Ann Draksler ’16

A Spotlight Celebrating Women’s History Month &
Illinois Arts Education Week (March 11-17, 2019)

Ann Draksler ’16 chose to attend USF because she had heard about its excellent education program and felt it was important to select a school that would allow her to be close to her family. She felt fortunate to have several amazing teachers in elementary and high school that were USF College of Education alums, and wanted to attend a program that could help her become the same kind of caring and supportive educator. The most definable moment in Draksler’s decision-making process was hearing firsthand from her sister, Kate Draksler ‘14, about the University of St. Francis.

“Kate was in her second year at USF, studying to be an elementary teacher, when I was trying to decide on which college to attend,” said Ann. “From what I heard from her about several of the professors and classes, I knew I also wanted to attend this school. “

Ann Draksler knew at a young age that she wanted to go into education; she has always enjoyed sharing knowledge with people and helping them accomplish new things. It was not until high school, however, that she became interested in pursuing art education. She credits art classes in high school for not only teaching her about the visual arts, but also for recognizing how the process of creating and sharing her  own art helped increase her confidence. Art encouraged Draksler to grow as a person and she has the same hope for the students she teaches at Richland Elementary and Junior High in Crest Hill, Ill.

There are many experiences from her time at USF that Draksler knows will help her become a successful educator. She shared that Chrysalis, a retreat for education majors, had a profound impact on her personal and professional goals. Chrysalis essentially helps teacher candidates determine what it means to be an educator and, more importantly, what kind of educators they want to be.

“I attended Chrysalis three times (as both a participant and student leader), and each time I learned something new. The professors leading the retreat shared so many examples of how effectively reach students. I still apply their advice and first-hand knowledge in my classroom today,” she said.

While completing her field experience, Draksler was fortunate enough to have a reachable moment with a student who realized how to use information gained in class outside the classroom. During a lesson, students were asked to analyze and comment on photographs. One student raised her hand and explained that since they started analyzing photographs, she also started looking more critically at images she saw every day. Draksler explained that the student went on to share that she now knows to look at images more closely to determine why they make her feel a certain way or remind her of different events.

“I have always believed that the visual arts are important, as they teach students to look more critically at the objects surrounding them and learn to express their ideas on a visual format,” said Draksler.

Favorite Artist: Claude Monet

“I have always loved the use of color in his pieces. I find it so fascinating how he could paint the same landscape, but give the piece such a distinct mood because of the different colors and time of day in which he painted the piece.”

Cherished Work of Art: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

“I love the movement in the piece and the color of the blue sky against the bright yellow of the stars. This piece also holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first famous art pieces I learned about when I was a child.”

Must-Visit Museum: Art Institute of Chicago

“The Art Institute of Chicago is my favorite museum. I love the variety of pieces available to see there. I have been to a few other art museums in the Chicagoland area, but they just don’t have as many pieces as the Art Institute.”