School of the Arts
2020 Awards

Dean Stephen Pullen - School of the Arts

Letter from the Dean

It cannot be said that the study of Art, Dance, Music or Theatre is easy. It is certainly noble, valuable, worthwhile, challenging and vital. And it is (usually) enjoyable, rewarding, satisfying and fulfilling. But it is rarely, if ever, easy. It requires hard work, discipline, diligence and dedication. It demands a level of commitment that sometimes defies logic or practicality. Rehearsals and studio work often go deep into the night. Sleep is sometimes a luxury. Copious hours of dedicated exertion are necessary to produce the artistic results desired. And all of this on top of general education requirements and other academic exigencies. So it is fitting that we recognize those who have managed to achieve such excellence, both artistically and academically.

Along with our outstanding students, we will also recognize teachers, mentors and staff members whose work has been especially valuable in helping our students to achieve their goals and aspirations. As dean of the School of the Arts, it is my great privilege to acknowledge and illuminate the exemplary work performed by all of this year's honorees. May we all take inspiration from their extraordinary efforts.

Stephen M. Pullen, MFA

Dean, School of the Arts

 

Art & Design Awards

Art & Design Chair

Message from the Chair

One brushstroke. One pixel. One word. Vincent van Gogh poetically noted, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Nothing could be truer of the visual arts. The arts inspire and challenge us. They provide places of harmony and repose, but also bravely nudge us out of complacency, defying us to think in new ways. The arts remind us what it is to be human—they teach us, inspire us, and unite us. But pursuing an education in the visual arts is no easy task. It requires building skills over not days or months, but years. It demands tenacity, flexibility, courage, creative vision, and even a sense of humor.

During this graduation season, the Art & Design Department honors seven extraordinary students dedicated to excellence in the visual arts. Nominated by their professors, these students have demonstrated outstanding commitment to their individual areas of focus. They have invested countless hours honing their skills and expanding their knowledge. They have weathered storms, taken risks, and poured their hearts and souls into creating their illustrations, paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, and designs, as well as developing their research, writing, and teaching. From all of your teachers in the Department of Art & Design, we congratulate you and wish you the brightest of futures, our honored graduating students of excellence!

Courtney R. Davis, JD, MA

Chair, Department of Art & Design

Golda Dopp

Award of Merit: Art History

Golda Dopp

Golda Dopp is thrilled to soon be a UVU alumna! Highlights from her time as an Art History major include living in Hong Kong and learning Cantonese, participating in the National Student Exchange, and interning at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. She is passionate about enabling people to become creative collaborators in the art world. Her professional goals include getting a Master’s in a non-Western study of art, then becoming a museum curator.

Maura Colby

Award of Merit: Art Education

Maura Colby

Maura Colby would not describe herself as an artist but a tinkerer. She loves to tinker with any art form she can get her hands on. She also enjoys showing others how to be a tinkerer, which is why she decided to be an art teacher. She can’t wait to be a teacher. On a personal note, Maura is a devoted aunt to her nephews and niece. She enjoys cooking, books and her dog.

Kylie Crosby

Award of Merit: Graphic Design

Kylie Crosby

Kylie Crosby is a graphic designer who is interested in taking a human-centered design approach to solving problems. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and minor in Art History from Utah Valley University, Kylie draws from previous art techniques and movements to influence her designs and embraces the intersection between art and design. She is now working at Chatbooks as a user-experience designer and continues to find joy in learning new things.

Coco Berryessa

Award of Merit: Photography

Coco Berryessa

Coco Berryessa combines her love of light and color with fine art, commercial, and food photography. She especially enjoys the particular challenges food photography presents and plans to pursue it as her primary interest after graduation. Coco has a cumulative GPA of 4.0, consistently made Dean’s List, and was awarded the UVU Art & Design Talent Scholarship. She completed an internship with a food photographer and became the principal photographer for an upcoming collaborative cookbook with the Culinary Arts Institute at UVU. She was the UVU photography representative at both the 2019 State and National SkillsUSA competitions, where she consecutively placed first. Coco is proud to be a Wolverine and looks forward to her promising future in photography.

