Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Vantage Points: CASSH Blog | University of West Florida
Skip to main content

UWF Kappa Pi members internationally recognized

January 8, 2020 | Brandy Gottlieb |

Painting of a sculpture bust
"Medusa Sporting a Mohawk" by Sonia Soto, ceramics

Now alumnae, two UWF students recently received international recognition from Kappa Pi, the oldest and largest international college and university honorary art fraternity. 

Stacey Martin, who graduated in May 2019 with a BA, was awarded the first-place scholarship for Kappa Pi’s Graduating Senior category. Sonia Soto, who graduated this past December with a BFA, was named third-place scholarship winner for the New Initiatives category. 

The international scholarship competition took place during UWF’s first year as an official Kappa Pi chapter. The honors society promotes the study and understanding of the arts across all aspects of society through inclusion and the advancement of high impact scholarship and community outreach. 

Now, UWF is taking part of that mission. The new UWF fraternity chapter hosts regular member meetings and has served at both on-campus and off-campus volunteer events. UWF members have painted murals at local schools, volunteered with the UWF Theatre Department’s productions and given time at the Creative Learning Academy events. 

Kappa Pi, the oldest and largest among college art honorary fraternities, was founded in 1911. What began at the University of Kentucky as a small gathering of art students, has expanded to more than 85 chapters nationwide, to include UWF as one of the fraternity’s newest chapters.

Dr. Justin Sturgeon is an assistant professor of art at UWF. He spoke of Martin and Soto’s work. “I am proud to say that I have worked with both Stacy and Sonia in the past and both are accomplished artists and high achieving scholars. They are not only creative and skilled, they understand and implement lessons garnered from interdisciplinary projects and high-impact experiential learning opportunities.”

Martin and Soto’s work appears in Sketchbook, Kappa Pi’s  annual publication. 

 “I create artwork as a performance.” - Stacey Martin, '19

In Sketchbook, Martin is quoted as having said, “I create artwork as a performance.” She also described the feelings her photography evokes. “The end product then informs by evoking feelings of a dream-like state, saying more than the sum of the stage performers.” 

Soto’s images are a combination of oil paintings on wood panels and ceramic sculptures,  based on mythology and the natural world. Of her work, Soto said, “I strive to strike a balance between tradition and contemporary qualities, techniques and storylines within art.”

Soto said of her scholarship award, “This scholarship has given me the confidence to not only continue producing but applying to more scholarships and residencies. Lastly, the Art and Design Department faculty has been more than supportive throughout my entire education. I am thankful to them and to CASSH for this opportunity.” 

In the spring, Soto will be completing a post-graduate internship with Jim Jipson, UWF professor of art. Thanks to a grant she received last fall, she will also be working on research that investigates CRISPR-CAS 9 biotechnologies and the potential non-medical uses to create a body of (art) work. Soto also shared that she hopes to attend grad school in the future.

To learn more about the UWF Department of Art and Design, visit