Makayla Cahill headshot

Meet Makayla Cahill ’21, Art Education

I always loved school while growing up and thought I wanted to be a teacher. At first, I wanted to be an English teacher, and then a math teacher, but then grew out of those. My first chance to take art wasn’t until high school because I was in a small district. My reason for taking the class was because my mom said the teacher was really nice, but I was not expecting to be very good at it. Four years later, I ended up winning the district art show twice, while my art teacher also won some awards while I was there. I really loved how my teacher had cultivated me as an artist and helped me grow, and I wanted to do that for my students. 

I come from the small town of Salem Missouri, so William Woods reminded me of that. The small class sizes were great as well as the landscape of WWU. I also met some of the art professors while I was visiting and they were so nice and seemed like they really cared about helping their students. I also loved the art that the professors were creating themselves, so I was excited to learn from them.

Making Fulton home 

I am currently in the honors program and Dean’s Council on campus. I am also the president of the Thriving Artists club, a member of Kappa Delta Pi, which is the education honor’s organization, and Educators Rising, which is another education organization. 

I also serve as a Community Advisor, where I plan events for my residence hall, so it’s really fun having group activities with everyone. I think an important part of making The Woods feel like home is just hanging out with your friends when you have free time, and going down to Lulu’s for frozen yogurt. I also try to go on a run every day and I really love running through the Brick District, it’s a pretty part of Fulton and so close to campus. 

Makayla working on a painting

Loving all kinds of art 

I took sculpture a couple semesters ago and it was a great experience. I never really had a love for clay and found it challenging, but found my love for clay in this class. We had to make a bust and I chose to do Mother Theresa. Doing all of the wrinkles in her face and hands was such a unique experience and I love how it turned out. Right now, I am in print making and I am falling in love with that as well. I love trying new classes that I haven’t been able to experiment with as much before. My professors always say to focus on the process and not the end product. 

In high school I was introduced to a lot of mediums, but did not get to go very deep into them. But now I get to delve further into my interests, which is exciting. One medium I really love to work with is charcoal because it adds drama to a portrait or whatever you might be working on. 

Makayla mixing paint

Full schedule 

I usually start with an 8 a.m. class each day. Directly after that, I have another two-hour art class. Then I will go grab a quick lunch and go over to do my work as a University Ambassador. Then it’s right back to class, going into some of my education classes for the day. After that, I usually have time to hang out with friends, study, or go for a run. I also have clinicals twice a week right now. I will shadow in a classroom and get more hands-on experience with teaching. 

I am observing an elementary class right now and I love how excited and creative they are. But I also like how expressive the older students are and how you can show them how to express themselves through art. I would love to go back to my hometown and teach. 

Lessons learned 

I think one of the most important things I have learned here at WWU is to focus on the process and not the product. I think a lot of artists can be perfectionists and I used to get upset if something didn’t turn out exactlyhow I wanted. When I focus on the process, I just really enjoy making the art and since I am not focusing on the end product, it often comes out better than expected. 

Besides class, your whole life can happen while you’re in college. You need to take advantage of your time in school. You can make lifelong friends – I even got engaged in front of the bridge at William Woods! There’s a lot to learn other than just academics.