Right now we have our next generation of industrial artists heading back to school. We recently had a chance to catch up with one of our students Beatriz Cuevas and talk to her about how her industrial arts experience helped her get into Stanford University.

Crucible: Hi Beatriz, can you tell folks a bit about how you got started at The Crucible?
Beatriz: Yeah, sure. I’ve been at The Crucible since I was 13, when I was in the 8th grade. I got involved with The Crucible because my art and jewelry teacher Ms. Wasserman, suggested that I take a class at The Crucible, so I applied, and I was accepted into the summer program.

The first class I took at The Crucible was blacksmithing. Honestly, I didn’t even know what blacksmithing was; I’d never been exposed to industrial art before. I remember I was really afraid in the beginning of the class because the small pieces of metal from hammering the hot metal rod were hitting my skin and it burned a little. I was so afraid, but after the first day, I got more comfortable with the hammer, the metal and the fire. I’ve also taken glass flameworking, jewelry, TIG welding, and the Art Bike class. Each class has been really fun. I especially loved welding and working with glass.

Crucible: What are some of the different projects besides classes that you have participated in?
Beatriz: One of the projects I was involved in was making a pedal-powered bike organ. The Crucible was going to be featured on Design Squad Nation, a show that would air nationwide on PBS. They gave me the opportunity to be the student that would represent The Crucible. During the show, I helped build a bike with two engineers and worked on the welding of the frame that would hold the organ. In the end, I got to present the bike at the Block Party at my school where my friends, family, and teachers saw my work. Everyone was very proud and excited for me.

I also participated in the Fuego! Internship program. Last year, I interned in the glass flameworking class. It was really fun because I got to help other students become better artisans while bettering my art skills in the glass medium. I made sure the class materials were set in the mornings, took students to break, and monitored the students during lunch activities. I learned how to better communicate with young people, and this skill really helped me this year, since I am an intern again. This year I’m an intern, but with a spin. I’m helping the current interns be interns. I lead some of the icebreaker and bonding activities everyday during our meetings. I’m working on improving my speaking skills in front of a group of people, which will help me in the future. I also go from class to class to help out when The Crucible is short on staff or volunteers.

Last summer I was also granted the opportunity to speak at The Crucible’s 2010 Fire & Light Soirée and Art Auction. I was able to share with others about all that The Crucible has done for me and about the importance of The Crucible in my life. Other then this, I like talking about The Crucible, so I’ve attend community events with The Crucible, and I work the information tables, because I love to spread The Crucible love!

Crucible: What have you learned being a part of The Crucible?
Beatriz: I’ve learned to have more confidence in myself because there have been times when I have felt challenged, but I’ve had to ask for help and think critically. For example, when I’m helping other youth make their art bikes, they sometimes have some complicated design ideas, so I have to think creatively in order to try to help the student build a bike that portrays their original idea. I’ve also learned how to talk to youth and children. I use to be afraid of talking to kids when I thought they were misbehaving, but over time, I learned to communicate with young campers in a way that was not aggressive. I’ve also learned to lead others. During intern afternoon discussions, I have to lead some of the activities. I’ve learned that to lead others I have to plan ahead and be positive, enthusiastic, and clear. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to lead a great group of talented youth interns.

Crucible: What skills did you learn at The Crucible that you think helped prepare you for college?
Beatriz: I think that my art skills definitely prepared me for college. From The Crucible I’ve learned to see the world with a different pair of eyes. I’ve learned to see things with an artist’s perspective. After taking classes at The Crucible, I’ve became better at understanding what objects were made of. I was able to see the medium used and the work that went into making something. I think that this transfers into understanding a topic in school and understanding why something is the way it is. I’ve learned to think critically. When I am working in the bike shop, I sometimes feel like an engineer because I’ve to find some way to make a bike look how the student imagined it, while also making it so that it functions correctly. This will apply to me in college when I have to come up with ways to make a project or when I’ve to compose something. I’ve learned to take things one-step at a time and to be open to others’ ideas, because I’ve learned that in art, and in life, there are many ways to make the same thing.

