Sadie Yanckello '15

Hometown: Oviedo, Florida

Major: Art History
Minor: Anthropology/Sociology

Academic interests: Art, visual culture, and their combined effect on reifying gender norms in American society

Extracurricular activities:  Intern at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Overton Park, part-time job at Crosstown Arts, varsity track and field (see following stats):
U.S Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division III Outdoor Women’s Track Athlete of the Year (South-Southeast Region) 2014 
Student Athlete Advisory Committee Scholar Athlete Award 2014 
Elected three time Rhodes College Women’s Track MVP 2012-2014 
Two time NCAA Division III Track & Field All-American 2012 (400 hurdles; 4x100 relay team) 
Selected three time NCAA All-Academic Athlete 2012-2014 
Rhodes College record holder 400 hurdles and member  of 4X1 relay team

Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.

My brother is a year older than me, and while he was going through the college search he came upon a book called Colleges That Change Lives. I also read this book, stumbled upon Rhodes College, and fell in love with it on paper. I wanted to run track in college but also go to school in a city, so Rhodes seemed like a good fit. I came into contact with Coach Shankman, who set me up on an overnight visit—where I fell in love in real life, too.

How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes College?

I have gained a much better capacity to connect my personal and intellectual lives, with much thanks to the F9 requirement of the Foundations Curriculum: “In order to live and work effectively in a culturally diverse world, liberally educated individuals cultivate the ability to view and understand issues and events from cultural perspectives that differ from their own. This ability requires in-depth analysis of issues that bring to the forefront similarities and differences in cultural values, beliefs, world views and/or identities.”  Through Rhodes, I’ve been able to grow my passion for art history and curating, all while broadening my knowledge of other fields.

You’ve competed in the national championship for track the past three years. How has your time on the track team shaped your experience at Rhodes?

The track team is an amazing group of people who have taught me the importance of diligence, teamwork, and a positive attitude. As a freshman, I got to be on a 400x100 meters relay team with two upper classmen and one other freshman, who really pushed me to understand that hard work pays off—and that it was possible to exceed my own expectations, not only on, but off, the track. Since we run at the Division III level, we aren’t paid to run. That relay team my freshman year really taught me that there is something truly special about not only participating, but actively doing my best to be competitive in whatever I find important. This year, I hope to compete in both indoor and outdoor nationals and break the Rhodes College 400m record. I’m really looking forward to this season. We’ve got a good group of girls with great chemistry.

You’ve spent a lot of time involving yourself in the art scene in Memphis. Tell us tell more about your opportunities and experiences.

Through the Summer Service Fellowship Program, I was given the opportunity to work at Crosstown Arts. This organization focuses on cultivating the creative community in Memphis through managing five different types of spaces that integrate exhibition, production, performance, education and local retail. Through these varying components, Crosstown Arts strives to create a welcoming environment in which people can indulge in multiple forms of creation and imagination. The goal is to have all (or most) of these spaces open and running at the same time to get people from each different organization mingling and collaborating. Collaboration is key to Crosstown′s ideas of service, and my own as well. By working together, people passionately do their best to communicate, grow, and minister to each other′s needs. Each piece of the whole is just as important as the next, no matter how big or small.

What was your favorite part of working at Crosstown? What did you gain from this experience?

Crosstown Arts is always buzzing with activity, and I was given many different jobs, including operating and maintaining the main gallery, executing interviews with local artists holding exhibitions in our galleries, and overseeing and implementing organizational administration in the office space. However, the most amazing work I got to do was host shows in 430 N Cleveland, Crosstown Arts’ exhibition venue, which can be rented out by anyone who wants to have an event that is in any way related to any form of art. This space truly gave meaning to a phrase I heard at the beginning of the summer, “ministry of presence.” Crosstown Arts serves the community by offering a space for people to host unique events, where they can express themselves regardless of creative interest or prior expertise. I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in terms of the work that has to be put in when running a non-profit on a day-to-day basis. Crosstown Arts has taught me the importance of a positive and communicative workplace, confirmed and strengthened my personal belief in the necessity of art and creativity, and inspired in me a sense of duty to the city of Memphis. I also have been given an opportunity to intern at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, working in the archives. I really hope to bridge connections between these two arts organizations in Memphis.