Q: Can you tell me about your connection to WVU? Did you go to school here, what years, what activities were you involved in?
A: As a WV native, I have always felt a connection to WVU. I started taking clarinet lessons in Morgantown when I was 15. During high school, I attended Mountaineer Music camp two summers and had been a member of various All-State conferences that were held in Morgantown. Even after those positive experiences I thought I would attend a smaller school. But in the Spring of 1998 the Pride of WV sent a Keynotes CD to every high school in the state after receiving the Sudler Trophy, and I was hooked. I graduated from the College of Creative Arts in 2002 with a degree in Music Education. While at WVU I was a member of various instrumental ensembles including the Pride of WV, where I served as a drum major for three seasons. I also was a member of Mountain Honorary.
Q: Can you tell me about what you did for work before accepting this position?
A: I taught various grade levels and disciplines of music for almost 20 years, in both Mineral and Berkeley County. During my time as a music educator, I participated in many aspects of music and arts education advocacy and management throughout the state. In March of 2021 I transitioned away from education and into non-profit, managing Mountains of Hope, the State Cancer Coalition, which is housed at WVU Cancer Institute's Cancer Prevention and Control Department.
Q: Why did you decide to take this role as assistant director of development?
A: I am convinced that The Arts are in my DNA. As much as I LOVED working with my colleagues at Cancer Prevention and Control, I felt like there was a piece missing. The work with Mountains of Hope afforded me the opportunity to learn a lot about community engagement, engaging stakeholders, and managing grants and other types of funds, so when I learned of the Assistant Director of Development opening at the CCA, it felt almost meant to be. As a mother of 2, I enjoy the flexibility of working remotely and this job allows me to pair that with my very favorite thing - The Arts!
Q: Can you explain what you do in this role from day to day?
A: If you asked my daughter this question, she would tell you that I spend my days providing folks with the information and opportunity to invest in my very favorite thing - The Arts and WVU. Admittedly, she's pretty close to correct. Development work is strategic fundraising, so a lot of time is spent sharing the myriad of learning and growing opportunities offered at the College of Creative Arts with potential donors. So far that has meant meeting at a tailgate at the Penn State game, chatting over a cup of tea or coffee, or spending time together at a concert or art exhibit. There's some travel involved so communication and time management is key. The Creative Arts Director of Development Jennifer Jordan and I meet weekly to make sure we are on the same page with our efforts. She is the best mentor and has made the transition as seamless as possible.
Q: You’ve been here a few months now - what has been your favorite part of the job so far?
A: I have two favorites so far. An unexpected joy of this job has been spending time with donors at the art Museum of WVU. I find such a peace in the galleries and on the sculpture walk. Every time I visit, I see something new. Watching the Pride of WV find out they have been selected to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade will be hard to top. Their excitement was palpable, and as a Pride alum myself it brought tears to my eyes. We really are helping our students "Dream Big" every day.
Q: Outside of work - do you have any hobbies or interests?
A: My husband is a middle school band director, and we have two kids, so we have a pretty busy household. I love watching our kids discover the things that fill their cup. We are Mountaineer Football season ticket holders and love going to the games. Otherwise, I love to read, hike, listen to podcasts, and bake. My favorite place is outdoors. I am also a breast cancer survivor and am passionate about encouraging folks to schedule their recommended health screenings.