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Broadway Buzz

How did musical theater and anthropology double major Kalyn West BA ’13 go from performing at the Val A. Browning Center to making her Broadway debut in a theater some claim is cursed because the man who built it sold Babe Ruth’s contract to the Yankees? 

West has been cast in The Prom, set to open Nov. 15, 2018, in the historic Longacre Theatre. Not only will West be directed by Casey Nicholaw, the creative force behind hits like Mean Girls and The Book of Mormon, she’ll also share the stage with a slew of Tony Award-winning or nominated Broadway luminaries. 

Whether playing Shakespeare’s doomed Juliet at Weber State or a stuck-up cheerleader in 2015’s off-Broadway rock musical Gigantic, West has never doubted the inevitability of her career in professional theater — the homepage of her website features a telling quote from writer Ayn Rand: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

A Bite of the Big Apple

Jessica Greenberg, assistant professor of lighting, sound and production, has designed numerous theater, dance and opera productions in New York. In April 2018, she designed lighting and sound for You/Emma, a new play inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, at IRT Theater in Greenwich Village. In July 2018, she lent her lighting design story The Fiancée, at the renowned La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. East Coast critics hailed her supernatural lighting and sound effects in the 2017 world premiere of The Briefly Dead at 59E59 Theaters.

Greenberg was a featured speaker at the second annual TEDxOgden event in July 2018. Her presentation explored how colored lighting shapes the way audiences experience a performance.

In the past five years, Greenberg has successfully written or co-written more than $300,000 worth of grants from university and private sources for research, travel and new technology for her design programs.

A Wildcat at Oxford

First-generation college student Tanner Telford BA ’18 came to Weber State in hopes of becoming a secondary school teacher; he left with a letter of acceptance to Oxford and dreams of becoming a university president. Come fall, the English and psychology double major will be one of only 12 new scholars invited into a brutally competitive graduate student cohort.

At WSU, Telford assumed a number of leadership roles, including Honors Program student advisory board president, student association activities committee co-chair and senior resident assistant. He also volunteered in low-income schools. But it was Telford’s perfect GPA that caught the attention of Oxford’s stringent admissions committee. In contrast to its peer institutions, Oxford does not select students for their extracurricular achievements; acceptance is based solely on academic criteria.

As part of his master’s program, Telford will complete a full research dissertation exploring higher education’s current “business model” trend and how it affects underrepresented populations. The 2018 Crystal Crest Scholar of the Year hopes to use his Oxford experience to help bring equality and justice to America’s approach to education.

In July 2018, Phi Kappa Phi — the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines — awarded Telford a fellowship worth $5,000 to provide financial support during his graduate program. The fellowship — the society’s signature award — was presented to just 57 recipients.

Weber Incorpora un Nuevo Título

Translation: Weber gets a new degree

The increase in the Hispanic population in Davis and Weber counties has created a need for Spanish-speaking professionals, including translators and interpreters. In the fall of 2018, Weber State students can begin earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Translation, a degree that not only will satisfy labor market demands, but also student demands. “WSU students requested this degree,” said Craig Bergeson BA ’91, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages. “It will help them acquire the communication, cultural and linguistic skills necessary to be translation professionals.”

An Evening with Cornel West

Philosopher and political activist Cornel West addressed a record-breaking, sold-out crowd during his visit to the Val A. Browning Center’s Austad Auditorium on Jan. 12, 2018, the Friday prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. West spoke on civility in modern times and how to keep King’s legacy of love and justice alive through contemplation and conversation.

Leaders in the Arts & Humanities

Weber State shares the state’s time-honored belief that arts and humanities can impact society and improve lives. So, it comes as no surprise that two Wildcats have been entrusted with key leadership positions within Utah’s arts and humanities community.

In March 2018, Jodi Graham, a 1995 theater arts teaching graduate, was named executive director of Utah Humanities, a nonprofit agency that partners with libraries, museums, schools, media and other groups to sponsor programs, events and activities that promote active humanities engagement in every corner of the state. After a rigorous selection process, Graham was unanimously chosen from a field of more than 110 applicants.

Meantime, Scott Sprenger, dean of the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities, brings his passion for the liberal arts to Utah Humanities’ volunteer board of directors. His appointment comes at a critical time as the organization looks to develop strategic priorities and extend its reach in Utah and beyond.