From a young age, Nina Bellisio showed great interest in visual arts. When she was in third grade, she learned BASIC programming so that she could animate her Christmas list. Little did she know, the incredible things destined for her future.
Aside from her passion for visual arts, Nina has conducted extensive research that focuses on gender bias in designed spaces and how that influences the success of women, in particular, but also people of color. She has presented at many conferences on this topic and just recently had a chapter published in a book, From Invisibility to Community: Teaching the Practice of Creativity (Illuminations of Social Imagination: Learning From Maxine Greene, edited by Courtney Weida, Dolapo Adeniji-Neill, and Carolina Cambronero Varela. DIO Press Inc. New York, 2020).
Later this year, Nina will present at two conferences on the topic of using art and creative projects to teach concepts in interdisciplinary classes. This was inspired by the podcast project she developed for the First-Year Seminar course at STAC.
Nina teaches many courses including Creativity and the Creative Process, Design Foundations, Art Direction, and First-Year Seminar. She works alongside a team of excellent faculty members who bring their professional experience to the art and design classes they teach. A few years ago, she became the Innovation Coordinator, which put her in the position to increase technology on campus through the Innovation Center and Media Lab. Through the Refresh Workshops, Nina also coordinates technology training, which has allowed her to really get to know many members of the full and part-time faculty.
There are many reasons Nina is passionate about her job. One that stands out is the STAC community. Nina says, “The genuine interest, respect, and caring we all have for each other is unlike any other.” She mentions that this is reinforced by STAC’s small size. Both faculty and staff look out for the students and for each other. This builds a nurturing environment and also opens the door to collaboration and across-disciplinary work, which translates into more opportunities for students both while they’re here, and after they graduate.
Nina loves watching her students grow and their openness to trying new things. Nina says that art classes in college can be a little scary because there isn’t a “right answer” and assignments aren’t tightly structured, which can differ from the experience they had with art classes in high school. However, STAC students put their fear aside and fully engage in their education.
Nina leaves an immense impact on her students by inspiring and motivating them to dream big. “Professor Bellisio is the kind of advisor I hope everyone has when they are in college. Having her in my corner these past few years, especially during a pandemic, has helped me feel prepared and stay focused on my goals” says STAC student, Jadealexis Westhoven.
“When students first begin college, many think the purpose of education is to memorize information and to pass tests. However, when it clicks that they are learning for themselves and building skills for their own future careers, they begin to see the connection between content in different courses and the relevancy of the concepts they are learning in other classes” says Nina.
When she is not working, Nina enjoys reading, traveling, and cooking. She has also trained for and run half marathons alongside some of her STAC colleagues. So far, she has run 11 half marathons! Nina is also learning about Minecraft and American Girl and listens to the Hamilton soundtrack every day! In the summer, she enjoys spending time with her family in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.