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Department ofSociology


Yesenia Magdaleno-Solis

Yesenia Magdaleno-Solis

Growing through Art

REAL student Yesenia Magdaleno-Solis ’20 looks to utilize art as a way to “cultivate creative confidence” in the next generation.

REAL student Yesenia Magdaleno-Solis ’20 looks to utilize art as a way to “cultivate creative confidence” in the next generation.

By Ally O’Connor ’20

Many years after her first middle school painting class, Yesenia Magdaleno-Solis ’20 (Sociology and Spanish) has continued to pursue her interest in art during her time at Santa Clara University. Although not an art major or minor, Magdaleno-Solis prioritized art this past summer, working as a REAL intern with the Palo Alto Art Center and as a muralist for the University Library’s new student-led mural. Finding time for art is important to her, she says, sharing that “it is my favorite part of the day when I can be in the studio.”

Over the summer of 2019, Magdaleno-Solis spent the majority of her time at the Palo Alto Art Center’s summer camp for children and teens.  She explains that the camp covers courses in Mixed Media, Ceramics, and Photography and her role involved providing support in class meetings and working with students as they learned.

In addition to this commitment, Magdaleno-Solis also designed and painted a landscape mural on the first floor of the University Library. Aiming to “articulate the interactions between earth, humans, and ideas,” she says, the mural “showcases the process of a seed’s growth as our own growth in our lifetimes and beyond.”

When asked about how these projects intersect with her academic studies, Magdaleno-Solis says that “I hope that I can find a way to bridge art with what I study, in particular sociology, as a way of portraying social justice in neighborhoods.  From the work of the mural in the library and the Palo Alto Art Center internship, I definitely see the importance in cultivating creative confidence in kids to create brighter opportunities for the growing generations.” 

Reflecting upon her summer art endeavors, specifically sharing art with others at the Palo Alto Art Center, Magdaleno-Solis eloquently states that "I don't believe that some people were born with talent in art.  It takes practice and patience. It also takes vision. To have confidence in painting means that there will be moments when the color may not be what you wanted or that your plan did not work out, but there is something so mysterious in trusting yourself to keep going with the process.  Beautiful things are created this way.”


About the REAL Program

The College of Arts and Sciences developed the REAL Program to allow students to discover their interests, gain a rich understanding of a particular field, discern their career goals, and explore future employment fields. We believe financial means should not determine whether or not a student can participate in internships, research, projects or creative works opportunities. Committed to providing paid experiential learning opportunities for students, the REAL Program provides stipends up to $5,000 for undergraduate opportunities lasting up to 10 weeks over the summer. Since inception, the program has distributed nearly $1.3 million to more than 300 students.

student story, sociology internship, REAL