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Meet Our Graduates

Maddie Ovies

Elementary Education, B.A.

Maddie, currently enrolled in our 5-year Education Master Program, earned a BA in Elementary education. She will finish an endorsement in multi-categorical special education during her fifth year.

As a Service Scholar all 4 years, Maddie contributed her time and service to the Parish House which provides food, clothing, and other types of assistance to members of the Buckhannon community in need. Maddie was also the cheerleading coach for Special Olympics and coordinator of WVWC Community Engagement “We Lead” teams Poverty Reduction, Children and Youth, and Humans of the World. She participated in the campus outreach efforts of Trick or Treating for Canned Goods, Refugee Road, and Poverty Simulation. Maddie organized the “Winter Wonderland Prom” for Special Olympics spring of 2017 and plans to work on a “Respite Care Prom” in Upshur County this coming year.

Maddie gave campus tours to prospective students as a Wesleyan Student Ambassador, she was a Student Senator – Community Service and Alumni Relations Chair, a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority – Membership Education Vice President and Chaplain, and finally she belonged to the Student Education Association which promotes awareness and WVWC student activity in Upshur County school programming.

Maddie was asked about support she received as a student who worked with the Learning Center:

“I know I had someone in my corner, I knew I was going to be successful, but I needed someone to help me understand that I could be at first. I learned to advocate for myself. All my professors have been willing to work with me to make sure I got all my accommodations and that I understood the material I was learning.

“Not just one person in the Learning Center has helped me. Depending on their strengths (who was best to help with different areas), several people helped me – with PRAXIS study, with science and math classes…It’s like a big family that wants to help you and see you succeed!”

Maddie was asked how she thinks she has changed throughout her four years at Wesleyan and if she is ready to start her work as a teacher.

“I came in thinking that both college in general and teacher education were going to be extremely hard. I was worried because I was afraid of failing, but I learned it is okay to fail and that it is about getting back up. There are going to be obstacles, but you have to figure out how to get through them or how to go around them.

“I’ve become more of an optimistic person, even when things don’t go as expected, I think I look at the brighter side of why things like that happen.

“I am more confident in myself, I am not scared to advocate for myself and explain to someone if I am not understanding, to help clarify what I need to know…

“If I put my mind to it, I can do it; it is not always easy but I know I can be successful even though I learn differently. My learning disability does not define what I am capable of. I have learned to communicate what helps me be successful with others and I feel confident that I will always be willing to learn and make changes in the work field.

“The Learning Center is a wonderful and special thing Wesleyan has; it is made up of so many great people. It was that support system that I needed, at first full on, then slowly you are shown that you that you can take over. Even if I didn’t need the help, sometimes it was a comfort knowing that it was here and that everyone was rooting for you, wanting you to be successful.”

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Lexi Jani

Educational Studies, B.A.

Lexi graduated as an Educational Studies major, earning a GPA of 3.28. She was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, serving as Sisterhood Chair and Vice President. Lexi also participated on campus as a first generation college mentor, member of Bobcat Entertainment, team member of We Lead – Invisible Illness. In addition, Lexi was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Lexi’s future plans include application to graduate programs….“My family has been involved in entrepreneurship, and I have good people skills so I am leaning toward industrial psychology….I want to help people who don’t have opportunities. I am also interested in helping people with intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities.”

Lexi was asked about her work with the staff in the Learning Center:

“The staff guided me when I needed it. Most importantly, besides schoolwork, they were there for me when my parents couldn’t be there – because of the distance. They cared about me as a person; when you know that you are genuinely cared about you can do better academically. Everyone in the Learning Center really cares, I can go to any one of the staff members and they make time to help me.

“I love meeting with my mentor, even if I don’t have school work, I can just talk about how my day went or if I am having a bad day. She will help me break down my assignments, like if I have a long paper to do. Whoever is in charge of hiring here hires genuinely good people who help with everything, and if they don’t have an answer they are honest and will direct me to the person who can help me.”

When asked what she learned about herself while in college, Lexi responded:

“I learned that I can honestly do anything – I just needed to believe in myself. My freshman and sophomore year I was so scared of asking for help. By my junior and senior year, I was able to make my weekly assignment schedule by myself without help. I learned to do things on my own. I used to ask my mentor to literally check every assignment because I needed the reassurance that it was correct but now I’ve learned that I can do things on my own because I believe in myself and have more confidence.

“At first I was ashamed of being a part of the Learning Center; I would lie to my friends about where I was going. The Learning Center taught me to be honest about my disability. I learned that it didn’t matter how long it took me to do my work, just that I accomplished it.”

Lexi was asked how she thinks she has changed over the four years:

“Most importantly, I am no longer ashamed of my learning impairment, I’ve learned to use it as a powerful tool, and I know that it makes me unique. I learn differently than others, and I have learned how I learn from being here. For job interviews, I will tell future employers that my disability is not a weakness but a strength because I accomplish my work. I have learned to work harder to accomplish something that would take someone else half the time.

“All in all if I had to make the choice of colleges again, I would choose Wesleyan because of the Learning Center; not many colleges offer a program that encourages students to work through their disability. I am ready to go into the work force, four years of college have helped me mature, and I know that I can accomplish whatever it is that I want to do in life.”

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Jess McCarthy

Nursing, B.S.N.

Jess earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, with a final GPA of 3.49. She was treasurer of the Wesleyan Student Nurses Association (SNOW) and as part of that organization helped with various service projects in the Buckhannon community during her three-year enrollment. In addition, Jess was a member of the American Student Nursing Association and volunteered to work the blood pressure clinic at the Upshur County Parish House. Jess was the class representative to the WVWC Nursing Department during her last two years of school.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse but have always struggled in school, so I was going to try for it but never sure I was going to make it. When I was getting diagnosed with my learning disability, the examiner told me I should go into something else that would be less stressful, that I would be setting myself up for failure. So coming here, enrolling in a small program, and getting individual attention and help through the Learning Center has made my academic success possible.”

Prior to enrollment at Wesleyan, Jess attended Bellevue Community College in Seattle, WA. There she earned an Associate Degree in Arts and Science while taking the prerequisites for admission to nursing school.

“I struggled at Bellevue with the prerequisites to get into nursing – Microbiology, Psychology, Nutrition, Statistics, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology. I worked full-time and had no accommodations because I had not been diagnosed yet….My instructors at the community college told me to look into a diagnosis because I was working so hard but my work wasn’t reflected in my grades.

“I heard about Wesleyan because my friend attended WVWC and used the Learning Center. I also had heard about the rivers in West Virginia for a long time, and I am a white water kayaker.”

When asked about working with the staff in the Learning Center Jess replied:

“My Comprehensive Advisor helped me to prioritize when I was feeling overwhelmed, and she helped me develop strategies and tools as a coping strategy. I learned to fill out my calendar at the beginning of the semester with everything I have to do; that was helpful because I could visualize what I needed to do, I could schedule my day according to what I needed to complete.

“I was so scared I was going to fail, all I was doing was studying. My Comprehensive Advisor in the Learning Center helped me see I needed to take time for myself, I learned to do things like take a walk.

“Using extra time and a reduced distraction environment for testing has been huge for me, I would get so sidetracked testing in class just by somebody breathing or moving a pencil, the reduced distraction environment took it all away….Also, the tutoring service was helpful.”

When asked what she learned about herself during her time with us, Jess responded:

“I learned that I am just as competent as anybody else, it just took getting my accommodations in order for my studying to be reflected in my academic performance. I have been on the Dean’s List every semester and received an award for excellence in nursing my sophomore year. I learned to acknowledge that I can do what I want in life if I just put the time and effort towards it.”

And about feeling prepared to work: “… I am ready to start living my life as a nurse. I will be moving back home to Alaska after I take the NCLEX. I have applied for jobs in the NICU, and Maternity Labor and Delivery units. I have dedicated all my time to becoming a nurse…I had to give up a lot to be successful, and now I am graduating!”

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Arianna Stewart

Graphic Design, B.A.

Arianna, who graduated in May 2016, loves designing graphics and photography. She discovered her talent sophomore year and changed her major from Athletic Training to Graphic Design. Since that change Arianna’s academic performance strengthened; she made Dean’s list the last two semesters enrolled at Wesleyan. Arianna opened her own photography business while in school and made plans to start a screen printing business as well.

Senior year, Arianna completed an internship creating screen print sports tees for “On Point Athletics” to gain experience in the field. Through her photography business, Arianna was contracted to shoot individual and family portraits, weddings, landscapes, and sports teams (even one semi-pro football team!).

Arianna reflected on her change of major: “When I was in the athletic training program, I worked hard to know the information. I realized that if I wanted to do something for the rest of my life, I should do something that I love…When I was younger, I used to draw but I got immersed in sports (softball) and grew up thinking this is what I was going to do, something with athletics. People didn’t see art as a successful opportunity for my degree so I had to get over that mindset of not being involved in sports and being more comfortable with what I am meant to do.” Arianna played varsity softball during her first year at Wesleyan.

“My mentor in the Learning Center Mentor Advantage Program knew all the scientific information for athletic training, but she was supportive with me switching my major to art since she knew I always had a passion for it. She knew that this is what I was meant to do; this influenced me because I needed her support in addition to my family to know this was a good move.”

On gaining experience while a student at Wesleyan:

“I starting doing indoor football games for the Rangers [a semi-pro football team] and other events to learn how to use a camera…. I picked up on this really quickly, opened a business, and started getting more and more clients. Now I need to market myself to gain clients in my new home area, Parkersburg.”

“For my senior project [all students are required to do this], I contracted with clients to promote their business; I will showcase my work at the end of the year. I created a logo for Pittsburgh Rangers and did their tee shirt design; I am currently creating a new tee shirt design for this season and I did a logo and business card for my dad. I did a rebranding project for Big Jim’s Restaurant and Bar as well (Big Jim’s was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network!!!!!). I kind of found a niche for tee shirt design so this is going to be part of the business I want to open. Right now I want to get experience in all aspects of graphic design.”

On working with the staff in the Learning Center:

“My mentor was my saving grace for my 4 years; I really couldn’t have done this without her support, I earned a GPA below 2.0 my first year and went from that to making the Dean’s List this past semester. I did not think I could have ever done that. My mentor believed I could do better than I ever thought I could. She figured out how I worked and studied, she tried to understand anything I brought to the session….She worked with me on both the good and the bad days – she helped me grow as a person, and gave me confidence so I could do what I needed to do here. I slowly started to realize that my mentor was right.”

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John Prentice

Psychology, B.A.

John graduated Cum Laude in May 2016, earning a degree in Psychology. He completed both department tracks undertaking two semesters of a practicum as well as a research thesis. John was really involved as a student at Wesleyan, his affiliations follow!

President, junior and senior year, of Phi Mu Alpha, our men’s social music fraternity

Psychology department assistant and Teaching Assistant for the department Chair. John supervised the Behavioral Study Rat Lab for a few years

Co-director of “Joyful Noise,” a choir composed of all aged community members who have cognitive and intellectual disabilities

Local Young Life leader first and second year at Wesleyan

Supported the youth ministry at New Community Church, helping with worship music and bible lessons for children from nursery to grade five

Mentor Educator for Appalachian Impact, working to build literacy skills and creative expression for kids grades two to six, over two summers

Youth leader for Young Life summer camp in Scotland, summer of 2014

John is now attending graduate school at Marshall University.  He is pursuing a Master of the Arts in Clinical Psychology with plans to continue to PsyD or PhD study’s in the same area.

Here is what John had to say about his experience at Wesleyan:

“My experience at Wesleyan was absolutely wonderful. Wesleyan gave me confidence and skills to believe in abilities that were already there. The community here was friendly and almost therapeutic. It is so small, everyone knows you, it’s almost like a family. I started to believe what people were saying about me – that I could do things, that I was not limited, that I had potential. That offered me a profound shift in how I looked at myself. This makes transitioning out of the College really very bittersweet.”

“The psychology major was the best possible thing for me…I love working with people, being able to help shoulder some of the burdens of others to make their lives a little more meaningful and less cumbersome. I enjoy working with individuals with disabilities and being an advocate for people who cannot advocate for themselves. My psychology internship was with Women’s Aid in Crisis; there I worked with women who had cognitive disorders. While I was there I led group discussion and helped with a healthy relationship class.”

“There are people at this institution that my success was very nearly contingent upon – my Mentor and my Comprehensive Advisor in the Learning Center took a vested interest in my life; they had more confidence in me than I had in myself, it slowly became infectious. They pushed me when I felt like I could not do one more piece of homework and they comforted me when I got the homework back! I am very hard on myself, so they helped me keep perspective about my grades.”

“I think another amazing thing is the Lindamood-Bell staff – they have had the most systemic impact on me because I can read now!!!!! I have gone up I forget how many grade levels in reading, I feel like I am connected today to a world that I previously never knew existed. Even though I still have difficulties, I know how to work around them. I can read street signs! I was a skeptic about Lindamood-Bell at first – I thought there was no way this program could possibly work but it really was effective. The Coordinator will make you read something a thousand times and you’ll hate him for it but by the end you’ll love him because you learn how to read. I learned through the whole Learning Center staff that that I am not defined by my differences.”

“I believe I have become the most authentic version of myself here. These four years have been an incredible journey of highs and lows and in-betweens but somewhere all along the way, I started to figure out who I was and I was helped along by numerous people. Now that it’s coming to a close I am so grateful because I would truly not be who I am today without Wesleyan and the wonderful people who work here. The friends I’ve made here are friends that will be life-long.”

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Andrew Tiffin

Physics, B.S.

Andrew, an avid road and mountain bicyclist, earned a B.S. in Physics, December, 2015. He was president of both the Cycling and Space Clubs at WVWC. During the past few summers, Andrew, with the help of the Physics’ department faculty, received a research grant from NASA to work on a greenhouse gas monitoring circuit: “I learned a lot about designing circuits from this project and gained some good experience in working with other people from different schools like WVU, Marshall, and Shepherd…. Our faculty mentor for this project, Dr. Delaney, is very enthusiastic and supportive.” Currently, Andrew is taking graduate classes in Mechanical Engineering at WVU with the goal of pursuing a Master’s degree.

When asked about how he worked with the Learning Center and his major professors, Andrew responded: “The Learning Center was a big help in the beginning…getting started was tough for me. I was really stressed out my freshman year since college is so different from high school. But since then, I prefer to do my own thing. I use the Learning Center’s Test Lab for almost all of my testing (I can’t imagine taking a test in 50 minutes – it just doesn’t seem possible). I also use note takers for some of my classes. My physics professor, Dr. Popson, is always willing to sit down with me; he just drops what he is doing to help me with whatever class I am working to understand.”

When asked what he picked up from the Learning Center staff about handling the college environment, Andrew talked about the importance of not “overworking yourself … sometimes I’ll stay up too late working on something, then I find I don’t have the energy I need for the rest of the next day or even the entire week. I learned that it’s better to work consistently instead of cramming.”

And about being ready to go out into the world of work? “There is more I have to learn but I feel like I am at a good starting point…. I’m definitely a lot more focused – I like school a lot more – I see there is a connection between class and its practical application, once I graduate. In high school, it [going to class] was just what I did every day, now I am learning for a reason. This change happened my sophomore year, it was joining the space club and working on my summer grant projects – these things helped me see the connections between what we are learning in our courses and how that can be used outside the classroom.”

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Nikki Fitzpatrick

Public Relations, B.A.

Nikki earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, May 2015. She was the training director for the campus radio station, C92- FM, and sister of Alpha Gamma Delta.

When asked about her work with the Learning Center, Nikki responded:

“When I first came [to Wesleyan] I thought I was going to transfer within a year – I just wanted the support that the Learning Center offered. Once I realized I was able to be successful here, I decided to stay because I had such a great support system; I realized how to do what I wanted to do at Wesleyan. When I came here I was like “Oh yeah college, I’m here, now what??? I realized I could do the work because of the support… I found my niche and a purpose because of the because of the help I received.”

Nikki continued: “My first semester didn’t go too well; originally, I did not think I would be able to graduate; it was probably because I was so insecure with my learning disability….Gradually, I learned that I was able to actually be successful and learned to do what I have to do to keep organized to accomplish all the tasks for my classes. I learned how to remember information for my testing because I have learned tricks to help me remember what I need to know. I also learned how to be more confident; I was so insecure my first semester – I kept panicking about my school work. My Comprehensive Advisor and Mentor supported me to be successful. Now I have learned to breathe and work with myself.”

When Nikki was asked if she was ready to go out into the world of work, she answered:

“I had an internship last summer and took it as a real job; my supervisor had full faith that I could do the work. He told me that my learning disability did not make me who I am, he kept telling me that I could do the job, and I did have a very successful experience. My coworkers told me that my personality boosted other people; I have been told that I am really positive and have a good influence on my work setting. I realized that I could go on without the support system and could be successful with whatever I do. I learned how to work with myself and to recognize that my LD does not make me who I am. It is my positive personality that does.”

Nikki told us how she has changed over her four years at Wesleyan:

“I have changed so much since I came to WVWC. I was this person I had no faith that I could succeed in College – I had certain people in my life that said I wasn’t even going to go to a four year school – maybe a two year school. Once I realized that I was able to get into a four year college and actually apply myself, I saw that I could do just about anything. I have grown so much since I joined a sorority and changed my major to Public Relations. Once I found out what I was interested in doing, my grades shot up – I earned a 3.1 the semester after I changed my major. My grades went up because the people in the Learning Center and sorority believed in me.”

“One professor thought that I couldn’t graduate on time and he really pushed me to my limit – I assumed it was because he didn’t like me but I learned as the year went on, he began to trust my public relations skills. His comments on one of my senior projects helped me understand that he acknowledged my growth in the Public Relations program and as a student. He commented on how much my written work had improved….?

“It has just been an experience that has changed my whole life – it’s been difficult but at WVWC, people have been supporting me and have believed in me since day one – and I am not going to let them down.”

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Steven Seibert

International Studies, B.A.

Steven graduated in May 2015, made the Dean’s list several semesters, and finished up with a 3.45 GPA. Although studious and diligent, the classroom is not all that happened for Steven during his time at Wesleyan.

Recipient of the Coaches Award, he swam mid-distance free style for the varsity swim team three years running. Steven was an active participant in our outdoor rec program where “he got the chance” to play paintball, kayak, sky dive, white-water raft, hike, and snow-board. He was part of the social justice “We Lead” team, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Students, and inducted into the National Leadership and Success Honor Society.

In addition, Steven participated in several off campus and study abroad experiences:

“My first year, I went to South Africa for a month where I studied the culture and language of the people in Johannesburg and Cape Town… Last year I went to Tanzania for the summer to study the Swahili language and again to learn about the peoples’ culture. My sophomore year, I did an internship with the House of Representatives where I worked in Mike Fitzpatrick’s [from PA] office. There, I researched topics touching on immigration, health care, and foreign affairs. I had the chance to contribute to papers helping to defend Congressman Fitzpatrick’s positions on these issues. I also gave tours around the Rayburn Office Building and the Capitol, where the House does its sessions. It was neat to sit in on the committee hearings.”

“Dr. Rupp, my faculty advisor, helped me find my internships and study abroad opportunities. We worked on election research together in 2012 and 2014 in our Parties and Elections class. I contributed though our class, American Government, to writing the sexual abuse law in the state of WV as a reaction to the Penn State scandal. This was eventually sent to the state legislature; our class was able to attend the governor’s signing ceremony for this bill. At that time, I got to meet Governor Earl Ray Tomlin – I stood right next to him while he was signing the bill! I also received strong support from Doctors Richard Weeks and William Mahoney. My senior thesis focused on the Muslim Brotherhood and how it affected the Egyptian Revolution.”

When asked about working with the Learning Center staff, Steven answered: “They helped me look over my papers and taught me strategies to learn and remember the information. My mentors were always welcoming and helped me figure out what I needed to do in bits and pieces at a time so I could get things accomplished. I learned to break down assignments and prepare for upcoming tests; they also helped me review. I enjoyed having the option of testing with extra time and a reader through the Test Lab. This helped me not to be pressured time-wise; I could think at my own pace.”

When asked about any growth he made while at Wesleyan, Steven responded: “I learned that I am very passionate, that I keep a very busy schedule, and that I have a good work ethic. I am grateful for the time the staff has given me. I have become more mature, I have more experience, I do not have a “black/white” thinking view anymore; I discovered there are multiple problems to a single issue. My time management has really changed; I never had this much work to do in high school – I learned to be comfortable with the expectations of lots of work and I will carry that out in grad school and in the work place. There are still areas I need to work on but for the most part, I am very organized and always plan for the next thing I need to do. I use a big paper calendar to keep track of assignments, quizzes, and events. I use my phone calendar as well to keep track. You helped me learn a good work ethic – to always read over my own papers and then to have someone else help by looking over my work too.”

Finally, Steven on his future plans: “With all my internships and study abroad experience, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do in life, so I think I am ready to go out into the work place. This coming fall, I am going to graduate school in Scotland to the University of Glasgow. I also applied to the Institute of World Politics, Regents University, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. I got into all of these except the school in London.

I decided to go to Glasgow; they have a great “school to work” rate, the learning support is there, and the location is good for me. The program will last one year; I will earn my MA in International Relations.”

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Michelle Crego

Nursing, B.S.N., R.N.

Michelle majored in nursing, graduated in 2014 with a 3.2 grade point average, and is currently employed as a nurse at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

“I have changed a lot over the four years in college…when I was younger, I used to always think that the way I learned was a burden since it was more difficult for me…now I feel like it is more of a blessing because I met everyone here in the Learning Center – it wasn’t just the people that I work with directly, it even was the smile in the hallway, the test lab proctor. I feel like you guys have put into perspective that learning differently is more than okay. If I did not have a learning disability, I would have never met the people at the Learning Center…. I know I will always think about you guys and always be so appreciative and thankful.”

While attending Wesleyan, Michelle belonged to the Student Nurses of Wesleyan (SNOW) and was an office holding member of Alpha Delta Pi, in charge of new member coordination, the sorority rituals, and alumnae relations. The sorority membership “gave me students to look up to as an under classman, taught me how to work with others, and prepared me to work with a bunch of women for the rest of my life.”

Michelle became a nursing major because she wanted to work with and care for people: “You can do anything with a nursing degree, there is so much potential – you can work with so many populations and in different types of units; the possibilities are endless…I enjoyed my “clinicals” [hospital experience] the most because I like learning how to apply what I learned from the text to real life situations; I could piece together what I didn’t understand from the ‘book.’”

During the summer of her junior year, Michelle had a great experience as a student nurse at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center: “All the people that supervised me were so supportive – not just my supervisor – the LPNs, the doctors, and the RNs – all were wonderful and really cared about helping me grow as a nurse. I am so glad that I have been asked to work at the VA after graduation.”

When asked about her experience at Wesleyan: “I wouldn’t change a thing! If I had the opportunity to go to college again…I would do this all over again.”

And about her work with the Learning Center: “I don’t know where to start – I feel like you guys should get an honorary nursing degree, but I don’t want to cry…I learned as a first year student that I didn’t have much confidence – the Learning Center played a huge role in me knowing that I could graduate with a nursing degree. The most helpful thing the Learning Center staff has done is…I think it was believing in me….I have learned so much about studying from the staff that I feel if I want to go on in my education, I am ready to do so.”

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Matt Griffin

Theatre Arts/Technical Design B.A.

Matt Griffin, a 2014 graduate, majored in Theatre Arts/Technical Design with a focus on lighting and electrics. Matt was master electrician for the Virginia Thomas Law Performing Arts Center where he directed lighting and equipment for all campus events – Wesleyan theatre as well as the Arts Alive series including productions such as Jabali Afrika, Mountain Stage, and the West Virginia Symphony – for his two-semester senior project.

Matt was a member of the Theatre Honorary, Alpha Psi Omega. His work in this venue promoted outreach to campus for social awareness events, student talent, and various endeavors of the Theatre Department.

He especially enjoyed being a part of our campus productions Little Shop of Horrors and Pirates of Penzance. In “Pirates,” Matt learned quite a bit as he “got to work with new equipment – intelligent lighting fixtures – borrowed for the production….Being a theatre major takes all your time and commitment,” he mused.

When asked if he felt prepared to go out into the world of work, Matt stated with an unassuming confidence: “I think I am prepared. I don’t know what it will be like until I really get out there…I’ve been told I am ready, I hope I am ready. I participated through internship in a professional theatre program last summer, the Berkshire Theater Festival. Every year the theatre department takes students to the Southeastern Theatre Conference – this is a set up where you can make job contacts and audition…I landed my electrics internship at this conference.”

“This year I got a few offers in apprenticeship programs but my faculty have told me that I am ready to go into a salaried position, not an apprenticeship. I have been hired by Bard College, in New York, for the summer to work in the College’s performance festival which lasts from June to mid-August. The festival includes four different productions – a mix of all genres and types of performing arts – opera, dance, symphony, etc… I’ll be the ‘Swing Electrician’ and help with whatever space is in need.”

“After that I will go to DC with the goal of doing freelance work – the guest lighting designer who came in to do Little Shop of Horrors gave me names of people to contact. She will be a great reference. This is usually the way to start out with theatre lighting; then you move your way up to being hired into one position. My long term work goal is to be able to move to New York or to tour with a musical group.”

When asked about his experience with his academic department and the Learning Center, Matt responded: “Both Learning Center and my faculty advisors have pushed me to surpass my limits – to figure out what I really wanted to do with this degree. I learned that I could do more than I thought possible. I didn’t understand my own capabilities and now know that I can do much more than I thought I could…. I have become more independent than when I was first here, and more outgoing. I have grown and matured, and made lifelong friends with both faculty and students.”

“Being part of the Learning Center was helpful. I learned how to get better at writing and doing research for papers. I was in the Mentoring Program four days a week; this overall helped me learn how to stay organized and utilize my time better. I left the Mentoring Program when my classes were totally art/theatre based….I learned through my Comprehensive Advisor and the mentors how to self-advocate; they showed me how to study, writing techniques, and other strategies that I began to implement on my own. I became more independent – that’s what you have to do when you come to college, you have to learn to take care of yourself. When when you leave home, your parents aren’t there to always guide you. With everyone’s help, I figured out what I needed to do to be successful here and in life.”