Cathy Erdmann
Cathy Erdmann

Award of Merit: Sculpture/Ceramics/3D

Cathy Erdmann

During her time at UVU, Cathy Erdmann, has received several awards for her ceramic sculptures, including 1st place in the 2019 Woodbury Student Art Exhibit for her sculpture, “Psyche”. Her artwork has also been featured in Touchstones, where her sculpture, “Teapot No. 1”, was awarded 1st place. Cathy will graduate in May with a BFA in ceramics and sculpture. She loves playing with clay and currently teaches art lessons in her studio.

Vera Murphy

Award of Merit: Painting & Drawing

Vera Murphy

Vera Murphy has always been a hard-working student of excellence. She hit a few bumps on the way to getting her BFA that led to 3 years off and an adorable two-year-old. She was finally getting back in the swing of things when she found out baby number two would arrive before she finished her degree. It has been a challenging road, but she is making it happen anyway.

Marissa Clement

Outstanding Student Award

Marissa Clement (Illustration)

Marissa Clement graduated Fall 2019 with a BFA emphasis in Illustration. She traveled to both the United Kingdom and Germany on study abroad trips. These opportunities taught her to utilize her skills in producing books with UVU’s Art and Design department. Her work has been featured in both the New York and LA Society of Illustrators shows and is published through them as well.

 

Dance Awards

Dance Chair

Message from the Chair

To dance is to experience all qualities of being human. It engages and embodies the physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of those individuals that dance. Martha Graham also speaks of dance as language that communicates expression and voice as she states, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul”. When we dance together it creates a powerful community that communicates with its audiences through the medium of motion.

As we conclude the 2019- 2020 academic season the professors in the Department of Dance nominated and voted upon the graduates that exemplified the characteristics, work ethics, and accomplishments of the mission of the department. Four extraordinary students are honored in their respective areas of dance. They have demonstrated excellence in performance, academics, creative and scholarly research, leadership, pedagogy, and service. They have become artists or dance educators with voices that will communicate to the community and their students that dance has the power to elevate and transform lives. In the words of Martha Graham “Art is eternal for it reveals the inner landscape which is the soul of man”. I congratulate these exemplary outstanding students on behalf of the faculty in the Department of Dance and wish them well in their future pursuits.

Doris Hudson Trujilo

Chair, Department of Dance

Mattea Rogers
Mattea Rogers

Award of Merit: Ballet

Mattea Rogers

Mattea started attending Utah Valley University in the fall of 2016. During her time here, Mattea had the opportunity to take classes from a variety of national and international teachers. This past year Mattea took classes and performed with the professional company Utah Metropolitan Ballet throughout the season. She is a member UVU's ballet performing company, Repertory Ballet Ensemble, and has participated in many workshops. She studied under Devon Carney, Douglas Martin, Stoner Winslett, and Peter Boal in the Boca Ballet Theatre artistic director program. Her most recent performances include her role in George Balanchine’s ​Serenade, and the pas de deux in Marius Petipa’s​ Paquita. ​ She will begin dancing as an artist in the Utah Metropolitan Ballet starting next season, and could not be more grateful.

Spencer Muir
Spencer Muir

Award of Merit: Ballroom

Spencer Muir

Graduating from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science with an emphasis in Ballroom Dance, Spencer Muir is a well rounded dancer and studious individual who thrives on connective material. While at UVU Muir danced, traveled and competed around the world with the Ballroom Touring Team, performed with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT), and participated in research conferences presenting material connecting dance, Laban Movement Analysis, and Kinesiology.

“Actively participate in life against gravity” - Nina Watt

Kelsey Sorenson
Kelsey Sorenson

Award of Merit: Modern Dance

Kelsey Sorenson

Kelsey Sorenson will be graduating this May with a B.F.A in Modern Dance. During her studies at UVU, she performed as a guest artist for Repertory Dance Theatre, presented choreography at the Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research, choreographed 3 pieces for UVU’s Synergy Dance company, as well as performed as a company member for 3 years. This past year, Kelsey began her professional dance career as a company member for Wasatch Contemporary Dance II.

