June 26, 2013
Michelle Egelston has been a lifetime resident of Montgomery County. A mother of four, she and her husband have lived in downtown Glen for 29 years. She has been an art teacher at Canajoharie Middle School for nine years and prior to that, worked in the graphic design field. She came to FM twice, once in the 1990’s to update her graphic design skills, and again in the 2000’s to become an art teacher. As a teacher, her goal is to bring out the best in all of her students, as she believes FM faculty did for her.
“When I was getting my Desktop Publishing degree, I remember Graphic Arts Professor Joe Marcuccio being very patient and always having a sense of humor, making our classes fun. I also remember my History Professor Jonas Kover who worked off a set of crumpled up notes and would grasp his podium very animated, like a theatre production,” says Michelle.
“I really feel like I never left FM because as an art teacher now, I’m there every year with my students to visit. It’s so great to collaborate with very professional faculty. Professor of Fine Arts Joel Chapin and Assistant Professor of Multimedia Technology Bob Renda are fabulous to work with; they go above and beyond for my students. Joel’s passion for clay and the fine arts rubs off on everyone around him while he’s spinning his clay pottery on the wheel. Bob’s enthusiasm needs to be bottled up and sold! I think the key words these FM faculty have are “passion” and “enthusiasm;” that is what I think any educator should strive for, and it’s what has made the strongest impact on me. I try to bring the same passion and enthusiasm to my students.”
Michelle’s daughter, Audrey, could not be more proud of her mother. “With four kids, my mom never would have been able to make the jump from graphic designer to art teacher if it wasn’t for FM,” says Audrey. “Her experience here launched her into a really positive, rewarding career. To watch my mom go back to school in her late 30s and early 40s is inspiring. FM really helps to facilitate those midlife career changes for so many people in this area. Graduating from FM and then from St. Rose not only makes me proud of her, but makes her a true role model for any non-traditional aged person looking to earn a degree.”
Although there were times when college was overwhelming and exhausting, Michelle never gave up. “I wanted to do this not only for me, but for my children,” she says. “I was sending a strong message to my kids that education is important, no matter what your age. I will never regret the experience and I hope I can inspire others to take that first step. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is what I’m doing right now really working for me or do I need the courage to make a change?’ If you are unhappy with where you are, know that it’s never too late to make a change. The hardest part is making the decision in the first place. Education is simply a path that will open so many doors for you. My advice is to get the ball rolling. If you’re waiting for the perfect time then that time will never happen, just do it.”
Amy Radik is the Coordinator of PR & Marketing at FM.