge the Science Without Borders® Challenge because it inspires her in her own work as an art teacher. She says, “The participants are all winners in my opinion. The students’ artwork displays impressive craftsmanship and concepts, as well as their love and activism in protecting the ocean. Their art will bring awareness to viewers around the world.”
Sometimes life takes us on an unanticipated path. Cassandra never expected to love teaching as much as she loves producing art. Through her experiences, she has managed to combine her roles as educator, photographer, and digital artist into a very satisfying and rewarding professional career.
Always the teacher, she offers a sound piece of advice to other aspiring artists, saying, “There is so much you can do in the arts – don’t let anyone tell you differently. Explore your passion and never stop learning. Be flexible and open-minded. It will allow you to see outside of the box of traditional careers and opportunities. You will find a way to make a creative career if you want it.”
Thank you so much, Cassandra, for your commitment to teaching and creating art. We are extremely grateful for your expertise and your assistance in judging our art contest!
Stay tuned to meet Ryan Sobel, another one of our contest judges.