Hello, my name is Jessica Bastidas. I am sophomore at the Maryland Institute College of the Arts in Baltimore, MD currently pursuing a Dual Degree in Illustration and Humanistic Studies and a Masters in Art Education. The diverse subject matter and mediums demonstrated in my art reflect my interest in all facets of illustration and my quest to develop the skills and working process necessary to effectively synergize text and imagery in such a way that they will successfully communicate the central moral of the work to a child audience. I learned the power of believing, the strength of confidence, and the joy of experiencing something new—all from books. With lessons in British and English Literature, Creative Writing, and Child Psychology, paired with a strong artistic education, I hope to learn the techniques necessary to write and illustrate stories that help children deal with issues such as bullying and divorce while simultaneously empowering them with the character traits necessary for success including compassion, confidence, and commitment. Potentially, these lessons will help the youth as they mature and determine a positive direction for the future of our community and culture. By joining the Maryland Institute College of Art’s illustration program at Sao Tome and Principe, I not only reflect my interest in the field of Children’s book, visual journalism, and editorial illustration, but also wish to answer my questions concerning how to influence a person from a different cultural background through the communication of common themes. I hope that through travel and exposure, I can uncover what this universal commonalities are—enabling me to substitute the cruel constraints of a mundane reality with the infinite possibility of growth, change, and development.