What is your current job?
I direct the pre-college and teacher programs at the the nation's oldest college of art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). I oversee three pre-college academic programs, featuring college-level classes for about 200 high school students and rising college freshmen each year. I also manage PAFA's programs for art educators, including a week-long summer institute and professional development workshops, both granting professional development credit. Though these programs are largely tuition-funded, they also rely on grants and donations. Consequently, some of my time is dedicated to financial development.
Why did you choose this profession?
Though I was an Economics major at Haverford, the flexible liberal arts curriculum allowed me to take a lot of art classes (almost enough for a second major), which I combined with summer coursework at the University of the Arts. After graduating, I developed an interest in education while working for a school and a museum in Philadelphia and serving on the Committee on Friends Education and the Post-Secondary Education Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
In my role at PAFA, managing program budgets and soliciting private foundations, I can see where my Economics coursework may soon play a role. What is possible in higher education rests entirely on a combination of tuition, grants, and endowment income - as well as optimal allocation of these funds. Finance and administration could not be more important and I hope to move deeper into that space in the coming years.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
After a yearlong financial development fellowship at American Red Cross, I applied on a whim to a job at a progressive public magnet high school called Science Leadership Academy. Working closely with passionate, talented, and forward-thinking faculty and staff to provide an education devoid of testing and filled with authentic learning sparked in me a passion for education.
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
Haverford's faculty provided me very directly with a broad array of skills ranging from art and writing to math and economics. This, paired with an open mind, has allowed me to follow my instinct instead of climbing onto a pre-determined career treadmill. Lastly, the Honor Code has shown me that trust, concern, and respect empower people to do their best work.