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Taylor Giesken completed her bachelor’s degree in K-12 art education. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Taylor Giesken completed her bachelor’s degree in K-12 art education. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dec. 11, 2021

Giesken finds community, passion for teaching at Northwest

By Kourtnie Stenwall, communication assistant


Taylor Giesken always knew she wanted to attend Northwest Missouri State University because she grew up walking the campus, but she did not expect to find a passion for teaching art and a community she loved.

The Maryville native completed her bachelor’s degree this month in K-12 art education.

“The art department is where I spent most of my time,” Giesken said. “Northwest gave me a studio to work in and I met my best friends here. I just feel like I am leaving a part of my life that has been one of the best times of my life. I really didn’t think I would love Northwest as much as I do.”

She developed her skills through courses and observing classrooms in and around Maryville, which helped her finalize her decision to pursue a career in art education. She also was active in Art Club, a student organization for art students and enthusiasts. Last September, Giesken represented the Art Club at the Art Festival in Creston, Iowa. Last spring, she was one of five Northwest students to have their work featured in the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art’s National Undergraduate Juried Exhibition.

Giesken was also involved in TRIO, which helped her learn networking skills and seek resources to help her succeed. In addition to being a full-time student, Giesken worked full-time with developmentally challenged adults at the Bethesda Lutheran Communities group home in Maryville.

Giesken plans to stay in Maryville, continuing her work at the group home and substitute teaching while she looks for work as an art teacher. Next summer, she plans to begin pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling at Northwest.

“I love the small-town community vibes of Maryville,” Giesken said. “I love rural school districts. I just feel like, professionally, I actually get to make connections with the kids. I’ve kind of fallen in love with that.”

Giesken said her time at Northwest gave her an opportunity to try new things, discover her passion and make lasting connections with faculty and peers.

“I made a lot of mistakes, but I would say don’t be afraid to make those mistakes,” Giesken said. “If you don’t take risks, if you don’t make mistakes, how are you going to become yourself?”


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704