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2017 MAT Performing Arts

Heather Roberts, M.A.T Performing Arts Graduate Student

Tell me about yourself:

Originally, I’m from Cross, SC and I was 25 when I entered the program. Previously I earned my undergraduate degree in Theater for Youth at the College of Charleston. Through this program I was able to have many hands-on teaching experiences including working with the special-needs theater program called “The Unified Players” in partnership with the City of Charleston. Ultimately I want to become a Drama Therapist, but I decided that I also wanted to become a certified teacher to have classroom experience to fulfill the requirements to achieve my drama therapy license in the future. I plan on teaching for at least 5 years after graduation to meet the requirement for loans that I have taken out and then I plan on heading to Canada or Massachusetts to earn my drama therapy license. During the program I was able to gain more teaching experience through fieldwork associated with my coursework and I was also given a graduate assistantship teaching at a preschool at the College of Charleston. While in this program, I have continued my work with the City of Charleston’s “Unified Players” and assist them with producing plays. This year we are doing James and the Giant Peach! I am a jack of all trades and a master of some. I work hard and try to do my best at everything that is put in front of me. I love to to put on plays with the Unified Players which is a group for typical and exceptional adults.  Side of school, I also love to bake and I am trying to start my own cupcake business. I’m engaged to the most awesome person, Matthew. I am also the mother of two fur babies, Dragon and Shadow.

Heather and the Furbabies

Heather, Matthew and the Furbabies

What is your favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus is the couches on the second floor of the Simmons Center.

Why did you select UCSC- College of Charleston? I selected the College because I wanted to pursue theatre in a teaching and therapeutic format. Teaching performing arts will act as a stepping stone for my final goal of becoming a dramatherapist.

Just me Heather

Just call me Heather

What does diversity mean to you? Diversity means that everyone is included. Whether that means race, social economic level, ability level or anything else. All deserve a right to follow their own path.

What advice would you give prospective graduate students? Don’t procrastinate! While it may seem like a good idea at the time, you’ll been in for many a sleepless night. Also, don’t  be afraid to try something new. You might end up finding your passion in the unlikeliest of places.

Ready to Graduate in May 2017

Ready to Graduate in May 2017

To learn more about our Performing Arts (Master of Arts in Teaching) program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/performingarts.php


under: Academics, Arts Management, Diversity, Fine Arts, Fine Arts, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Networking, Performing Arts, Prospective Students, Uncategorized

Graduate Student Spotlight: Husna Siddiqui

Posted by: McCrayCC | December 13, 2016 | No Comment |
Husna Siddiqui'18

Husna Siddiqui’Master of Computer Information Sciences’18

Tell me about yourself

My name is Husna Siddiqui. I was born in Hyderabad, India. I’m currently pursuing a masters in Computer and Information Sciences with a concentration in Software Engineering. Right now, I work as a Software Engineer at Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company that powers social good. A few of my hobbies include cooking,eating, DIY home projects, taking walks and traveling. I love going on random adventures and being in the outdoors, but I also enjoy relaxing and binge watching Netflix. I absolutely love coffee and I obsessively watch Korean dramas.

What is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place on campus is the Computer Science game room. It’s the place that I go to when I want to meet up with friends, work on class projects or just relax and play some video games. The game room has a ton of amenities for students such as: a microwave, a refrigerator, video games and Netflix!  It is a really cool space that strives to provide a fun and comfortable environment.

Reserved for Husna

Reserved for Husna

Why did you select UCSC- College of Charleston?

I have a passion for technology and to create a culture of collaboration and learning. I knew that I wanted to continue learning and to further my education so that I can be the best at what I do. My professor, Aspen Olmsted, pushed me and encouraged me to face new challenges and opened up the door to exciting opportunities by leading me towards our masters program. I chose the College of Charleston because I love the faculty and the students who are a part of the Computer Science department. The department has a culture of inclusion, collaboration, and friendship. I knew that I would be comfortable and happy here.

What does diversity mean to you?

To me diversity is acceptance. I believe that being surrounded by a diverse group of people from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds can help to nurture beautiful relationships. It will enable us to learn and grow together, and to accept and respect our differences. I feel that at the College of Charleston we are lacking in terms of racial and cultural diversity, however, we do a really great job with acceptance. In my experience here I have always been welcomed and encouraged by my peers and professors to be the best that I can be.

What advice would you give prospective graduate students?

Find something that you are truly passionate about. Be prepared and driven. It is not easy, but if it is something that you want, then it is totally worth it. Also, build strong relationships with the faulty and your peers. These relationships will be a crucial part of your success as a student.

For more information on our Master of Computer and Information Sciences Graduate Program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/computerscience.php



under: Computer & Information Sciences, Diversity, Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Guest Bloggers, Networking, News, Student Services, Uncategorized
Laura Westby Cannon

Laura Westby Cannon

We are excited to feature a graduate student in one of our newest graduate school programs- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. The MFA in Creative Writing, a two-year program of graduate study for 12 students admitted annually for a total of 24 students, features separate Studio and Arts Management emphases. The program offers not only advanced degree training in the writing of poetry and fiction, but also opportunities to assist in the production of Crazyhorse. The backbone of the program will be workshops taught by writing faculty in the two genres, as well as training in the history and traditions associated with writing, theoretical and formal approaches to the craft, and intensive peer and faculty feedback. Students in both the Studio and Arts Management tracks will also gain reading, writing, and critical thinking skills valuable to such humanities-based industries as editing, publicity, marketing, and promotion in publishing and the arts; the Arts Management track emphasizes management, organization, decision-making, and problem-solving skills in preparation for jobs within the creative economy. Laura is one of our Woodfin scholars, business owner and a COFC graduate. Read more about Laura.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Fargo, North Dakota and spent my childhood years in rural Valley City. My family moved south seventeen years ago, my parents in search of a stronger economy. I was able to attend the College of Charleston in 2006 when I received the Palmetto Scholars award as an undergraduate. It was here I discovered I could obtain a B.A. in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing – something I never knew was possible. As an avid reader and writer from a young age, I jumped at that opportunity. After graduation I opened a small business with my husband, but never quieted my love for writing.

Creative Minds at work

Creative Minds At Work

What is your favorite place on campus?

I love the Cistern Yard. The oak trees are gorgeous and I’m often stunned that so much beauty is in such a small space in the middle of a city.

Laura Westby, MFA'18

Laura Westby Cannon, MFA’18

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity is engaging with people. I don’t believe it means pity, but if we carry enough mercy, it can certainly be a catalyst to empathy. Perhaps it is the practice of getting outside our own selves to discover how many other ways there are to live.

Mr & Mrs Cannon

Mr & Mrs Cannon

Advice for prospective graduate students

Don’t wait to strive toward reaching your goals. Life happens at inopportune times. If there are one hundred reasons to say no, consider the reasons you want to say yes. And if pursuing your graduate degree is a part of achieving your most heartfelt desire in this lifetime, you cannot afford to say no. The details take care of themselves, believe me.

To learn more about the MFA in Creative Writing: http://english.cofc.edu/graduate-programs/master-fine-arts-creative-writing/index.php



under: Academics, Diversity, Fine Arts, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Networking, Professional Development, Prospective Students
Armon Hanks

Armon Hanks

Meet Armon Hanks, an Environmental Studies graduate student. Armon is interested in the science behind policy issues, he is acquiring a solid foundation based on the ways information should be used to assess environmental and societal risk and the relevant policies. Students of environmental policy focus on the development and implementation of public policy responses to environmental issues, especially the economic, political and social factors that are an intrinsic part of the policymaking process. Here is a little bit more about Armon Hanks…..

Tell me a little bit about yourself

  • Military brat, parents in Navy
  • Grew up along the Savannah River, GA
  • Hometown – Augusta, GA; BA in Environmental Science from USC Columbia
  • Builds and rides electric bikes
  • Grows his own vegetables
  • Wants to be a mayor one day

What is your favorite place on campus?

  • School of Sciences and Mathematics building – I love the new science building, you always see someone you know, the natural history museum is AMAZING, the building is chock full of multidisciplinary scientific endeavors, and it always smells nice and clean.

What does diversity mean to you?

  • Diversity to me means bringing together a variety of people, things, or ideas that are very different from each other; but it’s not just bringing all those different things together, it’s bringing them together for a purpose greater than any purpose they could have achieved individually. Kind of like a rainforest, or a coral reef, to me diversity has to have a synergistic or mutual symbiotic nature about it.
  • In my opinion, diversity is the willingness to incorporate information that differs from your typical perspective. It means you’re open to learning about the way someone else might approach a situation, and you’re not only respectful, but appreciative of those differences.
Armon Hanks

Armon Hanks

Advice for prospective graduate students

  • You are in charge of your own success; don’t be afraid to fail or challenge yourself academically, professionally, and physically. At the same time though, make sure you don’t isolate yourself; always connect with your faculty, your professors, your fellow graduate students, and people working in the field(s) you’re interested in.

If you would want to learn more about our Environmental Studies program, click here: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/envstudies-ms.php

under: Charleston, Diversity, Environmental Studies, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Prospective Students

Alumni Spotlight: Danna Stokes, M.S. Child Life

Posted by: McCrayCC | November 4, 2016 | No Comment |

Danna Stokes grew up in Greenville, SC and completed her undergraduate degree at Clemson University (Go Tigers!). She always knew that she wanted to work with children, and after volunteering and interning with a few different organizations, she decided that she wanted to pursue a career in child life. As a kid, she hated going to the doctor, so the idea of being involved in a profession where the main purpose is to reduce the stress of hospitalization intrigued her. After realizing the competitiveness of the field, she decided that in order to land her dream job, she would need to earn a master’s degree in child life, which led her to College of Charleston. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Child Life in May 2016 and earned her certification in August of the same year.

Danna Stokes'16

Danna Stokes’16

Her first day as a Certified Child Life Specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was August 1st 2016, where she works in the emergency department at Egleston, one of CHOA’s three main campuses. She sees everything from seriously injured patients to fractured bones or small lacerations. Her primary role is to reduce the stress and impact of hospitalization for patients and families. She also often provides alternate focus to help divert the patient’s attention during stressful times. She loves so many aspects of her job, but her favorite part is when she gets to prepare a child for a procedure. She often uses medical equipment or teaching dolls to ensure that the child understands what he or she will see, hear, and feel during the procedure. She loves seeing that little lightbulb go on when a patient realizes that he or she knows exactly what is going to happen and that there is a coping plan in place that will make the experience easier. She says there’s nothing like watching a five-year-old tell a physician “that’s the string Band-Aid that’s going to fix my cut!”

In a profession like child life, experience is everything. Fortunately, the graduate program at the University of Charleston, SC at the College of Charleston provided a lot of opportunities to build relationships with community organizations and gain experience working with children and families. As a cohort, she were involved with an organization that provided end-of-life resources to families, a group that allowed for normative camp opportunities to children with various illnesses or developmental challenges, as well as a school program that focused on grief counseling for children. Throughout every experience and every interaction, she learned how to better shape her language and disposition to fit the individual patient and family that she is working with.

Her advice to current graduate students is to enjoy the learning. She has always thought that it is such a privilege to live in a country where we have such easy access to learning. The great part about graduate school is that you are finally taking classes that are focused on exactly what you are interested in learning about. Once you graduate, you do not have as easy access to learning, so make sure you take advantage of the opportunities to soak it all in, make the mistakes and learn from them now. She also says that although graduate school can be very stressful at times, especially if you are balancing a job or other life commitments along with your education, it’s all worth it when you land that job. She is so thankful every day for her career. She loves what she does and knows that it would have never been possible without earning her master’s degree.

If you would like more information on our Child Life program: http://childlife.cofc.edu/index.php


under: Academics, Award, Charleston, Child Life, Child Life, Diversity, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Networking, Professional Development, Uncategorized
Achille Parmentier, '17

Achille Parmentier, ’17

Achille Parmentier holds a B.S. in Economics from the College of Charleston.  This year he finds himself back at the College of Charleston, this time pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in Finance.  Prior to seeking his Master’s degree, Achille started Three Sheets to the Wind Sailboats, a business that bought, refurbished, and sold sailboats.  While running the business, he oversaw day-to-day operations, solicited investments, and built a rapport with customers and vendors.  In the five years he owned his business he saw year-over-year growth and consistently sought new revenue streams. While he possesses an entrepreneurial mindset, he also has a passion for investing, and enjoys trading in the stock market.  In his free time, Achille enjoys being outside, playing golf, making beer, and sailing. He also volunteers with the College of Charleston Sailing Association to assist with various programs including Wounded Warrior Sailing.  Achille currently resides in Charleston, SC with his wife, Mitzi, and his dog, Elvis

Why UCSC Graduate School? I’m a former business owner, and a CofC graduate. I’ve been in Charleston for 12 years, and I love this city!  After watching my wife finish her graduate degree last year, I decided to take the plunge.

What is your favorite place on campus? I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t fall in love with the Cistern!  I saw it for the first time when touring schools in high school, and the cistern was a definitely a part of why I came here for undergrad.

What does Diversity mean to you? Diversity is incredibly important.  It’s not just about people with different backgrounds, but also people with different experiences and viewpoints.  Our class is very diverse and it’s one of my favorite parts of the program.

Advice to graduate students? Glean as much information from your peers as possible.  They have a wealth of information and experiences that you may not have.  Also manage your time carefully.  When done right, it will feel slightly less like your life is in complete chaos.

Click here if you would like more information on the Global MBA program: www.mbacharleston.com


under: Business Administration, Diversity, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, News, Professional Development, Prospective Students
President of Graduate Students of Color

President, Graduate Students of Color

I am a third year Marine Biology Master’s Candidate conducting research on the zooplankton exposure to microplastics at flood tidal fronts in the Charleston Harbor. I am also President of the Graduate Students of Color Association and Treasurer of the Charleston Waterkeeper Club.

Why did you select CofC?

Having been born and raised in SC, I knew quite a bit about Charleston and The College. My family and I use to visit for vacation from the upstate all the time. I actually started filling out an application to attend here as an undergrad, but I was pulled toward Wilmington, NC instead. When applying for a Masters in Marine Biology, I knew CofC had a good reputation and it wasn’t the five-hour drive home as my undergraduate institution was.

Under the Sea

Under the Sea

What is your favorite place on campus?

As a marine biology student studying at Grice Marine Lab, I am not exposed to the main campus in the same way as many of my colleagues in other disciplines. However, from what I do know, my favorite place is Harbor Walk. Not the inside, but the outside. I love having access to a beautiful view of the Harbor and access to a dock on the peninsula where I can collect samples for my research.

What does diversity mean to you?

As my dad would say “its having to not look at the same color people all the time,” ha. In all seriousness though, diversity and having a diverse community, in my opinion, is so important. In order to evolve, learn, and help each other, it is imperative that we not only “surround yourselves with like-minded individuals” as one may often hear, but to also surround yourself with people that don’t look like you, love like you, come from where you came from, etc. Being able to incorporate all of these people in a community, whether that’s in a classroom or in the workplace, allows for the status quo to be questioned which then brings about positive change.

Under the Sea

Under the Sea

Advice to graduate students?

My advice to graduate students would be to work hard and don’t feel like you need other’s affirmation to know that you are doing a good job. The key is to continue to work hard. It is important to communicate ideas and questions with others, but it is also ok to work on your own from time to time. In addition, have fun! In my opinion, it is important to put down your graduate work every now and then and do something spontaneous or something you really enjoy doing. This will feed your creativity, social-life, or other aspects you feel you are missing from focusing on your graduate studies. It is easier said than done, I know, but it helps keep you sane and may open up other opportunities you were not expecting.

Looking and Discovering

Looking and Discovering

For more information on Graduate Students of Color: https://www.facebook.com/CofCGSCA/

under: Environmental Studies, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Marine Biology, Professional Development, Prospective Students, Uncategorized
Ed Longe, GSA President

Ed Longe, GSA President

A little bit about Ed Longe

Currently studying a M.A in history with a focus on how anti communism effected American foreign relations as well as the image of the United States abroad. I also hold a B.A in History and Politics in the first class from the University of Chester.

Why the College of Charleston?

I chose to pursue my master’s degree at the College of Charleston for a number of reasons, so I think it would be unfair to cite one specific rationale. However, one of the main reasons I elected to come here was the opportunity to study in Charleston itself. The history and architecture of the College and the city of  Charleston itself was a significant draw, coupled with the proximity to both the beautiful upstate and spectacular beaches.

Favorite places on campus?

Nothing beats studying in the Cistern Yard on a warm Charleston day!

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity to me is more than just discussing the color of ones skin. It involves establishing an academic community that focuses on academic and cultural contributions, irrespective of nationality, race, gender, sexuality, political affiliation or religion. The aim of diversity should not be about compartmentalizing students into established groups, but ensuring that every student is given the opportunity and means to express themselves in an open and welcoming environment.

Advice to undergraduate students?

Take every and any available opportunity, you never quite know where you will end up!

If you would like more information on the GSA: http://blogs.cofc.edu/gsa/about/


under: Uncategorized
Jon Hakkila

Dr. Jon Hakkila

I grew up and attended college between New Mexico and California (with some time in Hawaii), and spent many years working in Minnesota and Alabama before coming to the College of Charleston. My undergraduate degrees are in Physics and English/American Literature, and my M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are in Astronomy. I briefly wrote poetry and worked in industry as a computer programmer/analyst before fulfilling my dream of becoming an astrophysicist. My research interests are in gamma-ray bursts and the sub-discipline of astrostatistics/astroinformatics.  

What do you like most about working at COFC? I love the people, the work environment, the climate, and the city of Charleston. Everybody should live here, but then again, we don’t want them to.

What is your favorite hangout on campus? My favorite hangout on campus would have to be the Graduate Office (Randolph Hall Suite 310; come by and visit if you have a chance). I work with amazing, friendly, productive colleagues who are really fun to be around.

Most memorable trip? I love to travel, especially with my family. As a result, I have to say that my most memorable trip is usually my most recent one. I have been to many wonderful places and countries. One Holiday break trip does stand out where our family spontaneously drove from Charleston to California, visited relatives, and drove back, all in nine or ten days.

Tell us about your family? My wife Fahn is a talented, hardworking, and generous woman who loves establishing connections between American and Chinese cultures. We met in San Diego when we discovered that we both love to eat good food. We have two wonderful daughters: Oriane is a third-year law student at Columbia University, and Leotie is a sophomore at Emory University interested in environmental studies and medicine.

Leotie's High School Graduation

Leotie’s High School Graduation

What does diversity mean to you? To me, diversity is a process by which we introspectively and empathetically share our disparate cultural backgrounds to become better-rounded, more fulfilled people. I feel fortunate that my life has allowed me to cross many cultures barriers and to live a diverse life.

The Hakkila Family

The Hakkila Family

My two daughters Leotie and Omarie

My two daughters Leotie and Oriane with the chicks

under: Accountancy, Arts Management, Business Administration, Communication, Computer & Information Sciences, Diversity, Early Childhood Education, Education, Elementary Education, English, Environmental Studies, ESOL, Fine Arts, Gifted & Talented, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Historic Preservation, History, Languages, Marine Biology, Mathematics, Middle Grades Education, Networking, Performing Arts, Professional Development, Prospective Students, Public Administration, Science & Math for Teachers, Special Education, Statistics, Teaching, Learning, and Advocacy, Uncategorized, Urban and Regional Planning

Alumni Spotlight: Catherine Willoughby ’12

Posted by: McCrayCC | September 8, 2016 | No Comment |
Catherine W and Member of Goose Creek Lions Club

Catherine Willoughby and Member of Goose Creek Lions Club

Catherine Willoughby ’12 graduated from the University of Charleston, South Carolina with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Management. During graduate school, Catherine was able to expand her passion for arts advocacy and administration through an internship position with the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, a close relationship that she still maintains today. She has worked with Piccolo Spoleto as a Box Office Administrator for the past five years and plans to assist with the widely-anticipated MOJA Festival this October. Shortly after graduation, Catherine received an opportunity to serve as a civilian federal employee for the navy within their human resources department.

The leadership, policy advocacy and non-profit management skills she obtained through her experience and education in the MPA program has served Catherine well during her position as President of the Goose Creek Lions Club; the Lions Club raised over $40,000 for various charities under her 2014 – 2016 tenure. During her spare time, Catherine enjoys exploring museum and studio exhibits, theatre, live music of virtually kind, and trying out new restaurants in Charleston’s ever-evolving culinary industry.

Just me!

Just Catherine!


under: Arts Management, Graduate School Office, Guest Bloggers, Networking, News, Professional Development, Public Administration

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