“I could see myself at PLU”- Jp Avila, Department of Art & Design Chair

ImageAs chair of the Department of Art & Design, I often meet with prospective students that are interested in the visual arts. A typical visit goes something like this: we sit, we chat, we tour, they ask questions, I answer questions. It’s what you would expect from any campus visit. But the real experience of visiting PLU comes when the prospective student gets to meet with the students that are already here. I’ve found that what sells interested high schoolers on PLU is not always just the academics or financial aid package, it’s that they can envision themselves here, hanging out with our students. 

That same experience played a large part in my choosing to teach at PLU. Before teaching at PLU, I had been living in Chicago and, while I loved the big city life, it was the sense of adventure and the idea that I could see myself at PLU that brought me here. I could envision myself in the classroom teaching, in my office consulting, around campus with colleagues, attending events and supporting my students. It’s all about fit. And, for me, PLU fits. 

I received my bachelor’s degree from a school similar to PLU and I have fond memories of that experience and how it help to mold my sense of purpose, my goals and aspirations for myself, and my sense of duty and honor. I saw in PLU an opportunity to help other people find those traits in them. It is what brought me here; actually seeing it happen on the faces of students is what keeps me here.Image

Several of my colleagues have told me how they love that “ah-ha” moment when students grasp a complex theory; when they achieve a better understanding of a text, or when they come back, years after graduating, and thank them for pushing them to their full potential. 

 It’s those types of stories that are the glue to PLU. Making connections. Finding the right fit. Trying, failing, then trying again. It’s that sweet success that I enjoy and what keeps me coming back for more.


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