Rachel Blackford
Rachel Blackford

Outstanding Student Award

Rachel Blackford (Dance Education)

Rachel Blackford is a Utah native who recently completed her modern dance training with an emphasis in education at Utah Valley University, where she excelled as a performer, choreographer, educator, and dance scholar. In her time at UVU she acted as a director’s assistant in her third year on Synergy Dance Company, worked as a dancer with RDT on their 2019 restageing of Doris Humphrey’s work Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, and has set several works on UVU’s Synergy Dance Company and Contemporary Dance Ensemble. Her works Exodus et. Catherine Brown and Cries Made Inchoate were selected for adjudication at the Northwestern regional ACDA conferences in 2018 and 2020, and her more recent work was also commissioned to be restaged on UVU’s CDE for their 2020 spring show.

Rachel is currently working in the St. George area directing the dance companies at both Crimson Cliffs and Desert Hills high schools, and has enjoyed the opportunity to mentor young dance artists in her community. She recently became a member of St. George Dance Company for their 2020 season working as both a dancer and choreographer for their upcoming show, and is excited to continue exploring her dance artistry as a mover, educator, and choreographer.

 

Music Awards

Music Chair

Message from the Chair

Henry David Thoreau so accurately described music, and particularly its necessity in the present day, when he wrote, “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.” Whether studying performance, composition, production, or education, the Utah Valley University Music Department graduates are prepared, comprehensive musicians who will continue as life-long artists and learners. Their contributions will help our communities unite in various forms of song. They will use their unique musical voices to support and challenge society. And they will trumpet that it is music, and arts in general, that helps us get through difficult times of isolation and unites us from afar. Music being the mortar that binds humanity, these exemplary graduates will harness their invulnerability to create meaningful music and musicians through the rest of their lives. On behalf of the extraordinary music department faculty, I salute and celebrate these wonderful graduates, musicians, artists, and human beings.

Dr. Tom Keck

Chair, Department of Music

Dawson Richman
Dawson Richman

Award of Merit: Music

Dawson Richman

This is Dawson Richman's 5th year at UVU. As a piano performance major, Dawson has had many opportunities to perform for those in the community. Dawson will graduate this semester and plans to receive his MBA from UVU. Dawson enjoys reading and studying foreign languages in his spare time. He is fluent in German and has recently started learning Italian. Dawson has enjoyed his time here at UVU and cannot wait for the future.

Jaryn Gibb
Jaryn Gibb

Award of Merit: Commercial Music

Jaryn Gibb

Jaryn Gibb is an inventive artist with a passion for music. Her studies in Commercial Music with a vocal emphasis here at Utah Valley University has aided in her success within the industry by developing and finessing skills in areas such as performance, production, songwriting, and music business. Jaryn thanks the UVU faculty, mentors, her peers, and family for all of their support and awaits the opportunities that lie ahead!

Sidsie Vaughn
Sidsie Vaughn

Award of Merit: Music Performance

Sidsie Vaughn

Sidsie Vaughn has always loved playing the piano and writing music and is now finishing two Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Commercial Music at UVU. She is preparing to attend BYU for a Master’s degree this fall. She teaches private piano lessons and enjoys reading, hiking and spending time with family in her spare time.

Erin Walker
Erin Walker

Outstanding Student Award

Erin Walker (Music Education)

Erin Walker is honored by this recognition and would like to thank the administration, kind mentors, and friends at UVU who have impacted her life forever. Erin was appointed Assistant Conductor of the UVU Women’s Choir and Chamber Choir, which provided invaluable experiences. She plans to teach choir in schools and continue her work with arts integration and education in the community. Erin is grateful to her husband and five children for their sacrifice and support.

 

Theatrical Arts Awards

Theatre Chair

A MESSAGE from the Chair

Theatre tells the story of how people take action to transform themselves and the world around them in response to the constraints they face. We suddenly find ourselves in challenging times when everything we took for granted has changed. I look forward to seeing how our graduating theatre students will rise to the challenge of telling new stories to address our new realities. “To find a form that accommodates the mess,” said playwright Samuel Beckett, “that is the task of the artist now.

As this unique semester draws to its conclusion, the Department of Theatrical Arts for Stage and Screen honors four of our outstanding graduates. Nominated by their professors and voted on by the faculty as a whole, these students were chosen for their contributions to theatre department productions, their academic achievements, and their support of their fellow students. Our theatre graduates have become artists and educators who are innovators and entrepreneurs, sharing their creativity in their personal lives and in the Utah Valley theatre community. We salute them for their talent, perseverance, and ingenuity. They exemplify the best aspects of our theatre majors at Utah Valley University.

Dr. John Newman

Chair, Department of Theatre

Sam Kleyh
Sam Kleyh

Award of Merit: Theatre

Sam Kleyh (Theatre)

Sam Kleyh will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts, emphasizing in Acting and Directing. He has been involved in numerous productions at UVU over the past 5 years. His most recent acting credit was Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, and he recently directed a production of No Exit for his senior project. He would like to thank his family, friends, and faculty mentors for all their help on his journey.

Kira Knorr
Kira Knorr

Award of Merit: Theatrical Arts – Performance

Kira Knorr

Kira Knorr is graduating with her BFA in Musical Theatre.  During her time at UVU she was a part of shows such as The Laramie Project, Urinetown, In the Light, and The Children’s Hour.  She served as a student liaison for her class, and was a member of the 2018 UVU Black Box Company and the 2018 Improv Team.  Kira wishes to thank her cohort (Tianna & Olivia) and especially her family for their support.

Janice Chan
Janice Chan

Outstanding Student Award

Janice Chan (Theatrical Arts - Technical)

Janice Chan is a set designer and scenic artist based in Utah. She is graduating with a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts, with an emphasis in Scenic Design. Janice has designed over 14 productions since her debut in 2017. UVU productions include Urinetown: The Musical, The Laramie Project, Taming of the Shrew, Agamemnon, and Tribes. She’s painted scenery for Sundance Summer Theater, Utah Renaissance Faire, and An Other Theater Company. Janice was the associate set designer for The Noorda’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Janice grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and looks forward to exploring interactive exhibition design. See her upcoming work on UVU’s James and the Giant Peach in the fall. janicechan.design - IG @ninetiestragedy

 

Valedictorian Awards

Esther Beck
Esther Beck

Associate Degree

Esther Beck (Art & Design)

Homemade in Highland, Utah, Esther Beck has been filling the world with sunshine for 20 years. Esther combined her homeschool graduation with her graduation as an Emotional Health Facilitator from the Institute of Healing Arts in 2018. After exploring multiple degrees during her first years at UVU, Esther is now searching for careers that will use both her experience in emotional health and her love of art to help others create happiness in their lives

Heather Avery
Heather Avery

Bachelor Degree

Heather Avery (Art & Design)

During her time at school, Heather Avery has balanced being a student, business owner, wife and most recently, a mother. After graduation, Heather looks forward to growing her business and plans on becoming a mentor to up-and-coming graphic designers who are looking to follow the non-traditional path of pursuing entrepreneurship rather than a desk job in design.

 

Dean’s Awards

Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen

Dean’s Faculty Recognition Award

Brian Jensen (Art & Design)

Brian Jensen’s first ceramic experiences were in high school where he enjoyed the challenges of clay and struggling with the potter’s wheel. At Southern Utah University, Brian studied Illustration for several years before changing his major to Ceramics/ Secondary Education.

After many years of teaching high school ceramics, Brian attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics with a Minor in Printmaking.

Glaze experimentation, innovation and formulation are the driving forces in Brian’s ceramic work. Shino, crystalline, glow-in-the-dark, luster and other specialty glazes have been areas of his research and are an important part of his finished work.

Brian is a member of the art collective, “The Firm”, which exhibits and presents workshops throughout the United States. Individually, he continues to research, to give workshops and to exhibit his work throughout the United States and in other countries including, Korea, Denmark and France. Brian is currently an Associate Professor of Ceramics at Utah Valley University.

Phil Ah You
Phil Ah You

Dean’s Staff Recognition Award

Phil Ah You (Art & Design) 

Phil Ah You is a wolverine to his core. He began attending classes on campus of what was then UVSC before he even graduated from high school. Phil completed Bachelor’s degrees in two departments at UVU and has been employed here in some capacity for most of his adult life. Currently (and for the last decade), Phil has been the technician for the Art & Design Department. He loves engaging with Art students and faculty and is excited about the accomplishments of his department and its alumni.

Matthew Oviatt
Matthew Oviatt

Dean’s Student Recognition Award

Matthew Oviatt (Theatre)

 

 

Faculty Awards

Lara Beene
Lara Beene

Faculty Senate Faculty Excellence Award

La Beene (Theatre)

La Beene is an Assistant Professor of Costume Design in the Theatre Department at Utah Valley University. She also serves as Associate Chair and Head of the BFA program for Design and Technology. She has an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from BYU. Prior to UVU, La taught at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, the University of Utah, and BYU. She has designed costumes for productions all over the western United States including: The Oregon Cabaret Theatre, The Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, Plan B Theatre and Center Stage Youth Performers where she is the Resident Costume Designer. La loves teaching, a good musical, and anything to which she can add a little glitz.

Reed Criddle
Reed Criddle

Faculty Senate Faculty Excellence Award

Reed Criddle (Music)

Dr. Reed Criddle is Director of Choral Activities at Utah Valley University. He conducts the UVU Chamber Choir, Men’s Choir and teaches conducting and voice. As a conductor-musicologist and U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar, he has conducted ensembles, given keynote lectures, and led workshops throughout Europe, Asia, Cuba, and the United States. His compositions and arrangements, many of which draw on his research of Buddhist chant, are being performed by choirs around the globe.

Maylene White
Maylene White

Faculty Senate Faculty Excellence Award

Maylene White (Dance)

Maylene White has been involved in higher education for more than 25 years, teaching a variety of subjects — technique, improvisation, teaching methods and lecture classes. She earned a B.A. from BYU and M.F.A. from the University of Utah. She’s been a K-12 dance specialist for the State of Utah and Utah Festival Opera. As a performer, she spent several seasons touring with Contemporary DanceWORKS and worked as a guest artist with several professional dance companies and productions.

Heidi Beier
Heidi Beier

Faculty Senate Faculty Excellence Award

Heidi Beier (Dance)

Heidi Beier grew up in Steamboat Springs, CO, dancing with Ballet Northwest and Steamboat Dance Theatre. She attended Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp for ten summers. She got her B.A. in Studio Art (Photography) from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, and her M.F.A. in Dance from Arizona State University. She taught dance at ASU, Scottsdale Community College and Paradise Valley Community College. She was then offered an opportunity to start a dance program at the middle school level in the Higley Unified School District in Gilbert, AZ. She co-wrote the curriculum for the program and taught there for four years before moving to Higley High School to be the director of their program for another three years. During this time, she danced for Dulce Dance Company. She has been at UVU for six years, teaching Dance Conditioning and Modern/Contemporary for non-majors. She has been married to her awesome husband for fifteen years and is a proud mama of two boys. She enjoys reading, traveling and being in nature.

Gareth Fry
Gareth Fry

Alumni Award

Outstanding Educator Award

Gareth Fry (Art & Design)

Gareth Fry earned a BA with Honours from The Surrey Institute of Art & Design in Epsom, England and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has taught graphic design at UVU for nine years in the capacity of an adjunct instructor, a lecturer and an assistant professor. He is passionate about blending typography with photography to produce compositions with personally meaningful messages and loves to inspire his students to discover a similar voice.