UNCSA has added 12 new full-time faculty members for the 2022-23 school year, as well as 20 adjunct and visiting faculty, in the schools of Dance, Design & Production, Drama, Filmmaking, and Music, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Patrick J. Sims has announced. Of note are several UNCSA alumni faculty in Dance, Drama and Film.
“Students enrolled at UNCSA are blooming with creativity,” said Provost Sims. “It’s no surprise that the university welcomes a top-notch, diverse group of instructors with exceptional backgrounds in their fields and an authentic passion for the arts. The university is committed to elevating the student experience through instruction from faculty who have relevant industry experience and can bring that to bear on the training.”
Students enrolled at UNCSA are blooming with creativity, it’s no surprise that the university welcomes a top-notch, diverse group of instructors with exceptional backgrounds in their fields and an authentic passion for the arts.Provost Patrick Sims
Sims continued, “We are particularly proud of the exciting range of expertise represented in the new faculty, including interdisciplinary approaches to performance, episodic screenwriting, dancers with both Broadway and classical experience, and much more. And we are so pleased to see our talented alumni coming back to lend their expertise as faculty. We celebrate these new members of the UNCSA family and are looking forward to seeing how they help move our students forward to meet the evolving needs of the arts and entertainment industry.”
New faculty include:
Alumnus Ashley Lindsey (College Arts Diploma, Dance, ’07) will teach contemporary dance. A Raleigh native, he is the director of the Summer Dance program at UNCSA. He has been a member of the Limón Dance Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Helen Simoneau Dance and Jessica Gaynor Dance Company. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in contemporary dance.
Akua Noni Parker
Akua Noni Parker will teach ballet and pointe. Raised in Kinston, she was a company member with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cincinnati Ballet and Ballet San Jose. She later joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and was certified in the American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum.
Keith Thomas will teach ballet. Thomas is originally from Baltimore and has been a Broadway performer and former principal at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He expanded his career and landed roles for films including “Malcolm X,” “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “Step Up” and “The Producers.” He is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts with a focus in dance.
Yoon Bae will teach scene design. A native of Seoul, South Korea, she has designed stages for productions across the United States and overseas. She taught at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Central Saint Martins, Rose Bruford College, Oklahoma City University and the University of Kentucky. Yoon holds a B.F.A. from Middlesex University and a Master of Fine Arts in theater design from the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London. Her collaborative design for the national exhibition will represent the USA at the Prague Quadrennial in 2023.
Nikki Hyde will teach stage management. She has an extensive theater background with over 15 years of experience. She has worked on productions for The Kennedy Center, the Hollywood Bowl, the Public Theater, MCC Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall, South Coast Repertory, Wallis Annenberg Center, Cincinnati Opera, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Pasadena Playhouse and Center Theatre Group. She’s a frequent stage manager at the Los Angeles and San Diego operas. Hyde has taught at the California Institute of the Arts’ School of Theater and University of California San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She has a Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of Southern California.
Lindsay Putnam will teach sound design. She has designed an assortment of works including award-winning escape rooms, musicals and plays. She has worked at a variety of venues including Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Disneyland, The Den Theatre, Stockton Theatre Project, Ground & Field Festival, Pegasus Playlab, TheatreUCF, Dr. Phillips Center, South Coast Repertory, PCPA, Solvang Festival Theatre, The Escape Ventures, and many online streaming platforms. Her prior teaching experience includes the University of Central Florida and the Pacific Conservatory Theatre. Putnam holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater design and production from California State University and an M.F.A. in dramatic art from the University of California, Davis.
Alumna Jessica Kammerud (M.F.A. Design and Production ’21) will teach properties management and production in the Stage Properties concentration. She has previously worked as the props designer and stage manager for the North Carolina Stage Company, assistant props manager for the Glimmerglass Festival and assistant properties supervisor at the Goodman Theatre. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina Asheville.
Alumnus Aaron Pennington (High School Visual Arts ’08) will teach sculpture for the theatrical designer and drawing in the Visual Arts Program. He is an artist who works in a wide variety of mediums including painting, printmaking and installation. Pennington earned his B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and his M.F.A. from the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. His works have been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the Boston Center for the Arts, Claremont Graduate University and HVW8 Berlin.
Donald Sweeper will teach 3D design, sculpting and animatics in addition to figure design and engineering in the Animatronics concentration. He has extensive experience in 3D printing, aviation-focused STEM courses and engineering design. Sweeper has previously taught at Duke University, Guilford County Schools and the Quality Education Academy. He has his bachelor’s and Master of Science in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. He was also featured on local news outlets for supporting Triad health care workers by printing 3D face shields.
