Monica Curiel

Headshot of Monica Curiel

Student Spotlight | October 2020

Major: Visual Arts

Describe your research/creative work in just a few sentences that we can all understand: I am writing and illustrating a children's book.  My hope is this story will enable young readers who have immigrated to a new country to find comfort and inspire them to find an outlet of creativity to further express what they feel and who they are. This story is about using creativity to find hope and comfort in the unknown.

Q: Who mentors your project?

A: Barry Fitzgerald



Q: What surprised you about doing a larger research or creative project?

A: What has surprised me about doing a larger creative project is having a mentor to help guide me through the process, specifically when I am unsure of how to go about making a decision and when reflecting on what decisions I can make in order to support and benefit my given audience.


Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?

A: What I find most challenging through this project is simplifying the process of storytelling, figuring out what details to illustrate and depict and what to leave up to the imagination of the readers. I find that I am a bit of a perfectionist, and through the help of my mentor, I can tackle the objectives in a simplified manner. That is, to be able to decide what parts of the story should be detailed. 


Q: What do you like most about your project?

A: What I like most about my project, the children's book CataLena, is the opportunity to connect with an audience through illustration and storytelling. The ability to relay my own experience as a Mexican American girl through the protagonist of the story. Most importantly, to use what I am most passionate about (art) to encourage others in times of uncertainty. 


Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?

A: Find your passion. Find a problem to solve, a gap to bridge, and challenge yourself to create something that is useful, encouraging, and uplifting to that which makes you most passionate.


Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?

A: When I am not working on my research project, I am running my small business of custom illustrations, doing DIY furniture and interior refurbishing in my own space, making art, and visiting antique shops and art supply shops. 

Images from Monica's book (All images belong to Monica Curiel and should not be used without her permission):