Aimee Tomasek, a Wisconsin native, is an Associate Professor of Art and the Department Chair for the Valparaiso University Art Department. Aimee attended high school at Amery High School in Amery, Wisconsin. She then continued her education at The University of Wisconsin in Green Bay with her undergraduate studies.
In college, Aimee started out studying biology and chemistry but then switched her major to photography during her junior year.
“The University of Wisconsin is a liberal arts school and they had general education requirements, as most universities do, and they made me take a photo class as my fine art requirement and it kind of changed my life,” stated Aimee.
That was not the first time Aimee had been exposed to photography, though.
“I was involved with 4-H photography since I was nine years old, so the affinity for photography has always been there, but once I took that class it really changed how I thought about making pictures and how I value other people’s pictures. It really made me think about how important photography is.”
Aimee is thankful for her photography professor who helped her think differently and ultimately was the reason she changed her path in college.
“If I am going to credit anybody for the changes that happened, it would be my photo professor, Jerry Dowell. He really was a great thinker and was an accomplished photographer himself, and he resonated a lot of sensibilities to me that carry through with my whole life now,” said Aimee.
With Aimee being a professor at Valparaiso University, she has the opportunity to be a mentor figure to young adults taking the photo classes she teaches.
Aimee was also active with the photography industry throughout her time in college as she worked in a photography store/studio. Doing this, she was able to gain lots of experience going out and shooting events from weddings to sports.
“Holding this position during my undergraduate studies really gave me great opportunities and it really helped me define what I wanted to do.”
After Aimee finished her undergraduate studies, she went on to attend graduate school at the University of Kentucky.
“I studied with Bones Carpenter and some of the iconic members of the Lexington Camera Club, which is notable in photography,” said Aimee.
After she completed her master’s degree, she jumped around from a few different jobs before she accepted her position at Valparaiso University.
“I got a teaching job back at my alma mater, The University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Then I went back to the University of Kentucky and taught for them for a year, then I got my job here at V.U. and have been here for the past twenty years.”
Outside of teaching at the university, Aimee is involved with judging 4-H projects and being a trolley driver at the Porter County Fair.
“I have judged a lot of 4-H projects at the fair and am also one of the original trolley drivers, which started back when the fair board initiated the trolley about twelve years ago,” stated Aimee.
Aimee also enjoys going to New Orleans after she fell in love with the city while attending a photography conference in college. She has worked on photography projects involving Mardi Gras and has been there for multiple service trips with the university, as well.
“The university started doing service trips to New Orleans about ten years ago, which was right after Hurricane Katrina occurred, and we would bring students down and work on a variety of different service-type jobs. Flood damage was the first area we started addressing and then we started doing stuff with other agencies in the community, such as working on gardens and stuff like that.”
Aimee’s passion for photography greatly shows through her work and dedication to her students.
If you would like to learn more about some of the projects and portfolios Aimee has worked on/is currently working on, click here!