Michael Alvarez will teach interdisciplinary approaches to performance. He was a directing fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, a Drama League Directing Fellow and a director with the Civilians R&D Group. He has directed and created work for Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End, Arcola Theatre, London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, National Theatre of Slovenia, New York Theatre Workshop, and Serenbe Playhouse, and has made performance art pieces at the British Museum. He founded a production company called The Muse Collective. Alvarez's education background includes the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the California Institute of the Arts.
Alumna Maggie Anderson (H.S. Drama ’92) is the director of the High School Drama Program after having previously served as interim director. Since 2013, she has been associate professor of musical theater and director of movement at Temple University, where she received an Excellence in Teaching Award. She has also taught at the College of New Jersey, McCarter Theatre, Wagner College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Anderson has directed and choreographed productions at Temple Theater, Villanova Theatre, Drexel University and many regional theaters. As an actor, she has appeared in regional theater productions, film and television roles, and commercials. She has an M.F.A. in musical theater from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a B.F.A. in music theater from Elon University.
Claire Fort will teach acting and directing. She has a bachelor’s degree in drama from Kenyon College and an M.F.A. in acting from The University of Washington. Her passion for Shakespeare led her to study at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and she later earned her Actors’ Equity Card for her role in “Romeo and Juliet” at Indiana Repertory Theatre. A Wilmington native, Fort attributes her artistic influence to her parents. She recently released an award-winning web series with her sister.
Cliff Odle will teach acting and directing. He has directed plays including “Amadeus,” “Agnes of God,” “Yellowface” and “The Colored Museum” for venues including the Livian Yeh Fresh Ink Theater, the Charles Draghi New Urban Theatre Lab and the Umass Theater. His acting resume is extensive with over 50 performances for a variety of productions for the Wheelock Family Theatre, the New Repertory Theatre, the GAMM Theatre and others. He's held a variety of roles in the Boston-area debut of “Passing Strange,” “Race,” “Fences” and “The Color Purple.” He’s written work including “Lost Tempo,” “Our Girl in Trenton,” “Running the Bulls,” “The Petition,” and “Slammin’ the Bones.” Odle has extensive teaching experience at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Emerson College; Wheelock College; Boston University; and Bates College. He is a New Jersey native.
The School of Filmmaking at UNCSA has added several new courses including Black film history, modern Japanese cinema, puppeteering, acting for animation, screenwriting for animation, and acting for nonactors.
Alumnus Shawn Harwell (B.F.A. Filmmaking ’99) is teaching several screenwriting courses. His credits include three seasons of “Red Oaks” on Amazon Prime, the feature film “The Campaign,” a Brisk Iced Tea commercial and two seasons of HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.” He was a Top 10 finalist in the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest, judged by Francis Ford Coppola. Harwell received his master’s degree in creative writing from Miami University and studied screenwriting at UNCSA.
Constance Brannick will teach picture editing. She has over seven years of editing experience on award-winning projects. She has an M.F.A in film and television editing from The National Film and Television School.
Jeff Buitenveld will teach producing and creative development. He is an independent producer and manager with experience at top entertainment agencies including United Artists. He is the founder of “ScriptArsenal,” an online consulting agency for screenwriters. He has an M.F.A. from the Producer’s Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Agatha Dominik will teach graduate screenwriting. She has over 20 years of film experience including serving as the vice president of development at TriStar Pictures, senior vice president of Summers-Quaid Productions at Sony, and numerous writing and development credits. She holds a master’s degree in film and theater critical studies from the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Warsaw, Poland.
Shahin Gorgani will teach introduction to animation and acting for animators. He is a filmmaker, musician and actor from Iran, most recently based in Los Angeles. He has acted in several plays by Iranian playwright Bahram Beyzaie. He has performed in concerts with Grammy-nominated Keyhan Kalhor, Shams Ensemble at the Lincoln Center and other accomplished Iranian musicians. He’s served on the jury for the Guadalajara International Film Festival and has previously taught at California Institute of the Arts where he also holds M.F.A. in film directing.
Pooja Gupta will teach conceiving and developing the short film and episodic genres. She has over a decade of experience in developing and producing multimedia content for film and television. She's worked as a content producer and story editor for some of the highest rated shows on MGM Television, ABC, MTV, E!, Bravo, FYI Television and WE tv. She has an M.F.A. in film directing from the California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in art history and film theory from Hampshire College.
Lydia Marie Hicks
Lydia Marie Hicks will teach directing. She is a freelance filmmaker and multi-media artist known for her 2018 video and place-based installation “Black in the Water” and her 2016 experimental documentary “Rediscovering the Scientist.” Her projects seek to explode identity-based historical narratives and promote healing by historicizing alternate concepts of western culture and celebrating the overlooked and undervalued contributions of marginalized groups. Her work has been featured on the National Geographic and premiered at Sundance Film Festival. She has been supported by the EarthFire Institute, WildSumaco Biological Station, Interlochen Academy of Arts, Guild Hall and the Fine Arts Work Center. She’s previously taught at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Interlochen Arts Academy and other schools. She holds an M.F.A. in film and video from The California Institute of the Arts and a B.S. in zoology from Humboldt State University.
