Student reflects on her experience as an Undergraduate Research Assistant

Cates, assisting with Hui Chi Lee’s new project

Cates, assisting with Hui Chi Lee’s new project which will be exhibited at the Turchin Art Center in January 2020

My experience as a research assistant has expanded my perspective of the efforts it takes to balance both a career as a professor and an artist. Working in the studio for at least ten hours a week seems like a lot, but taking a moment to reflect the time put into this exhibition up to this point, my contribution only adds up a small part of this body of work Hui Chi has been arranging for over two years. Pace, persistence, and patience are the three key elements that I have taken away from this process. Reaching the end of a series of work is like a light at the end of the tunnel. In the process of completing a compelling body of work, you have to keep your creativity flowing and patiently wait to see the outcome of all the thoughts and time you have invested. In that, I have learned that time is valuable, and grit and stamina will serve you long in your practice as a studio artist.

Coming up on my last semester here at Appalachian State, in a sense, this experience has paralleled events soon to come. With my Senior Studio exhibition approaching, my work experience with Hui Chi will continue to serve me in the planning and execution of my own body of work. With this research assistantship nearing completion I would encourage all students to afford themselves an opportunity like this is one. Gaining hands-on knowledge and experience like no class you can take will give you an edge not only within your studies but your own practice as an artist.

by Lauren Cates