Interview with Ms. Daniela Castillo, Art Graduate Student

Interview with Ms. Daniela Castillo, Art Graduate Student

at California State University, Hayward

  1. Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree in the visual arts?
    I was always interested in digital graphics and art. After much consideration and a careful search for the best place I found the Multimedia Graduate Degree at CSU Hayward. I believe that it has enriched my academic experience and has provided me with great tools for any industry here in Silicon Valley.
  2. How did you decide that it was the right time for you to pursue one?
    I always knew that I wanted to attend graduate school as soon as possible after my BA. So it was the right time from the moment I graduated. I just had to find the right place.
  3. What are the most important factors that you considered when evaluating and choosing a graduate program in the visual arts?
    Accessibility to major relevant industry areas, faculty, installations, curriculum and how pleasing the environment was at the University (Hayward has a gorgeous view of the Bay Area and lots of open spaces.
  4. Were there any important qualities about your school which made it stand out more than the others on your list of possibilities?
    Well, for starters, it was one of the few graduate degrees in multimedia. Santa Clara State and the Autonomous University of Barcelona were my other two choices at the time. I almost did end up in Barcelona.
  5. Given what you now know, what are tips could you provide for other students with regard to choosing and getting accepted into school?
    Be very confident and provide a stunning portfolio. WRITE WELL because you will have to do a lot of it, starting with your statement of purpose. That really impresses the admissions review committee.
  6. How did you fund your graduate education? How available were scholarships and other forms of financial assistance?
    There were many scholarships and opportunities, but since I was a California resident at the time the tuition was very affordable, so I just worked and studied and paid my way through.
  7. Exactly what is your graduate degree?
    Why did you choose to pursue this specific degree? Master of Arts in Multimedia. I liked this degree because it encompassed both the technical and the artistic side of things.
  8. How does your school help its students to find jobs in the visual arts? What are your employment goals?
    A wide spectrum of expertise in several areas, a different view of professional life after graduate school (I loved going to school and probably will be back soon), the opportunity to teach my area of expertise at the college level.
  9. Tell us about your education at your graduate school. What did you like and dislike about it?
    I liked many of the classes and many of the very knowledgeable teachers. I did notice that somewhere towards the end of my stay at Hayward there were some core changes going on in the program. Some teachers were leaving, others were changing and for a little while it felt like there was a lack of direction, but it all came together nicely in the end.
  10. How much difference does a good teacher make? Tell us about one good and one bad experience that you had.
    A good teacher makes all the difference in the world… they can change you life for ever and alter the way you view the world. They can make you passionate about learning and inspired to do research. Most of my experiences were very good in the program, I really can't say anything bad about any particular person or class… there was one class though, in which the instructor was not very experienced and thus had some trouble explaining more advanced techniques and concepts, but I dropped that class (it was not required) and all was good.
  11. Please write and answer other questions you think of that would benefit prospective graduate students.
    1. What are your expectations of graduate school? Write a list of that which you wish to accomplish.
      1. Broader view of the world
      2. Specialization in my area of expertise
      3. Multidisciplinary education
      4. Experience
      5. An opportunity to do research and get feedback from my professors and peers
      6. A forum to expose and discuss ideas, ideals, views
      7. Cultural enrichment
    2. How much time commitment are you willing to invest during your studies in graduate school? Are you going to be working part time? Full time? Does the program that you are considering have classes at the right times to be able to pull it off?
      Full-time commitment or so I thought for the first semester. Then I started working full time and things got crazy, but it was necessary. And yes, the program I attended did have mostly evening classes so you could accommodate studies and work.

EDITOR'S NOTE: See more of Ms. Castillo's work at and

Graduate Program Profile: California State University, Hayward, Department of Art

Enrollment: 12,855

School Tuition (in-state/out-of-state): In-State: $405 (0-6 units) or $615 (6+ units) for Graduate School, Out-of-State: $569 per unit for Graduate School

Student/Faculty Ratio: 21/1

Graduate degrees and programs offered in visual arts: Multimedia

The mission of your graduate art school: Through our departments and programs, taught by a committed faculty, students can enhance their understanding and appreciation of the human condition, different cultures and values, the natural world, and their own communities; improve their thinking, writing, reading, speaking, and problem-solving skills; discover and develop creative talents; develop the ability to look critically at the world around them; and acquire and share both theoretical and practical knowledge that will help them become more responsible, productive citizens and enjoy an enriched quality of existence.

Related Articles