Undergraduate Research and Creativity Alumni Profiles 

Sarah McNutt, B.A. ’11

Art and Tinker Teacher, Alta Vista School 
Major(s): Art Education, Ceramic Design

What research or work have you done since graduating from Buffalo State?

My visual work explores the sensory perception of both body language and personality while my work as an educator translates these into tools for learning. We 'learn' by intellectually rationalizing the input of information that is first altered both by emotion and biological feedback. In youth, the social emotional landscape of the student greatly affects their ability to rationalize and process information, in meeting the basic and then social and emotional needs of the student we are able to better provide educational experiences. I also integrate research from the classroom into visual and fabricated objects to demonstrate and scaffold learning for my students.

Can you translate your work for the general public?

My research in my personal artistic work and educational work have intersected in investigating how we perceive and process information. I have been working actively as an artist since 2009 and have been a educator in a range of capacities since 2012.

Since graduating I have taught undergraduate classes at Kansas State University, facilitated workshops, and supported art education in public and private school districts across the country. I was awarded a semi-permanent art installation at Artpark, the MKM merit award at the NCECA NSJE, continue to exhibit nationally, write grants, author for publications, such as Ceramics Monthly, CeramicTECHNICAL, and Ceramics Art and Perception.

I currently am the art and tinker teacher at Alta Vista School in San Francisco, California. 

Why did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

I first was introduced to undergraduate research at Buff State in witnessing other students in the studio receiving small grants for their works. For an art student intellectual pursuits often are limited by income and ability to afford materials, so this was a great solution for artists to continue the momentum of their work.

How did your undergraduate research experience influence your career path?

It helped to validate the context of art in a 'research' framework as well as an early advantage in grant writing. Multiple times in graduate school I was awarded funds to bring minority artists to campus to give workshops, make work, and lecture at Kansas State University.

Describe the research you did and if you presented it at any professional conference, juried art exhibit, or other off-campus location.

I was involved in small grants, summer research, and a collaborative research project after graduation with another Buff State student. Collectively the work generated was displayed at one international and two national exhibitions as well as the student research event in Albany, New York. 

Undergraduate Research Mentor: Elena Lourenco