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News . Feature Stories . CIA students volunteer to photograph 150 Akron school children


December 04, 2015

CIA students volunteer to photograph 150 Akron school children

Photo grad was delighted her alma mater pulled through for her students

When art teacher Nicole Bozickovich ’14 realized that most of the children in her Akron charter would not have the privilege of receiving school pictures, the Photography + Video grad turned to CIA for help.

“I asked (Professor) Nancy McEntee if she would be willing to let me borrow the proper equipment to photograph the children myself,” Bozickovich said. McEntee did her one better: she brought the equipment, three CIA students and one CIA grad to STEAM Academy of Akron on Nov. 19 for a proper photo shoot.

“I made a complete schedule and the shoot was very successful,” Bozickovich said. “We photographed 150 students, staff members and seven class photos.”

McEntee, a 1984 CIA grad, was happy to help and even happier to have her students participate.

“This experience was valuable for our students on a number of levels,” she said. “They gained professional experience working with clients and adhering to a deadline as well as working together as a team. They were successful in empowering and collaborating with the children in order to portray them in the best possible way. They also learned that using their unique artistic skills for the benefit of others is extremely fulfilling and that art can be a rewarding way give back to the community.”

The STEAM Academy principal, teachers and parents were grateful. More importantly, the students were beaming.

“It was so special to witness because you could see the amount of confidence the students had, knowing they were getting their photos taken,” Bozickovich said. She and the CIA volunteers are printing the photos, with CIA’s Photography + Video Department donating the supplies, so that each child will receive one 8x10, two 5x7, and four wallet-sized prints. Bozickovich believes the students will also receive a message about their value: you are important enough to capture in a formal portrait; you matter.

“This is a really special project to me that I have created, so I am very thankful to Nancy and CIA for assisting me and joining in on this movement,” she said. “I’m also very thankful that I created such a strong relationship with CIA, Nancy, and the Photography + Video Department, that they believed in me and helped me. It makes me very happy knowing that CIA supports their alumni and is willing to give back to their community and inner city children.”

McEntee is glad Bozickovich reached out.

“Opportunities like these not only benefit the larger community but foster connections between the students and graduates as they support and learn from each other. In the Photography + Video Department, we encourage our graduates to create internship positions, participate in department critiques and events and become mentors and role models to our current students. Through those relationships, our majors recognize that even as alumni they continue to be vital members of the photography and video department community.”

Bozickovich has been working with inner-city children since her junior year at CIA. Her BFA thesis project focused on child abuse. She took the Liberal Arts elective “Putting Artists in the Classroom: Intro to Teaching Art” four times because she loved the course, conceived and taught by Kristin Thompson ’09.

“When I first took Kristin’s course it absolutely proved to me that teaching art to inner city children that lived in poverty was what I was meant to do and it most certainly prepared me for my job now. At that time you could take that course as many times as you wanted and you could make it an internship to continue to learn more about poverty and education. I think I’m the only student who took that course four times. I was really dedicated to it.”

Her goal now is to grow this project, possibly forming a new nonprofit to fund future photo shoots for local charter schools.

“I want to continue to be a positive role model for inner city children, to remind them that they have a purpose and they are the future of our community,” Bozickovich said. “The children really inspired me to create this movement, but so did (Cleveland Cavaliers star player) LeBron James. He has given back to the Akron/Cleveland community a lot recently with the LeBron James Foundation, and he continues to be a role model for children, encouraging them to stay in school and earn an education. He is a great role model for young students. LeBron is working towards change; why can't I?”

The STEAM Academy project is an example of Cores + Connections, CIA's academic vision in which core values of world-class faculty mentorship, studio and academic rigor, cutting edge curriculum, and state-of-the-art facilities power extensive connections for student engagement in field-based hands-on learning, real-world professional projects, and community-based practices in art and design.

Anyone interested in assisting Bozickovich in her work with children living in poverty should contact her at

Above, CIA Photography + Video majors Jeanette Coker ’18, Amber Ford ’16, grad Breanna Kulkin ’15, and Cassandra Wolf ’18, prepare to photograph 150 children at STEAM Academy of Akron.

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