School of Art, Craft & Design

Alumni Profiles: Art Education

Morgan Hooker Sneed / Class of 2010

Morgan Sneed is an Art Educator living and working in Renton, Washington. Earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Education from Tennessee Tech University in May of 2010, she quickly secured an Elementary School Art Educators position in her hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee.

After relocating to Washington a year later, she’s been working as a Para-Educator in middle and high School special education classes ever since. Sneed loves the freedom to explore and incorporate art in small-group and whole classroom arrangements, always enjoying the students’ enthusiasm and talent when encountering fun, problem-solving enrichment activities.

"…I obtained excellent technical training from my classes during my time at Tech, and I was able to learn by example how to be the best educator I can be. The individualized teaching methods my instructors demonstrated truly resonated with me, and it’s the sort of attention I’ve striven to give each and every one of my students since then…" - Morgan Hooker Sneed

Sample of Work

  • Through a Child's Eyes, acrylic on canvas, 24"h x 36"w

Career Highlights

  • Deans List (2006-2010), Tennessee Tech University
  • Department of Education Deans List (2008-2010), Tennessee Tech University
  • Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (2009-2010)

Cephas Ablakwa / class of 2006

Cephas Ablakwa was born in Accra, Ghana in 1983, but grew up as a teenager in Nashville, Tennessee.

Upon earning his BFA from Tennessee Tech, he began teaching art while pursuing an art career. By taking daily life as subject matter, while commenting on the everyday aesthetics of middle-class values, he presents everyday people and places in a way consistent with the traditions of realism.

His photographs, paintings, and drawings capture a crisp reality, embracing subjects in their natural, raw surroundings. Cephas currently lives and works in Tennessee.

"…I am thankful for the art program and the wonderful faculty…for fostering a young African boy’s creativity and equipping him with the tools needed to pursue his passion. My life as an artist and an art instructor continues to be fulfilling and successful." - Cephas Ablakwa

Sample of Work

  • Kitchen Lore, oil on canvas, 48"h x 36"w, 2015

Career Highlights

  • 2007-Present - Visual Arts Instructor at Cookeville High School, Cookeville, Tennessee
  • 2006 - Award of Excellence from Photographer’s Forum Magazine
  • 2013 - Art a la Carte, Art a la Carte Gallery, Cookeville, Tennessee (selected group exhibition

Mel Sotis Presley / Class of 2003

Mel was born in Atlanta, GA. She has always had a passion for creating. Upon entering college, she decided she must follow her heart and pursue art as a career. She earned her BFA in art education, with a concentration in painting, from TTU. She went on to earn her MA in art education from The Ohio State University.

Presley taught middle school art for eight years, and taught art appreciation at a local community college. Currently, she works as an Assistant Principal but expresses her creativity by working at TTU’s Windows of the World Festival as one of the Children’s Crafts Coordinators or by creating in her own studio.

She has exhibited in several galleries and shows in the South. Presley is simultaneously inspired by everything and nothing all. Sometimes she sees inspiration in the smallest things, such as in the way ice forms on a windshield, a pattern on a tree, or the scenery out her window; other times she uses art as her emotional outlet. Creating art is truly a part of her soul.

"…Each studio area taught me a different way to love and appreciate the arts as a whole. The hours spent working in the studios taught me self-discipline and time management for seeing a project through to completion. The critique sessions taught me how to detach myself from a project and receive construction criticism for improvement. Most importantly, the other art and art education majors taught me that as artists we are a community, and we must support each other in order to see success!" - Mel Sotis Presley

Sample of Work

  • Damask Abstract, acrylic on canvas, 36"w x 48"h

Career Highlights

  • 2007 - Master of Arts in Art Education, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
  • 2010 - Present: Assistant Principal, Putnam County School System, Avery Trace Middle School, Grades 5-6
  • 2009-2010: ATMS Rotary Teacher of the Year