Creating the Sculpture

McGraw-Hill Education commissioned two Arizona State University Students to design the prestigious award that embodies the spirit of education innovation. Learn more about the student artists and how they develop their skills to explore and develop narratives through sculpture.

“I think there is a common desire to create within most people, but it’s a driving desire that is probably just innate within me.”

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“It’s been surreal for me to create this award for these individuals who are constantly innovating in the field of education.”

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“Working together, we’ve combined our skills to really accurately represent the innovation, the forward thinking and the the global thinking that this award is about.”

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Miguel “Migs” Cardona

Arizona State University sculpting student Miguel “Migs” Cardona’s work as an artist requires him to push boundaries and find new perspectives to oftentimes illustrate the intangible. In many ways, this ties Cardona to the innovative cause of the McGraw Prize in Education, a cause he kept in mind while drafting the design and structure of the physical prize.

“The MGH prize is about innovation and further advancing our methods of teaching,” he said. “It’s definitely important for us to keep in perspective that Terry McGraw has an idea what that innovation is.”

Cardona started working with wood and metal as a boy, serving as an assistant handyman alongside his father. While he bemoaned spending his summers helping to fix air conditioners and repair houses as a child, Cardona said he is now grateful for the lessons he learned at the hands of his dad.

“It’s a lot of hard work when it comes to making a sculpture,” he said. “That was some thing that my dad always said, is to work hard and study and persevere when things get really tough.”

Sculpture work extends to much more than just a physical experience for Cardona. Cardona said he likes to delve into the process of conceptualization and relishes the evolution of the pieces he makes, sometimes taking a year to develop something tangible.

“For me I think that’s why I’m so drawn to this is because I can really envelop myself in the process,” he said. “And that’s one thing that I love is just getting dirty and going for it. The process is its own journey and that’s something that nobody sees.”

Cardona discovered his love for sculpture while taking classes at Arizona State University. Originally a design student working with digital media, Cardona said he didn’t feel satisfied until he got his hands dirty with sculpture.

“I had a sculpture class and I really excelled when got to do essentially what I wanted to do,” he said.

After interning with a Tempe, Arizona foundry and taking classes at ASU, Cardona said he is ready to do what he loves to as a full time job.

“I’ve gone from more of a student aspect to more of an entrepreneur where I want to use my art to support myself,” he said.

Chase Young

It wasn’t until Chase Young became a student of fine arts at Arizona State University that he discovered he was meant to be a sculptor.

“I’ve always been a maker, I’ve always been a creator – it’s what I love to do,” he said. “As soon as I took my first sculpture class it was like I was bred to do this.”

Young always knew his abilities to create and shape things. Before college, he amassed handyman skills, working with wood and auto paint. Once he enrolled as an art student, the stars aligned and he was able to pull together his existing knowledge into a single passion; story telling through art.

“The ability to create narratives is what really drives me,” he said. “I kind of found that out early, that I could make art that told a story … and that’s kind of where I’ve gone with art since then.”

ASU not only influenced him to set aside time to create and design, but it provided a fertile environment in which Young was able to draw inspiration from his peers and faculty.

“On my own at home, I wouldn’t have developed in a way that I would’ve wanted to,” he said. “I wouldn’t have realized I could create complex pieces.”

Young’s experience as a student has ignited his passion further. As one of two ASU students selected to design the McGraw Hill Prize in Education sculpture, Young reflected on the future of education, and said the benefits he’s experienced as a student should be shared by other learners around the globe.

“I think education’s responsibility is to get students engaged,” he said. “Sculpture is where I found that engagement with education. I found that desire to immerse myself with it… you have to be able to do it and be excited about it. It can’t just be a path, a means to an end, a way to get a job. Education has to be as engaging as the career’s going to be.”