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Ohio Northern alumna receives Educator of the Year award

September—Ohio Northern University Alumna Meggie (Schmidt) Bierkan (BFA/graphic design ’09) recently received the Educator of the Year award from the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The county Soil and Water Conservation District promotes the wise stewardship of natural resources through cooperative partnerships, educational programs and technical assistance in land and water management.

The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District works with several organizations, providing services such as education assistance, erosion and sediment control reviews, and more, including the Regional Storm Water Collaborative.

During the past two years, students in Meggie’s art classes at Lebanon Junior High School were selected to promote water conservation and erosion and flooding prevention by painting rain barrels for the Regional Storm Water Collaborative. The project was hosted by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

“The Rain Barrel Art Project desires to educate people on environmental issues like storm water runoff, watersheds and water conservation,” said John Nelson, spokesman from the project. “Rain barrels collect rain water from your roof and temporarily store the water for use. Rainwater is ideal for watering your garden, lawn and trees. Rain barrels not only reduce storm water runoff but also save homeowners money on their bills.”

“I participate in the rain barrel project because I wanted to expand the awareness of water conservation to as many people as possible. One way I could increase exposure to the project was to share this experience with my students,” Meggie said.

Read more about her students’ work here: Ohio Northern graduate inspires students to collect water in style.

Meggie earned her BFA degree in graphic design from Ohio Northern in 2009. While a student at ONU, she earned a Petrillo award, was involved in Delta Zeta, the Arts & Sciences College Student Advisory Board, and served as co-president of the ONU student chapter of AIGA|The Professional Association for Design. In 2012 she completed a Master of Art in Visual Art Education from the University of Cincinnati. Meggie currently is an art teacher at Lebanon Junior High School located near Cincinnati, Ohio. She teaches a variety of courses including beginning art classes, mixed media, three-dimensional art, digital photography, painting and drawing. 

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.