Doctoral chair’s daughter, 10, is a published artist

July 07, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

No matter what path 10-year-old Angelica Gary takes in life, she’ll have options.

Her mother, Senior Dissertation Chair Dr. Wanda Fernandopulle of the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University, has made sure of it.

Whether it’s supporting her daughter’s passion for art, enrolling her in classes to help her learn the basics of four different languages or laying the foundation for her daughter’s education, Fernandopulle has made preparing her daughter for the future a major priority.

The most recent example: Earlier this year, Fernandopulle accumulated a collection of her daughter’s artwork and created “Exploring Angelica’s Art,” a book published through Trafford Publishing.

“It’s not theme based or anything of that nature, it’s just a collection of her art,” Fernandopulle said. “I wanted to get her early onto publications knowing that when she gets into high school her portfolio will be ready.”

The book, available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, can be found in more than a thousand bookstores across the country. Having their name on a published book is an exciting accomplishment few 10-year-olds can say they’ve experienced, and Fernandopulle hopes it will inspire her daughter to continue to achieve as she gets older.

Angelica Gary

“She’s excited about it, but I don’t think she’s connected all the dots yet in terms of how this can help her 20 years from now,” she said. “Within the coming years she’ll see how all that work she put in as a young girl now will help her knock down barriers in terms of places that she’ll want to go.

“That’s my job as a parent, to prepare her.”

Education has long been an important factor in Fernandopulle’s life, from her years as a student through her career in academia. No matter her workload, she has made time to instill that same love for education in her daughter.

It’s a labor of love she takes seriously.

“When I’m not looking at dissertations, doing dissertation defenses and helping all my doctoral Learners out at Grand Canyon, this is my other life in terms of her academics and also homing in on her gift,” she said. “There’s always a purpose in everything that you do, and my purpose is to hopefully give her some options.”

Dr. Wanda Fernandopulle

In addition to being published, Gary’s art has been showcased in other ways. Her tribute to famous artist William H. Johnson was published last year in TIME for Kids magazine.

Later in the year, Gary submitted artwork she drew of Ida B. Wells to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage” project. The project accepted art submissions, themed around the suffrage movement, from children all over the country before selecting one art piece to represent each state. Gary’s piece was selected to represent her home state, South Carolina.

“Melania Trump sent her a beautiful letter from the White House, she was invited to come and it was all on the news,” Fernandopulle said. “She sent us an invitation to the White House, but that was in the midst of COVID when it was really bad, so I made the decision not to go.”

An example of Gary’s art.

Fernandopulle said her daughter is working on artwork for a second book.

“It’s fun for her. She loves art and those kinds of things,” she said. “With children, you have to make it fun, but at the same time I know that there’s a reason behind the fun.

“At least I’ve made the path for her. I’ve laid out something for her because I do recognize her gift, and so I want to make sure those gifts are developed and not wasted.”

Fernandopulle hopes that her daughter’s love of art will continue in her education. Maybe she’ll even pursue a doctorate in art history someday.

It’s all about having options.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].


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One Response
  1. Joan Parker

    Beautiful Angelica. Keep going and never give up on your beautiful dreams. May God Bless you!

    Joan of Faith

    Jul.08.2021 at 7:25 pm
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