Crucible: What is your favorite Crucible experience to date?
Beatriz: My favorite Crucible experience was when I got to make my own bike during the Art Bike class. It was my favorite because I got to make the bike how I wanted to make it. I made it curvy and I painted it the color green, my favorite color. I felt like the art bike project really helped me understand how art and bikes could come together. I really enjoyed the whole bike making process. I now love welding and bike mechanics.

Crucible: When did you apply to Stanford? And when did you hear back?
Beatriz: I applied to Stanford very last minute because I had been very busy with classes and applying to other colleges. I worked on my application between December and January, and I submitted my application the day it was due, January 1. I was supposed to hear back from Stanford on April 1. On March 29th, I walked home. The house was dark and no one was home. I went to the living room to get on the Internet to check my e-mail, like any regular school day. Then I saw that the e-mail said “Your Stanford Admission Decision.” I was so nervous to open the e-mail. My heart began beating really fast. Then I opened up the e-mail, and read the words “admission to Stanford’s Class of 2015!” I only had to read the first sentence to get up from where I was sitting and start jumping. I danced across my house and I almost wanted to cry and I could hardly breathe because I got so emotional. I remember calling my mom, dad, and brother to tell them about my acceptance. I was more then excited! It felt like a dream or something.

Crucible: What did they say set you apart from other candidates?
Beatriz: At first, I didn’t know what set me apart. I think that my grades definitely set me apart from others because I always did my best in school. I got a 4.0+ GPA every semester. I think the other thing that set me apart was the fact that I had been an industrial art student at The Crucible. In a letter from Stanford, it said that they wanted me to bring my “passion for industrial art” to Stanford. The Crucible is part of the reason I will be at Stanford this fall. Industrial art set me apart from others because not many youth get to work with fire, metal, and glass! I was blessed with the opportunity to explore art at The Crucible.

Crucible: What other schools did you apply to?
Beatriz: I applied to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Merced, UC Irvine, Santa Clara University, Mills College, and Stanford University. I was admitted into every school I applied to.

Crucible: Was Stanford your top choice?
Beatriz: It was not actually my top choice because it didn’t seem like I could reach such a prestigious school. I applied because I wanted to apply to a school that was difficult to get into, just in case I did get accepted. I remember visiting Stanford and loving the campus. I didn’t think I would actually get in, because it was so competitive to get into. I didn’t want to have high hopes and then be rejected, so I prepared myself for an acceptance or rejection. But I guess Stanford was meant to be the college at which I would pursue my higher education.

Crucible: What will your major be?
Beatriz: I want to major in Biology or Human Biology and I hope to minor in Creative Writing. I am also thinking about a minor in Art or Art History. In the future, I hope to attend medical school to become a pediatrician.

Crucible: Do you still plan on being a part of The Crucible community in the future?
Beatriz: With out a doubt! I want to volunteer or work as a Teaching Assistant at The Crucible, especially during my time off during breaks and in the summer. I want to give back and inspire other youth to become young artisans because art is so much fun, especially when art and fire are combined.

Crucible: Do you feel an arts education is important for today’s youth, for those looking to go to college and why?
Beatriz: Art education is very important. It offers students a gateway to express themselves through a variety of mediums. Art teaches a person to have patience, to have dedication, to express their ideas, to be creative, and all of these skills are very important for a person to have, especially of they plan on attending college. Art brings out a different side of you. Art allows you to see the world with the eyes of an artist. It helps you understand how objects all around you are made. Getting into college these days is not all about academics. It’s about what you do in your community, what you are involved in, what your passions are, and who you are as a person. Art is for everyone because art is not limited to one medium. If you love to do art, pursue it. Don’t do something just because it will look good on your college application. Do art because you love it, do it because it is a part of who you are. When you have a passion for something, good things will come along with it.

Crucible: Well Beatriz, thanks for sharing your story with us. Good luck at Stanford!
Beatriz: Thanks, no problem. See you next summer!