Celeste Tooth - Maryland Institute College of Art

C.Tooth_Civic Fellow 22-23

Starting their first year in the fall of 2020, and in the midst of the global pandemic and fully remote learning, Celeste immediately got involved on campus by serving as a Community Site Leader where they were assigned to assist MICA’s Voter Access Initiative work with our Center for Creative Citizenship. Working diligently to reach every student prior to the national US elections, Celeste was an integral part of this work. …Celeste’s commitment to civic engagement is further demonstrated in their involvement with regional and national groups by representing MICA at the 2021 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting, the 2022 Baltimore Student Governance Summit, and participating in the national Ask Every Student meetings.

-Mr. Samuel Hoi
President, Maryland Institute College of Art

Institutions of higher education are riddled with systemic inequalities, inaccessibility, and multi-faceted exclusion. As a result, Disabled students are less than half as likely to complete a bachelor's degree when compared to their abled peers. To combat that, my advocacy efforts at this time are centered on both addressing the needs of Disabled students at MICA and celebrating our diverse community.

I am currently elected as the Student Voice Association’s Director of Student Life – and I also serve as the Chair/Head of SVA’s Accessibility Committee, as well as work for the Office of Culture and Identity as a Diversity Coordinator specializing in Disability, Neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+. Through the OCI, I am currently facilitating an exhibit to spotlight self-identified Disabled students for Disability Awareness Month. As a SVA member, I have been able to facilitate Disability/accessibility training for our dining staff, a new elevator being scheduled to be built, and the resolution of many accessibility issues with the shuttles. Additionally, I have been able to assist in the reimagining of our disability services – particularly through interviewing candidates for the new director position and advising administrators from the perspective of a Disabled student. Most recently, my work has been focused on successfully preventing a planned partial lifting of the college's mask mandate; an issue that would have disparate implications for our high-risk students.

It is my hope that the Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellowship would help me continue to improve my ability to work as a liaison between policy makers and marginalized students in similar critically important situations. This work is dear to me; I want the Disabled community on campus to have full –and safe– access to art education in a way that is equitable with abled students.

Celeste Tooth

2022-23 Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow