Art Without Limits Career Conference

College of the Arts Careers in the Arts Week and 4th Annual Art Without Limits Career Conference: The Power of the Plan


Friday, January 29 – Friday, February 5, 2021


All Events Are Virtual

Join faculty, staff, and alumni from Kent State University's College of the Arts for Career in the Arts Week and the 4th Annual Art Without Limits Career Conference. This year's theme is "The Power of the Plan," and includes discussions on first jobs in the arts, collaboration, arts for a purpose, graduate school, equity and social justice in the arts, marketing yourself, and more. The week will begin with the Fashion Tech Hackathon on Friday, January 29 and continue throughout the next week with daily discussions, finally culminating with the 4th Annual Art Without Limits Career Conference on Friday, February 5. School of Theatre and Dance alumna Colleen Longshaw Jackson, Director of Community Partnerships and Programming at the Cleveland Play House, is the featured keynote speaker. 


Admission to the conference and to any of the daily programming is free. Registration is encouraged, but not required. See below for conference schedule and links to sessions.


Register for Career Conference

About Keynote Speaker Colleen Longshaw Jackson

Colleen Longshaw Jackson
Colleen Longshaw Jackson is a Cleveland, Ohio native and holds a BFA and an MFA in acting from Kent State University. At Cleveland Play House Colleen was part of the team to develop and implement the CARE program (Compassionate Arts Remaking Education). CARE is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education. CARE uses theatre education to teach Social Emotional competencies and to increase English Language Arts scores in the K-12 student population. She is currently the Director of Community Partnerships and Programming at Cleveland Play House.

Colleen is a Certified Trauma Professional, a certification she uses in conjunction with her Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion facilitation and training. Working to dismantle white supremacist culture within organizations Colleen helps organizations to identify existing ideologies and work to destroy the root of oppression and systems in place to keep them thriving.

Colleen holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and centers her EDI work around helping arts organizations and educational institutions. Her group facilitation techniques help to navigate communication around difficult topics and create a plan to keep those lines of communication open. She helps organizations with strategic planning and empowers faculty, staff and students.

Colleen became a member of the Actor's Equity Association in 2003 and continues to work as a professional actress. Her work as an actress and commitment to the craft make dismantling oppressive systems within the field of theatre a burning priority and one which she is passionate about improving.


Schedule of Events

The Art Without Limits Career Week begins January 29 - 31 with the Fashion Tech Hackathon and continues February 1 - 4 with a series of Virtual Fireside Chats. Finally, the week culminates with the Art Without Limits Career Conference on Friday, February 5.

Fashion Tech Hackathon: Connected

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31

2020 Tech Hackathon






This FREE virtual event brings together university students from a wide variety of places and backgrounds and is a breeding ground for collaboration. This year you have a fantastic opportunity to work with industry professionals and leaders that will provide support in a myriad of ways. Partners are: The Burton D.Morgan Foundation, TechStyleLAB, KSU Fashion School, Major League Hacking, LaunchNET, Design Innovation Hub, and Marty Erbaugh I-Cubed Lab. Sponsors are: CLO3D, ZSK Embroidery, Enventys Partners, Devpost, and Tiny Circuits.

For more information follow the links below:

Register to Participate

Fashion Tech Hackathon Website

Register to be a Mentor

Join Information Networking Session Here


Fireside Chats Schedule

February 1: My First Job in the Arts


Monday, February 1, 2021

Career is a journey, and that first job is often one that builds and guides us in ways we can see in hindsight. Come chat, share your journey, and gain insight on how a growth-mindset, skills, networking, and openness to opportunities builds one's career journey.  

Session 1: 12:00 p.m.


12:00 p.m. Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 299 351 280

Session 2: 4:00 p.m.


4:00 p.m. Dial-in options: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 162 747 3328

February 2: Collaboration in the Arts


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Creative collaborations create careers.  Come chat, share your collaborations, and discover small and large ways you can make  and sustain creative collaborations.

Session: 4:00 p.m. 


4:00 p.m. Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 412 974 4108


February 3: Three Thing I Wish I'd Known


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Every career has surprises, and change happens.  Come chat and share and learn experiences, advice, and wisdom that can support you now or in your future creative career.  Open to all; informal conversation.   

Session: 4:00 p.m.


4:00 p.m. Dial-in Option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 920 342 4932

February 4: Arts For A Purpose


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Creative arts change lives.  Come chat and hear how music and art therapy careers can lead to a deeper purpose of using your creative talents to support healing and wellness.      

Session 1: 12:00 p.m.


12:00 p.m. Dial-in Option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 470 113 8367

Session 2: 4:00 p.m.


4:00 p.m. Dial-in Option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 783 328 7761

“Art Without Limits” Career Conference

 Friday, February 5, 2021

General Conference Schedule

1:00 – 1:45 p.m.: Welcome and Keynote Presentation

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Panel Sessions

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.: Panel Sessions

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Informal Networking Session

Conference Sessions

1:15pm: Welcome and Keynote Address

1:00 – 1:45 P.M.

Welcome by Dean John Crawford-Spinelli, Ed.D.

John Crawford-Spinelli
Dr. John Crawford-Spinelli currently serves as Dean of the College of the Arts. From 2006-2009 he held the position of Associate Dean and from 1996-2006 he served as Director of the School of Theatre and Dance at Kent State University and Producing Director of Porthouse Theatre, a professional URTA theatre in Summit County, OH that is in affiliation with Kent State University. He has taught as part of the dance and theatre faculty at Kent since 1988 and became a full Professor in 2001. Within the School of Theatre & Dance, he also has served as Artistic Director of the Kent Dance Ensemble and as Dance Coordinator.

Prior to his appointment at KSU, Dr. Crawford-Spinelli was musical director in Dance at James Madison University in VA and served as adjunct faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. Crawford-Spinelli has performed professionally as a dancer and actor with such companies as the Richmond Ballet, VCU Dance Company, Kings Productions, Busch Entertainment Corporation, Ann Vachon/Dance Conduit and Porthouse Theatre. He performed for eleven years with Leaven Dance Company, a professional sacred dance company. 

Crawford-Spinelli’s specific interest includes dance theatre work and musical theatre choreography and he has choreographed numerous musicals including Bye Bye Birdie and Damn Yankees at Cain Park Theatre and Cabaret at the Halle Theatre. Crawford-Spinelli choreographed Brigadoon, Oklahoma!, Guys & Dolls, West Side Story, Sweet Charity and The Music Man at Porthouse Theatre, receiving a Cleveland Times Tribute award for his 2003 choreography of Oklahoma! While at Kent State, Dr. Crawford-Spinelli has continued to nationally teach master classes, set commissioned choreography and present dance research.


Keynote Address by Colleen Longshaw Jackson, MFA

Director of Community Partnerships and Programming,
Cleveland Play House

Colleen Longshaw Jackson
Colleen Longshaw Jackson
is a Cleveland, Ohio native and holds a BFA and an MFA in acting from Kent State University. At Cleveland Play House Colleen was part of the team to develop and implement the CARE program (Compassionate Arts Remaking Education). CARE is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education. CARE uses theatre education to teach Social Emotional competencies and to increase English Language Arts scores in the K-12 student population. She is currently the Director of Community Partnerships and Programming at Cleveland Play House.

Colleen is a Certified Trauma Professional, a certification she uses in conjunction with her Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion facilitation and training. Working to dismantle white supremacist culture within organizations Colleen helps organizations to identify existing ideologies and work to destroy the root of oppression and systems in place to keep them thriving.

Colleen holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and centers her EDI work around helping arts organizations and educational institutions. Her group facilitation techniques help to navigate communication around difficult topics and create a plan to keep those lines of communication open. She helps organizations with strategic planning and empowers faculty, staff and students.

Colleen became a member of the Actor's Equity Association in 2003 and continues to work as a professional actress. Her work as an actress and commitment to the craft make dismantling oppressive systems within the field of theatre a burning priority and one which she is passionate about improving.

Join the Welcome Session


1:00 p.m. Dial-in Option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 792 509 9984


Panel 1: Graduate School – What Are the Important Factors to Consider?


Whether Covid-19’s impact on the economy is nudging you to consider graduate school, or you have always known you wanted to earn your graduate degree, you have questions.  Come get those questions answered and gain insights, advice and guidance on choosing graduate programs, and how to be a strong candidate.   


Dr. Louise Valentine, Director, The School of Fashion, and Margaret Clark Morgan Leadership Chair, Kent State University


Tammy Honesty, Assistant Professor of Scenic Design, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State, (3:15 – 4:15 panel only)

Jennifer Johnstone, Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology-Musicology, School of Music, Kent State University

LeAnn Starlin Nilsson, Assistant Dean for Recruitment and Retention, The College of the Arts, Kent State University

Michelle Hunt Souza, Assistant Professor of Costume Design, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State University

Cindy Stillings, former Associate Dean of the College of the Arts and Dean of Graduate Studies, Kent State University (2:00 – 3:00 panel only)

Join the 2:00 p.m. Session


2:00 p.m. Panel Session 1 Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 456 586 3381

Join the 3:15 p.m. Session


3:15 p.m. Panel Session 1 Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 456 586 3381

Panelist Biographies

Tammy Honesty joined the School of Theatre and Dance in 2016 after being head of design at Western Illinois University for two years. Prior to joining Kent State University, she was an assistant professor at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; a visiting assistant professor of

scene design at University of Cincinnati CCM, Denison University and Wilmington College; a full-time faculty associate at Wright State University; and a guest artist and instructor at Miami University, Xavier University and Sinclair Community College. Teaching courses ranging from Theatre Appreciation, Stage Management, Scenic Design and Stagecraft to graduate level design courses in scenic design, props and collaboration.

She is a native Ohioan with a B.A. degree in theatre from Wilmington College. Tammy earned her Master of Fine Arts in scenic design from West Virginia University, graduating Phi Kappa Phi. She designs regionally and nationally. Her scenic design for "Picnic" for the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music won a Cincinnati Acclaim Award as well as an USITT Ohio Valley Section Peggy Ezekiel Award of Outstanding Achievement, USITT OVS Board's Choice Award, and was showcased in the World Stage Design 2013 and USITT-USA Prague Quadrennial 2019 online gallery. Her designs have been on stages from New York City (Off-Off-Broadway) to the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton to the University of Illinois and Western Illinois University. She enjoys designing theatre for young audiences and has designed 10 productions for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's Educational Touring Company. Other projects include the scenic design for "42nd Street" for Wright State University, "Crowns" for the Human Race Theatre, and "La Cenerentola" for University of Cincinnati CCM, and the Midwest premiere productions of "Managing Maxine," "Lombardi" and "Becky's New Car" for the Human Race Theatre Company.

In addition to designing scenery, Tammy has been a scenic artist for River City Scenic and 3DX Scenic Studios where she was also a project manager. Examples of her painting talents have been cruising the world on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines, and on display at various corporate theatre events including the Longaberger conventions.

Tammy is an active member of United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). She has been a conference presenter at both the regional and national level. Since 2001, she has been actively involved with the Ohio Valley Section, first as an active member, then as a board member at large for three years, then as a two-term vice chair of programming. As a regional programming co-coordinator for the 2009 National Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, she developed a passion for serving the organization at the national level. Since the 2009 conference, she has served on the conference committee in several capacities including trouble-shooter, conference office co-coordinator and assistant programming coordinator. Recently, she completed her fourth year as programming coordinator for the annual conference that has over 350 sessions, receptions and meetings. Currently, she is the vice president of education and training for USITT. Being involved in the various facets of USITT has helped her become a better educator, designer and professional. See more about Tamara Honesty:


Jennifer Johnstone holds a Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology (2012) and an M.A. in ethnomusicology (2007) from Kent State University. She performed in the School of Music’s African, Chinese, and Thai ensembles for several years. Dr. Johnstone also holds an M.M. (2001) and a B.M. (Summa Cum Laude, 1999) in piano performance from Youngstown State University. She won several awards while at YSU, including an Ohio Board of Regents Fellowship. She was also a winner of the Dana School of Music Young Artist Competition and performed frequently as

an active member of the New Music Society, Composers Ensemble, and Youngstown New Music Guild. See more about Dr. Johnstone:


As a first generation college student, Dr. LeAnn Starlin Nilsson began her career in student activities with a focus on helping students learn transferable skills through booking, planning and hosting campus events. After about eight years in varying student affairs roles, including orientation, student leadership training, and planning every student event imaginable, she began working specifically with students in art and design. A passion for the arts led her to Kent State in December 2012 to focus on recruitment and retention of students within the Kent State University. During this time, LeAnn increased faculty partnership for recruitment, and focused on ways to provide support for students in professional art field, and has collaborated with university admissions and marketing to enhance the presence of the College across the region. Her passion for education extends to working with first generation students, specifically focusing on students from Appalachia and rural areas.

Outside of work, LeAnn volunteers for the Project Grad program through Akron Public Schools, and serves as a Trustee for Sing Stark! Her other passions include diversity work and education that focuses on antiracist work. She resides in Akron, Ohio with her husband, Daniel, daughter Daniella, and two cats named Friday and Sabado. See more about Dr. Starlin Nilsson:


Michelle Hunt Souza’s professional design work has been featured at a wide range of nationally- and regionally-recognized theatre throughout the country, including La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Summit Performance Indianapolis, Crossroads Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, Moxie Theatre, and many others. Her scholarship has been featured in TheatreForum International Performance Journal, at the Prague Quadrennial, and in the USITT Teaching Archive. Michelle earned her M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of California, San Diego and her B.S. in Theatre with Associated Study in Art from the University of Evansville. Michelle’s work can be seen online at


Cynthia Stillings designs regionally and nationally. In her 15 years of collaboration with Cleveland Opera, her design work includes Carmen, Man of La Mancha, Of Mice and Men, Madame Butterfly, Iolanthe, La Boheme and Tosca . For Great Lakes Theater Festival she designed the world premiere of Adrienne Kennedy’s The Ohio State Murders and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change for Playhouse Square. She is Resident Lighting Designer for Porthouse Theatre Company where her designs include Jesus Christ Superstar, The Spitfire Grill, A Chorus Line and Once on This Island. She was Resident Lighting Designer for Cleveland Opera. Other regional theatre, opera and dance credits include Utah Shakespearean Festival, Skylight Opera Theatre, Phoenix Theatre Circle, The Cincinnati Ballet, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Travesty Dance Troupe, Cain Park Theatre, The Contemporary American Theatre Company, Madison Repertory Theatre, and Player’s Theatre Columbus where she designed an award winning production of Assassins. She recently lit the world premiere of Lend Me a Tenor, the Musical for Utah Shakespearean Festival. Cynthia Stillings retired in 2020 as Professor at Kent State University and Associate Dean of the College of the Arts. She has a BS in Business Administration

from West Virginia University and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches lighting design, lighting technology and stage management.

Specialties: Lighting Design for Theatre, Dance and Opera, Education, Production Management See more about Cynthia Stillings:


Professor Louise Valentine, Ph.D holds the Margaret Clark Morgan Leadership Chair at Kent State University. Throughout her career, Louise has believed in the power of education to bring about change in the world. For Louise, that’s meant a lifelong commitment to the exploration of higher education's relationship with the arts. Her ongoing curiosity has taken her on a research and teaching journey that’s blended fashion, design, innovation and creativity. That curiosity, and the desire to mobilize it in others, is what drives Louise.

A fascination with the broader context of design and creativity led Louise to a Doctoral Degree in Designer’s Thinking. Her post-doctoral research helped bring about a deeper understanding of the importance of working in partnership. It also created a challenging question - how can the value of design be better understood and communicated? Louise knows that the answer to this, and other questions, will come from an international collective of design thinkers. Her published works include ‘Prototyping’, ‘Design Thinking for Social Innovation in Healthcare’, ‘Design Thinking for Textiles’.

Bringing together communities of thinkers and doers at the University of Dundee and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design is a source of personal satisfaction for Louise. She led multiple research projects as part of the £81 million Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum of Design which established Dundee as an international center for design.

Now, as a leader of a large internationally recognized School of Fashion, Louise has the opportunity to bring more people together. That means learning from her colleagues across the different international campuses of Kent State University. That international aspect is a big part of what motivated Louise to move from Scotland to Ohio. In KSU, Louise has found an organization that shares her key values of care and kindness.

In addition to her teaching and research responsibilities at KSU, Louise is a UKRI AHRC Advisory Board member and a member of the UKRI AHRC Peer Review College. She is the current President of the European Academy of Design which encourages world-wide research collaboration, and co-editor of The Design Journal. Proudly international, Louise is committed to tackling some very big questions head on. What is the future of higher education for fashion in the 21st century? What does it mean to lead with inclusivity? And, if we dare to dream together - what do we see, and what can we ultimately achieve?


Panel 2: Equity and Social Justice in the Arts

PANEL SESSION 2: "Equity and social Justice in the Arts"

All aspects of the arts – music, theatre, dance, art, fashion, and design -- are challenged to practice and advocate for greater social justice and equity.  Come share and learn ways you are making the world a better place through your creative talents.  


Dr. Tameka Ellington, Associate Professor of Design at the Kent State University Fashion School and Assistant Dean for the College of the Arts



Michele Crawford, Project Manager at Cuyahoga Community College

Shani Richards, Metalsmithing Artist and Clothing Sculptor 

Aseelah Shareef, Director, Operations + Community Engagement, Karamu House (3:15 panel only)

David ‘dstew’ Stewart, Production Manager, Disney Parks Live Entertainment

Andrew Aaron Valdez, CARE Teaching Artist - Walton Elementary School, Cleveland Playhouse

Join the 2:00 p.m. Session


2:00 p.m. Panel 2 Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 223 333 5943

Join the 3:15 p.m. Session


3:15 p.m. Panel 2 Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 223 333 5943

Panelist Biographies

Michele Crawford is a designer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She studied Interior Architecture and Architecture at Ohio University and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently works as a Project Manager at Cuyahoga Community College. She serves on the Board of Directors at Rainey Institute and Shooting Without Bullets, both youth arts organizations. She is also an 2019 American for the Arts(AFTA), Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Fellow. In 2018 Michele was selected as a contributor to Ioby’s first Racial Justice Toolkit for leading the Design as Protest event, connecting designers and artists in pursuit of justice in the built environment. She believes that design changes our world and ultimately dreams to make design services more accessible to all communities. She is passionate about people, process, performance and most recently painting! See more about Michele Crawford:


Dr. Tameka N. Ellington, serves as Associate Professor of Design at the Kent State University (KSU) Fashion School and Assistant Dean for the College of the Arts. Her creative scholarship is inspired by African art and folklore. Her work has been shown internationally including two exhibitions in Beijing, China. She publishes research in the discipline of social-psychological aspects of dress for African Americans and other minorities, such as people with disabilities. Her publications on hair have reached national and international recognition via peer-reviewed journals as well as dress and culture encyclopedias. She has two upcoming projects which include an exhibition entitled, “TEXTURES: The History and Art of Black Hair,” opening at the KSU museum Fall 2021, and Dr. Tameka is also writing an anthology entitled, “Navigating the Black Hair Phenomenon in a White World,” being released Spring 2021.

Dr. Tameka has 30+ scholarly presentations and 25+ non-academic keynote presentations. Dr. Tameka has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work including her most recent: 2019 First Generation Advocate Award, 2018 Ohio Board of Trustees banquet awarded hosted by KSU’s Provost Diacon, 2017 Alumni Legacy Award, The Alumni Legacy Award is given annually to recognize an alumnus for their distinguished contributions and extraordinary service in the areas of diversity and social justice, 2017 International Textile and Apparel Association Rising Star Award, the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Service Award for her dedication to the advancement of her students and colleagues, and the 2015 Award for Outstanding Leadership in Student Access, Recruitment Retention and Success. She was also honored to have KSU President Warren congratulate her on her contributions during the state of the university address. Dr. Tameka is also the CEO and Founder of the 1st Generation Revolutionaries movement. Not only is she an international acclaimed and awarded Educator and Scholar, Dr. Tameka is a Motivational Speaker, Professional Development Strategist, and 1st Generation Advocate.

Dr. Tameka is also the CEO and Founder of the 1st Generation Revolutionaries movement. Not only is she an international acclaimed and awarded Educator and Scholar, Dr. Tameka is a Motivational Speaker, Professional Development Strategist, and 1st Generation Advocate. Dr. Tameka is the author of Make Fear Your Superpower, a witty and real memoir that speaks to the inner courage that we all possess. She will be releasing her second book, Be The GOAT: A Career Readiness Manual She is dedicated to helping others face their fears so that they can have the

power to challenge their way of being. Her mantra is, “Revolutionize Your Thinking!” See more about Dr. Tameka:


Shani Richards was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. After graduating with a BFA in metalsmithing at the University of Akron in 2006, Ms. Richards went to New York City where she interned first at Noha’s Jewelry and later at Stony Jewelry. During this time, she attended Parson New School of design to study fashion marketing. Before moving upstate to attend SUNY New Paltz, Ms. Richards took an independent study at her alumna The University of Akron, and focused on teaching jewelry making, specifically crafting rings throughout the city. Beginning in 2014, Shani began an MFA in Metals at SUNY New Paltz. While at SUNY New Paltz, she held the position of Visiting Artist Lecture Series Coordinator for her first year of graduate school. In the summer of 2015 she was part of an exhibition titled “A Kind of Confession” at the National Ornamental Memphis Metal Museum and participated in a panel discussion on African American Artists and Art Museum Representation as part of The Association of African American Museums Conference. In May 2016 Ms. Richards graduated with MFA in Metal at the State University of New York, New Paltz and presented her thesis show titled “Make it Plain” at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.

After her MFA graduation, Shani returned to her hometown of Akron, Ohio. In 2018 she was awarded a Fellowship from The League of Creative Interventionists. With the year-long fellowship Shani developed a community youth project called Akron’s Growing Chefs, to focus on healthy choices in food deserts. Shani is also a member of The W.O.M.B. which stands for the Way of Mind and Body which is a non profit black political organization with a focus on providing a total wellness community center for Akron residents to gather for cultural, artistic and political activities. During Shani’s tenure at the W.O.M.B., she also partnered with The W.O.M.B. community garden and combined her efforts with her fellowship from The League of Creative Interventionists. In 2020 Shani was awarded an art residency with The Akron Soul Train. See more about Shani Richards:


Aseelah Shareef has worked with Karamu House since 2015 in the roles of director of operations and community enegagement. A dancer first, Aseelah was a touring artist with Step Afrika!, the world’s only professional dance company dedicated to the art of stepping (body percussion). Through this work she traveled extensively as a cultural ambassador sharing dance with diverse communities, on and off the stage. Before that, Shareef was a dancer with Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre. She continues to choreograph and perform modern and West African dance. Shareef is a seasoned teaching artist with a strong track record of success with school-aged, collegiate and lifelong dancers. She was Director of Dance for Cleveland School of the Arts, Adjunct Professor of Dance for Cuyahoga Community College – where she co-created new dance curriculum to support dancers transitioning to 4-year institutions and Master Dance Teaching Artists for the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.

Aseelah was selected for the inaugural 2019 Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Fellowship cohort sponsored by Americans for the Arts, The Joyce Foundation and American Express. She is also a graduate of Cleveland’s Neighborhood Leadership Development Program sponsored by The Jack and the Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. Her community involvement includes membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cleveland Arts Prize (Board Trustee), Ohio Citizens for the Arts (Board Member), the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Foundation (Board Member), Future Heights Grantmaking Committee (member) College Now Greater Cleveland (mentor). Aseelah holds an MA in Arts Administration and BS in Exercise Science from The Florida State University. See more about Aseelah Shareef:


David ‘dstew’ Stewart (he | him | his) has produced works at Disney including: NBA and MLS sports ‘bubbles’ (ESPN), DJ’s Ready, Set, Party Time! (Hollywood Studios), Wonderful World of Animation (Hollywood Studios) Joyful! (Epcot), National Association of Black Journalists (Miami). Prior to working for Disney, David worked for the Guthrie Theater as Director of Production, University of Texas at Austin, University of Wisconsin – Madison. He had the honor of being the Stage Manager for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. AEA stage manager for Madison Repertory Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, St. Louis MUNY, Kansas City Starlight Outdoor Musicals, The Little Theatre on the Square and Vienna Austria’s English Theatre. He is the chair for the Equity Diversity and Inclusion committee for USITT, sits on their board of directors, as well as co-founder of the highly successful Gateway Program. See more about David ‘dstew’ Stewart:


Andrew Aaron Valdez (he/him/his) is a Chicanx educator, administrator, poet and theatre artist from Donna, Texas. Andrew is a C.A.R.E. Teaching Artist at Cleveland Playhouse, educator for the Indigenous Cultures Institute, Steering Committee Member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, a 2019-2020 Americans for the Arts Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Fellow, a 2019-2020 Cleveland Public Theatre Premiere Fellow, a 2019-2020 Artist in Residence at the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center and a 2021 Baldwin House Urban Writing resident at Twelve Literary Arts. Andrew was last seen in the Off-Broadway production of American Dreams produced by Working Theatre, written by Leila Buck and directed by Tamilla Woodard. Andrew is a Terry Foundation Alumni and received his bachelor's degree in Fine Arts - Theatre Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. See more about Andrew:

Panel 3: The Power of Plan B


Worried about how your "Plan A" career will happen?  There is power in your “Plan B.”  Careers in the arts are not straight lines, and serendipity and openness to new opportunities brings ways to create and connect with one's purpose and passion.  Come learn and share how your Plan B can lead you to where you need to be.


Professor Marie Bukowski, Director, School of Art, Kent State University 


Marla Berg, Associate Professor, Voice and Director, Opera Program, School of Music, Kent State University

Joanne Fenn, Associate Professor, Collections Manager, Museum Registrar, Kent State University Museum

Amy Fritsche, Associate Professor of Acting, and Musical Theatre, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State University

Diane Rechner, Associate Professor, School of Music (flute)

Ricardo Sepúlveda, Assistant Professor, Director of Kent Blossom Music Festival, Kent State University

Hillary M. Stone,  Industry Liaison and Internship Director, Kent State School of Fashion, Kent State University

Dr. Tameka Ellington, Associate Professor of Design at the Kent State University Fashion School and Assistant Dean for the College of the Arts

Join the 2:00 p.m. Session


2:00 p.m. Panel 3 Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 369 554 5095

Join the 3:15 p.m. Session


3:15 p.m. Panel 3 Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 369 554 5095

Panelist Biographies

Marla Berg is a versatile performer, appearing in recital, concert, opera and musical theatre. She has sung with Cleveland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Central City Opera, Anchorage Opera, Fort Worth Opera and Kansas City Opera. Her roles include Violetta in "La Traviata," Pamina in "Die Zauberflöte," Constanze in "Die Entführung aus dem Serail," Miss Wordsworth in "Albert Herring, "Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermoor" and Hanna in "The Merry Widow." In concert, she has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Denver Chamber Symphony, the Rockford Symphony and the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.

Berg’s musical theatre appearances have included Maria in "West Side Story," Julie in "Carousel" and Fiona in "Brigadoon." Her recent appearances include performances in “Falling for Prepositions” with Claire Porter at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights, at Centenary College in New Jersey, Rochester University in New York and Ohio Wesleyan University. Berg has also appeared at Porthouse Theatre as Mother Superior in "The Sound of Music" and Mrs. Sowerberry in "Oliver!"

As a director, Berg has directed the fall opera scenes programs for the past nine years at Kent State University. She has also directed their productions of "The Impresario," "A Hand of Bridge," "A Musical Evening at the Choufleurs’ " and, most recently, "Iolanthe." She received her Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College, and a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma from Cleveland Institute of Music. She is currently assistant professor of voice and director of the opera program at Kent State University. See more about Professor Berg:


Marie Bukowski began her art studies at Carnegie Mellon University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a double major in Painting and 19th Century German Literature and a double minor in Printmaking and Linguistics & Rhetoric in 1992. She received her Certificate in Art History and Polish language from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland in 1999. Bukowski went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts with Honors with a double degree in Painting and Printmaking in 2000 from the University of Pennsylvania. Upon receiving her MFA, Bukowski took a position in the School of Art at Louisiana Tech University where she was Professor of Art, Graduate Program Coordinator, and BFA Studio Program Coordinator for 13 years. She served as the Director of the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for 4 years and is currently the Director of the School of Art at Kent State University Bukowski is an internationally recognized printmaker, included in public collections and museums in countries such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. Throughout her career, she has had nineteen solo exhibitions, fifty-six invitational exhibitions, and sixty-eight juried exhibitions; forty of which are on the international level. Bukowski has received eight artist-in-residence positions with prestigious institutions such as Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Anchor Graphics in Chicago, Illinois, the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium and Milkwood International in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. She has received over a dozen grants to support her work since 2002 including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bukowski is represented by Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana and Stowarzyszenie Miedzynarodowe Triennale Grafiki in Krakow, Poland. See more about Marie Bukowski:


Joanne Fenn is Associate Professor and Collections Manager/Museum Registrar for KSUM and has been working in the museum field since 1991. She is responsible for both the intellectual and physical organization of the 30,000+ piece collection. She coordinates incoming and outgoing loans, exhibitions, accessioning, insurance, transportation, and all of the contracts and records management that accompanies each. She teaches a collections-related workshop and is active in state and regional professional organizations. She has a BA in art history, an MA in arts administration and an MLIS. See more about Professor Fenn:


Amy Fritsche is currently an Associate Professor of Acting, and Musical Theatre at Kent State University. She has directed a number of plays and musicals and gave a TedX on "Theater as a medium of Social Change" through the lens of Irena's Vow. She has worked with Fox Animations Studios, toured nationally with Annie and internationally in the world premier of Best Intentions in London, England and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She performed at Cleveland Play House in the world premier of These Mortal Hosts, The Diary of Anne Frank, and the reading of Little Row Boat or, Conjecture. Regionally, she has performed Phoenix Theater, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, CATCO Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Porthouse Theatre, Mamai Theatre and Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. Favorite roles include, Next to Normal (Diana), Arcadia (Hannah Jarvis), Superior Donuts (Officer Randy), 9 to 5 (Violet), As You Like It (Rosalind), A Little Night Music (Countess Charlotte), Annie (Grace Farrell), Chapter Two (Jenny) and Violet (Violet). She received the 2015 Cleveland Critics Circle Theater Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Violet and the 2018 Cleveland Critics Circle Theater Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Diana in Next To Normal. She is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA, AGVA, and AEA. See more about Professor Fritsche: or


Diane Rechner, flutist, is currently Associate Professor of Music at Kent State University where she performs with the Black Squirrel Winds faculty chamber ensemble. She performs in solo and chamber settings at the university and for series such as Music from Stan Hywet, Music from the Western Reserve, and Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Ms. Rechner currently plays with the Lake Erie Ballet Orchestra and as substitute with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra (PA). Previously, she served as Principal Flute with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Akron, Canton, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras.

Ms. Rechner has won the National Flute Association's Convention Performer's Competition several times, most recently performing at the Pittsburg convention. Rechner was Workshops Coordinator for five consecutive NFA annual conventions, and has also served that organization as Bios Editor for the Convention Program Book as well as adjudicator for several competitions. She has served as artist/faculty for Kent/Blossom Music and the Lutheran Summer Music Program, and has presented master classes for the Ohio Music Teachers Association. See more about Professor Rechner:


Ricardo Sepúlveda is an assistant professor in charge of leading the Kent Blossom Music Festival. He holds two degrees from Kent State University where he studied chamber music and violin performance under the tutelage of the Miro and Miami String quartets. His primary teachers include Sandy Yamamoto, Cathy Meng Robinson and Ivan Chan.

After completing a year long internship with The Cleveland Orchestra, Mr. Sepúlveda worked for Tuesday Musical Association in Akron, Ohio. He has worked for Kent Blossom Music Festival in a variety of capacities and was Marketing Associate for the School of Music at Kent State University. Mr. Sepúlveda also helped develop the first Kent Creativity Festival in Kent,

Ohio, as well as the first International Festival of Quartets in Bogotá, Colombia. See more about Professor Sepúlveda:


The Fashion School’s Industry Liaison & Internship Director, Hillary M. Stone, is ready to assist students in bridging their education to the professional world through the Internship Program and Professional Practice. Professor Stone received her B.A. in Interior Design from Ursuline College and a M.S. in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her academic career as Department Chair and Faculty reflects her commitment to higher education developing and championing students. Through her service in corporate business, she gained an understanding of the necessary tools and standards needed to enter and achieve upper mobility in the professional arena. With various programming, Professor Stone established and continues to strengthen the Fashion School’s industry partners, while creating new opportunities for students and faculty. Her present research involves developing learning tools and workshops to support international students and domestic students planning to intern/work abroad. See more about Ms. Stone:

Panel 4: Marketing Yourself and Your Work


Whether you work in a theatre, business, or have your own freelance side-gig, you will need some marketing tools and skills to make others aware of your organization, your creative work, and who you are as an artist  to others. Come learn tips and practical solutions that can lead to additional, and possibly more sustainable income for your career and your organization.


Dr. Kent McWilliams, Director, School of Music, Kent State University


Tabitha Messmore, Interim Assistant Director, LaunchNet, Kent State University

David Mitchell, General Manager, Performing Arts Center, Kent State University at Tuscarawas

Thomas Moore, Director of Marketing, Akron Symphony Orchestra 

Professor Marie Bukowski, Director, School of Art, Kent State University 

Join the 2:00 p.m. Session


Join the 3:15 p.m. Session


3:15 p.m. Panel 4 Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 916 487 7778

Panelist Biographies

Dr. Kent McWilliams joined the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music as Director and Professor in 2019. Formerly, Dr. McWilliams served as a Professor of Music and Associate Dean of Fine Arts at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

An accomplished, award-winning pianist and educator, Dr. McWilliams, D.M.A., holds music performance degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal as well as an Artist Diploma from the Stuttgart Musikhochschule. Dr. McWilliams made his orchestral debut with the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, performing Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto. He has performed live on the CBC in Canada and the ABC in Australia. Recently, he released an album on Albany Records with renowned clarinetist Jun Qian titled “East Meets West: Music for Clarinet and Piano by Chinese Composers.” His students have gone on to successful careers in performance and education, with many winning or competing as finalists of numerous local, regional and national competitions. An in-demand clinician, Dr. McWilliams has given music pedagogy workshops in 25 states and provinces and has also been invited to adjudicate the national finals of the MTNA competition and the Canadian Music Competitions.

During his 18-year tenure at St. Olaf College, Dr. McWilliams has held several leadership positions, including Co-Chair of the Music Department and chair of the Artist Series Committee. In his most recent position as an Associate Dean of Fine Arts, he has served as a member of the Deans Council charged with overseeing all of the academic programs of the college. Dr. McWilliams has also been an active and engaged member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. See more about Dr. McWilliams:


As interim assistant director of LaunchNET Kent State, Tabitha Messmore combines her entrepreneurial experience with her skills and background in writing, marketing, and teaching to help further the ideals of entrepreneurial thinking, creativity, and innovation across the Kent State University landscape. By assisting clients in bringing their ideas to fruition and working with departments, student orgs, and other groups across campuses, LaunchNET supports entrepreneurial endeavors and new approaches to problem solving.

As part of the 2018 class of the Institute for Excellence, she continues her leadership by serving as a Design Innovation team member and on committees and groups through The Women's Center, Spectrum (ERG) and the LGBTQ+ Center, Universities Libraries, and in the community as part of the Akron Symphony Orchestra's marketing committee.

Previously, Tabitha has assisted with legal writing at The University of Akron School of Law, taught Composition at The University of Akron, consulted for a variety of local businesses, and written on writing theory, linguistics, and professional writing. During her time as a managing partner of the original (UA) chapter of the NEO Student Venture Fund, they invested $25,000 in a local education tech startup that went on to raise significant funding and recently got acquired. She also continues to copy edit for a variety of clients and journals.

She has presented at numerous conferences, preparing and speaking on panels at the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Higher Ed (2018, 2020); the 2020 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) conference; the Legal Storytelling Conference in London, UK (2013). She also co-authored an article on multicultural communication in education, published in May 2014.

Tabitha earned her MA in English Composition from The University of Akron, and is current pursuing her EdD in Interprofessional Leadership at Kent State University. See more about Ms. Messmore:


David Mitchell is the General Manager of the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University – Tuscarawas in New Philadelphia, Ohio. As General Manager, he oversees all programing, marketing, educational outreach and community engagement for the 1,100-seat venue. Prior to this role, he worked in event management and provided security and personnel solutions for some of the most significant sports, entertainment, and business expositions in the world such as the Kentucky Derby and the PGA Championship. David spent 15 years as the Operations Manager of Broadway Across America in Indianapolis, Louisville, Kansas City, and Birmingham where he worked on over 160 Broadway tours. He is a founding Board Member and current Vice President of Tuscarawas Arts Partnership, a newly formed county-wide arts council.

David earned a BSBA in Management from Ohio Northern University and an MBA from Indiana University. See more about Mr. Mitchell:


Thomas Moore is in his fifth season as Director of Marketing for the Akron Symphony Orchestra. A content marketing specialist with more than 20 years of experience working with non-profits, Thomas is responsible for developing and implementing the Orchestra’s multi-channel marketing efforts for the performance season, as well as serving as producer and co-host of the Unorchestrated podcast.

Prior to joining the Orchestra, he was part of the Communications Office at Western Reserve Academy, working closely with the Development Office on communication strategies to support the school’s annual fund and capital campaigns.

Thomas is a graduate of the Kent State University, enjoys spending time with his wife and teenage daughter, and following – and often arguing about – Cleveland sports, most notably the Cleveland Browns.

Panel 5: Relocating and Transitioning to a New Location


Are you looking to start or move your career to a new location, larger city, or another country?  Where do you start, what do you need to do and know, and how do you make that leap as a brand new college graduate or seasoned alumni?   


Eric van Baars, Director and Associate Professor, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State University


Cody Hernandez, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Compass, New York City

Jesse Markowitz, Freelance Actor

Professor Jeffrey Rockland, Associate Professor and Dance Division Coordinator, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State University

Millie Ott, Internship Liaison-Internship Manager, Kent State School of Fashion

Ann Mariko Walter, Director - New York City Fashion, School of Fashion, Kent State University

Join the 2:00 p.m. Session


2:00 p.m. Panel 5 Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 870 367 2663

Join the 3:15 p.m. Session


3:15 p.m. Panel 5 Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 870 367 2663

Panelist Biographies

Cody Hernandez is a licensed real estate salesperson who specializes in NYC sales and rentals. He understands that every person is as different as every home. He can differentiate between what "most people" want and what you want. This is the main difference between a good broker and a great one.

Cody is especially proficient in helping first time home buyers see the path of ownership all the way to the finish line. He shared this knowledge recently where he hosted a free community workshop, in which he helped clients who were interested in buying homes learn more about the process of purchasing and owning their own home.

He knows where to find the best cup of coffee or the best cocktail in almost any neighborhood in NYC. So whether you need help getting to know the neighborhood or are looking to rent or buy, let him help you find the home of your dreams, not someone else's. Cody earned his BFA in Musical Theatre from Kent State University before transitioning to New York City. See more about Mr. Hernandez:


Jesse Markowitz graduated from Kent State University in 2014 with a BFA in Musical Theater. After moving to New York in June 14', he booked his first contract with Disney Cruise Line 3 months later! Thus began his cruising career, booking 3 contracts with DCL over a 3 year span. Learning 5+ shows in rep, having 6+ understudy tracks and living on a ship provided the growth not only as a performer, but as a person, that can't be found anywhere else in the world. Jesse is an advocate for any performer wanting to learn more about or join the cruising industry. During those years, Jesse has also performed in 2 National Tours, an award winning New York Theater Workshop musical, multiple smaller projects including voice over work and short film and became a member of Actors Equity Association. In 2020, Jesse had just joined a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship performing as Roger in Grease when the pandemic struck. Staying connected to my roots at Kent State continues to be one of the most rewarding and helpful things in my career path.


As the Industry Liaison - Internship Manager, Millie Ott supports students in all aspects of professional development including, the internship and employment search process. Through one-on-one meetings with students, she provides assistance to further develop and articulate career goals, and interests. Also, providing resume, cover letter and interviewing guidance. By building and maintaining relationships with industry partners, Millie works to expand internship and entry-level opportunities for both Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising students. Millie received a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Retail Management from Columbia College Chicago, and a Masters of Education from Kent State University in Higher Education and Student Personnel. She currently is the instructor to the Internship in Fashion Merchandising and Internship in Fashion Design courses and serves as an advisor for the Modista Fashion Group student organization. See more about Ms. Ott: See more about Ms. Ott:


Associate Professor of Dance at Kent State University, Jeffrey Marc Rockland enjoys helping students expand, discover and excel. Rockland brings his professional experience into the classroom. He sets a professional standard by which technique and artistry are achieved. Rockland had the great fortune to train with master teachers such as: Laura Alonso, Robert Barnett, William Griffith, Constance Hardinge, Benjamin Harkarvy, David Howard, Robert Joffrey, Donald Mackayle, and Lupe Serano. As Soloist with Atlanta Ballet, Universal Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Rockland danced established repertoire of Balanchine, Bournonville, Feld, Fokine, Najinska, Petipa and Tudor and had new works choreographed for him by choreographers including: Anastos, Bahr, Barnett, Kudelka, McFall, Munroe, Pazik and Taylor Corbitt among others. As Ballet Master for Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Rockland was asked to give master classes in cities all over the world. This led to his establishing connections in Asia that many years later have helped build Kent's East Meets West Program. Today, in addition to enjoying his teaching at Kent State, Rockland is a guest teacher and choreographer for conferences and festivals as well as schools, companies and universities in the United States and abroad.

Previously, Rockland was Associate Professor and Director of UNC Dance Theatre within in the department of theatre and dance at the University of Northern Colorado. While in Colorado, Rockland directed the university‘s ballet program and was Founding Executive Artistic Director of Colorado Dance Theatre and The Greeley Conservatory of Dance. Working with business partners, Rockland renovated a 10,000 square foot building (now The Conservatory Building) as a center for the arts in Greeley’s historic downtown.

Rockland holds a Bachelor of Arts and Teacher’s Certification in Ballet from Virginia Intermont College, a Master of Arts in Arts Management from Concordia University, a Master of Fine Arts in dance from the University of California Irvine where Rockland was Chancellor's Fellow and Graduate Teaching Assistant. Rockland completed a Secondary Teacher’s Certification in Dance from Pima Community College and holds national certification as a personal trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine.

In addition to his career as an educator, Rockland has enjoyed a long performance career starting at the age of 4 playing Sasha in the MGM classic, Dr. Zhivago. In his late teens, Rockland began a dance performance career which included working with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, the Atlanta Ballet Company, the Universal Ballet (Seoul, South Korea), the Scottish-American Ballet and the Bristol Ballet Company.

For more than 30 years, he has choreographed, directed and produced dance at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. His work in developing East Meets West is focused on creating global citizens whose passion for their art combines with cultural diplomacy, diversity of expression and inclusive creative practice. See more about Professor Rockland:


Eric van Baars serves as the School Director as well as the Executive Producer for Porthouse Theatre. As Associate Professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, he also has taught movement, musical theatre and acting. For the School of Theatre and Dance, he has directed the New York Musical Theatre Showcase and over 15 productions including Into the Woods, She Stoops to Conquer, Ragtime, Oklahoma, The Diviners, Lysistrata, Big Love, Honk!, The Wild Party, and A New Brain. As Executive Producer of Porthouse Theatre he has directed Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sister Act, Fiddler on the Roof, Pump Boys and Dinettes and Dames at Sea and choreographed Once On This Island, Big River, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Fantasticks. On the Porthouse stage, he has appeared in Oliver (Fagin), Chicago (Billy Flynn), Damn Yankees (Applegate), The Music Man (Harold Hill), The Odd Couple (Felix), Anything Goes (Lord Evelyn), Sweet Charity (Oscar), Jesus Christ Superstar (Herod), Guys and Dolls (Benny), and many more.

As a director/choreographer, Eric’s work has been seen at MAC Theatre of Busan, Korea, St. Louis Rep, Connecticut Rep, Berea Summer Theatre, Halle Theater, Weathervane Playhouse and Cain Park. His performance credits include Walnut Street Theatre, GEVA, Theatre Virginia, Radio City Music Hall, St. Louis Rep, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Cherry County Playhouse and Cincinnati Playhouse, as well as National and International tours. In 2010, he was commissioned as the Roe Green visiting guest artist for the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2014, Eric served as guest faculty for Dongseo University in Busan, South Korea, where he directed the Korean premier of Children of Eden.

He is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers. See more about Professor van Baars:


Ann Mariko Walter (she/her/hers) is the director of New York City Fashion study away location for the School of Fashion at Kent State University. In this role she oversees the administrative, instructional, operational, and technological aspects of a study away facility and program. In this role, she has had a strong and immediate impact on students through the development and implementation of academic programming focused on building professional relationships, increasing engagement with both alumni and the industry, and facilitating career preparation. Ann is passionate about centering her educational leadership practices with a social justice lens to ensure an academic environment that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all.

She has an extensive background in the fashion industry designing product and leading creative teams for various specialty and mass retailers including Gap, Old Navy, Liz Claiborne, Justice, Sears Holdings, Dots, Bonobos, and Walmart.

Ann is an alumna of the Shannon Rodgers & Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design. She received her Master of Education in Instructional Technology degree from Kent State University where she focused her work on the impact and future of online education in the applied arts. See more about Ms. Walter:

4:15 p.m.: Informal Networking Session


4:15 – 5:00 p.m.

Careers and collaboration happen when you find something in common with another person.  This open session will give you questions to ask, if you don’t know what to say, and time to just get to know folks in the room.


Information Networking Session Dial-in option: +1-571-392-7650, PIN: 807 799 1843