Student Spotlight: Kimberly Kuba Rodey

Kimberly Kuba

Kimberly Kuba Rodey
Major: Associate in Science/Art

A member of the La Grange Art League since her junior year in high school, Kimberly Kuba Rodey established herself as an artist at an early age, exhibiting and selling her work through the league as well as on Etsy.

But she also wanted a career in art education. Instead of going away to school, Rodey felt comfortable attending College of DuPage, which she already knew was a good option because of the experience her brother had at COD.

“I didn’t want to be one of those people overwhelmed with the whole experience of going off by yourself, away from your family and friends, to a place you weren’t familiar with at all,” she said. “I wanted to commute from home so that I could get used to college.”

Rodey enrolled at College of DuPage, and her plan was on target.

“COD helped me toward achieving my dream of becoming an art teacher, but it also helped me learn what I needed to do to and what it took to succeed in college,” she said.

Rodey, who maintained a 4.0 GPA, graduated with an Associate in Science degree and then transferred to Northern Illinois University, where she switched majors from Art Education to Illustration to keep up with the growing integration between art and technology. She received the Huskie Legacy Award, which is a scholarship for students whose family members also attended NIU; maintained a 4.0 GPA; and was inducted into Tau Sigma Honor Society, geared toward transfer students, and Phi Kappa Phi. She also received the O’Malley-Pugh Scholarship, awarded through the NIU School of Art after a portfolio review.

She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and was selected to be a Student Marshall for the College of Visual and Performing Arts during the commencement ceremony. Rodey also received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Artistry, Contributions and Academic Achievement. This annual award goes to only one student from each of the individual colleges within NIU.

Rodey was accepted into NIU’s MFA program with an emphasis in painting. She also was a graduate assistant for the Painting and Drawing department and, as an MFA candidate, received her own studio space.

“This past fall, I taught Drawing II for a second time,” she said. “I have always wanted to teach, so it was amazing having my own class and working with students to build their skills and achieve their personal artistic vision.”

During the past year, Rodey and a fellow graduate student organized a two-person exhibition, “From the Ether,” at NIU’s Gallery 214 that consisted of preliminary work and ideas going into their solo thesis exhibitions. She also was part of a group of Northern’s MFA candidates exhibiting at the ARC Gallery in Chicago. Finally, in the spring, she had her successful solo thesis exhibition, “So to Speak,” at the Annette and Jerry Johns Gallery at NIU, which represented a multi-dimensional dialogue between several bodies of work that examined the articulation of spoken word and inner life.  

In May, Rodey earned her Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting, earning a 4.0 GPA. Currently, one of her paintings is displayed at the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College in Champaign in an exhibition celebrating Illinois’ bicentennial, and she will show works this summer at Western Exhibitions in Chicago.

She also is searching for a teaching position in academia or any art-related arena.

“My passion for teaching grew exponentially during my time at NIU, and I want to continue working with students to develop their skills and vision as young artists,” she said.

Rodey is thankful that College of DuPage provided a sound foundation for her continued success.

“At COD, I also learned a lot about myself along the way as I continued my art both inside and outside of school with a different perspective in mind,” she said.

More about COD’s transfer programs

More about COD’s Art program

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