Melanie Matthews-Bates will teach Black film history and acting for nonactors. She has taught at Bennett College, Guilford College and several Guilford County schools. She has worked with Triad Stage, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company and the National Black Theatre Festival. She holds a B.F.A. in professional theater and a Bachelor of Science in accounting from North Carolina A&T State University and an M.F.A. in theater from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Eric McEver will teach screenwriting for animation and a course on Japanese cinema. He has over a decade’s worth of experience writing and directing films in Asia. His prior teaching experience includes the English Language Film School Japan. He holds an M.F.A. from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Alumnus Alexandre Moratto (B.F.A. Filmmaking ’10) will teach the fundamentals of screenwriting and feature screenplay practicum. His most recent film, “7 Prisoners,” won multiple awards and was picked up by Netflix. He has taught at the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab and the Toronto International Film Festival Filmmaker Lab. He studied directing at UNCSA.
Julie Zografos Koegl
Alumna Julie Zografos Koegl (B.F.A. Filmmaking ’13) will teach screenwriting. With a background in business, she also wrote and produced several short films. She was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and was a finalist for the Athena Episodic Television Lab. She studied directing at UNCSA.
Jared Miller will teach composition. A Canadian native, he is a JUNO (for Canadian musical artists)-nominated composer whose music has been presented in the New York Philharmonic Biennial, the International Society for Contemporary Music World Music Days, Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival, and the Festival Internacional de Jóvenes Orquestas. He has collaborated with the American Composers Orchestra; the Nashville Symphony; the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Toronto, Detroit and New Jersey; The Attacca Quartet; Latitude 49; the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute; and Standing Wave. He has also held residencies at the Banff Centre, the Hermitage Artists Retreat, I-Park’s International Artist-in-Residence Program and with the Victoria Symphony. Miller holds a master’s degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts from The Juilliard School.
Stephanie Patterson will be the associate professor of bassoon. Originally from California, she has performed around the world including at the Belfast Sonorities Festival, the Lucerne Academy, and Pro Musica in Juiz da Fora, Brazil. Patterson has taught at the Schwob School of Music, was principal bassoon of the Columbus Symphony in Georgia, and acting principal bassoon with the Atlanta Opera. She has commissioned new works as a member of the Enid Trio and the Off Broadway Trio. She recently wrote the book “An Introduction to Contemporary Music for Bassoon and 64 Etudes.”
Alumna Jodi Burns (M.M. Music ’10) will teach voice. In addition to appearing numerous times on the stage of the Stevens Center, she’s also performed with the Piedmont Opera, the Princeton Festival, the North Carolina Symphony, the Fletcher Opera Institute, the Opera Theatre of the Rockies and others. In addition to her Master of Music from UNCSA, she holds a B.M.E. from The Ohio State University.
Erica Fedor will teach high school music theory and musicianship, high school music literature and analysis, and undergraduate world music. She is a member of UNC’s Royster Society of Fellows. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from Wake Forest University and an M.M. from Florida State University.
Alumna Laura Stevens (M.M. Music ’05) will teach high school music theory and musicianship. She is the Lecturer of Flute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Carolina Wind Quintet. She served as the principal flutist of the Western Piedmont Symphony for 20 years and has been a member of the Salisbury Symphony since 2000. She holds a B.M. from Salem College and a D.M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Lucas Wong will serve as the Fletcher Opera Institute vocal coach. He has had a diversified career as performer and teacher, specializing in the art of collaborative piano. He has experience in over 30 opera productions, hundreds of songs, and numerous solo and chamber works in addition to iOS apps. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts, Master of Musical Arts and a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of British Columbia School of Music.
Bethany Kibler will teach first-year seminar. Originally from Baltimore, she is a two-time Harvard graduate with training in Middle Eastern studies; women, gender, and sexuality studies; and literature. Kibler is a social anthropologist who is fluent in French and Arabic. She has conducted extensive field research in Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Croatia and military communities across the United States. She has over 12 years of teaching experience in addition to fellowships and consultancies in veterans’ education policy and arts development.
Theresa Higgins will teach English. She previously taught at Parkland High School, Guilford County Schools, Guilford Technical Community College and North Carolina A&T State University. She holds a B.A. in Africana studies from North Carolina State University and two Master of Arts degrees in English and African American literature and teaching secondary English from N.C. A&T.
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September 15, 2022