Student Spotlight May 2024

    Donna Charging is graduating this spring with her Master's in Fine Arts from the Hite Insitute of Art & Design. Donna was one of two students selected to attend this year's Faculty Women of Color in the Academy Conference. 


    Q: What made you go into this field of study? What are some of your long-term goals or aspirations?  

    A: I have had a lifelong interest in art and used to volunteer to teach at community-based arts programs in New York City before the pandemic. My long-term goals include continuing my studio art practice and continuing to pursue teaching opportunities.

    Q: What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?  

    A: Most recently, my painting Under All is the Land (Series 2) was selected for "First Prize" by Priscilla Otani, juror of the 25th International Open at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL. Priscilla Otani is the President of the Board of Northern California Women's Caucus for Art.

    Q: What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL? 

    A: My favorite part was the internship experience in the second semester of my first year; I interned at the "Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research" where I mentored undergraduate student Rebekah Flowers. Using the "Team Mentored Research Grant" we collaborated on a hybrid digital collage project with art teacher Lauren Williams at Grace M. James Academy of Excellence 

    Q: What made you want to apply for a sponsorship to attend the Faculty Women of Color Conference? 

    A: I wanted to increase the visibility of the Department of Art and Design on campus where we have a very small cohort who does very impactful work that isn't always recognized. My mentor, Professor Ying Kit Chan, has been teaching at UoL for the last 40 years!

    Q: What were the most impactful sessions or workshops you attended at the conference? Were there any discussions, topics, or speakers that resonated with your experiences as a woman of color aspiring to become faculty? 

    A: On Saturday I went to "The Art of Alignment: Crafting a Stellar Scholarly Profile" presented by Dr. Ashley Watson, Leah Ward, and Tanya L.W. Morris. Most people don't know that art faculty sometimes need to develop and submit research statements throughout their careers so this session was especially valuable to me. It highlighted the importance of creating a story within your research area at the very start of your career. I was so grateful to be among other women of color from different fields of study who shared similar yet different concerns in a safe space. It felt good to listen to others yet be heard and seen and discuss our collective issues out in the open without fear of judgment or retaliation.

    Q: Did you connect with any senior faculty members or mentors during the conference? If so, what insights or advice did they share with you? 

    A: Fei Bi Chan and I had a chance to meet with Dr. Michelle Boyd, founder of Inkwell Academic Writing Retreats, on the first day of the conference. After the retreat, we spoke with her about how affirming she was in her approach to leading our group of women through her suggested method of locating a meaningful metaphor when crafting our own personal writing process. I will be following Inkwell for more resources in the future.

    Q: How do you envision contributing to the broader movement for equity and justice within academia as a future faculty leader and advocate? 

    A: Advocating for true inclusivity in academic settings sounds good but it's hard to implement when those speaking the loudest assume they speak for everyone. I always try to address the Native American perspective in a broad sense wherever I am, and posit that it's important to consider individual tribes and histories. When we do this, I think there's a greater chance of keeping out false narratives and fabricated "indigeneity."

    Q: What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of school? 

    A: I am always making art or thinking about art. I recently read a journal article written in 2015 acknowledging that Hopi painter Fred Kabotie was among the first Natives to show artwork in the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1932. I generally taught that Natives were tacitly excluded until the 1990s.

     Fun Facts  

    • Favorite book or movie: Bone Light : Poems by Orlando White for his O.G. Diné poetics
    • Favorite quote: "The indian is a simulation, the absence of natives; the indian transposes the real, and the simulation of the real has no referent, memories, or native stories. The postindian must waver over the aesthetic ruins of indian simulations." Gerald Vizenor, Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence (1998)
    • Role Model: Shinnecock ceramic artist, Courtney M. Leonard for her scholarship and extensive artist practice.
    • Favorite thing to do or place to go in Louisville: Going for a walk around Old Louisville because it reminds me of my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY.