CoA+A Moving On 2021: Where our Recent Graduates Are Going Next

Monday, May 24, 2021
Music education graduates throwing their grad cap in front of Robinson Hall

Nicholas Carl, Bachelor of Music, K-12 Music Education '21, is employed with Mitchell County Schools in North Carolina

"I will be split between two schools simultaneously year long, growing and developing the band programs. I'm blessed to get to work with students as young as 5th grade, and as old as 12th grade! I will be in charge of several band classes and a variety of ensembles," he says. "I am such a better teacher for having come to UNC Charlotte. Through the coursework and relationships with esteemed faculty in the Department of Music, my teaching philosophy and confidence in the classroom are significantly more intact and sound."


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown doing a dance jump Ella Sanchez, BA Dance Performance '21, just accepted a job as a dance teacher at Le Croix Academy for the Performing Arts

"The Department of Dance taught me about decolonizing the dance curriculum, which includes treating every dance genre with equal validity and accepting each body as a dancing body," she says. "I want to incorporate these ideas in my classes to make sure every dancer feels included."⁠ ⁠In her new position, she will be teaching creative movement and pre-ballet. "I want to make this class something that the kids look forward to, especially since this will be the first time that many of them are dancing,"⁠ she says.⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown in front of the storrs signKelsey Samuel, BA in Architecture '21, is headed to Boston Architectural College to get her Masters

"I will be getting my Masters in Design for Human Health!" she says. "The program merges aspects of physical, environmental, and social sciences with architectural design. While also proposing improvements in private and public spaces that respond to human needs, with the goal of complementing and enhancing physical activity, cognitive performance, and psychological and health and well-being."⁠ With this degree, she hopes to design homes for Veterans or work with a firm in hospital design.⁠ Kelsey says "The support from my classmates and professors at UNC Charlotte really allowed me to grow over these 4 years and really find out what I was passionate about." ⁠


photo of recent graduateDylan Ireland, BA Theatre '21, has been accepted into the MFA in Acting program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio on full scholarship

⁠⁠"This program with the Cleveland Playhouse is designed to take 8 actors and put us through a rigorous 3-year program," he says. "We will take a deep dive into many facets of the theatrical space to discover our true core as actors. We will cover topics such as Shakespeare, commedia dell’arte, and contemporary drama, to name a few."⁠ ⁠Dylan says, "At UNC Charlotte, I was exposed to many acting disciplines and how I can express myself in them. This broad range has made me a versatile actor and I’m ready to take these skills to the next level and truly find the artist I was meant to be."⁠


photo of recent graduate sitting at a coffee shop smilingJillian Freeman, BFA in Graphic Design '20, received a full-time job at Pinckney Marketing in Charlotte

"In my position, I design any digital marketing materials (UX/UI, web ads, emails, social media, etc) or print marketing materials (flyers, billboards, menus, etc.) that our clients need from the conception process to the final deliverables. This often involves evolving brands and creating ways to improve their visual identity," she says.⁠ Jillian says she feels lucky to have a job set up straight out of college. "I can't say enough how my time at Charlotte prepared me for this job. I felt completely confident in my design abilities and well-equipped to speak about my work in a professional setting," she says. "My main graphic design professors, Dave, Bobby, and Cynthia, taught me invaluable knowledge that I still use every day."⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown in front of the storrs signDante Gil Rivas, BA Architecture '21, is headed to Rice University on a full-tuition waiver to receive his Masters of Architecture

"Once I complete my M.Arch program, I look forward to work in a firm that incorporates research and practice," he says. "At Charlotte, I worked as a student research assistant at the Integrated Design Research Lab, where I learned how research could be integrated into architecture."⁠ Dante continues, "I find incorporating research and practice important as conventional systems need to advance in a growing and changing world. We can not use outdated solutions for a world with new problems." ⁠Dante credits UNC Charlotte with many valuable lessons he has learned. ⁠He explains, "A few things I accomplished during my time as a student include: receiving a high-quality education from dedicated faculty, traveling abroad to Tokyo, Japan, working on an NSF-funded project, and experience in presenting research work at the Office of Undergraduate Research."⁠


photo of recent graduate holding a violin Jane Parris, BM Music '21, will be attending Carnegie Mellon in the fall to pursue a Master of Music in Violin Performance

"I have accepted a fellowship and assistantship, and I am honored to be a part of their program," she says. ⁠Jane hopes to grow more as a musician during her time at Carnegie Mellon. "I hope to improve my technical facility on my instrument, but I also would like to focus on becoming a more informed and cultured musician," she says. "This next step in my education would not be possible if not for my time at Charlotte," says Jane. "The education I received in my applied lessons and academic classes has prepared me for this next step, and I am excited to take what I have learned and utilize it as I pursue my masters." ⁠


photo of recent graduate taking a photo with a cameraParks Sadler, BFA Photography '19, is headed to London to earn his Master's of Art in Contemporary Photography: Philosophies and Practices at Central Saint Martins​

Parks's coursework aims to challenge the boundaries of photography and explore lens-based mediums as a tool to conduct practice-based research. "There is an emphasis on multidisciplinary practice and not allowing how we understand photography to be rooted in preconceived limitations," he explains.⁠ "I am most excited about being in a city as large and diverse as London," he continues. "There are so many amazing opportunities for artists in London and being able to tap into that will be extremely valuable for my career."⁠ Parks credits the Department of Art & Art History for preparing him for this opportunity. "I worked as Dr. Jae Emerling’s research assistant for two years," he says. "This, along with him being my advisor for independent studies, and taking nearly all his classes challenged my perspective on image-making." The guidance and support offered by Dr. Emerling led me to this degree program at Central Saint Martins. The faculty at UNC Charlotte truly has a personal and professional investment in preparing students for their next steps," Parks says.


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown in front of the storrs signAshkan Radnia, Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Information Technology (Design Computation Dual Degree) '21, is joining CBT Architects in Boston as a Design Technologist

"My favorite memories at UNC Charlotte were the times I spent in the School of Architecture Studios working with my peers on different projects, making each semester a unique experience," he remembers. "The inspiring and collaborative studio culture brought the best out of each one of us and created meaningful bonds between us."⁠ From Tehran, Iran, Ashkan says he chose UNC Charlotte for, "The growth and the potential of the city of Charlotte for young professionals."⁠


photo of recent graduate in a dance poseCecilia Whalen, Dance Minor '21, is moving to NYC to study at the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance

"The program will include daily classes in ballet and Graham technique, as well as chances to learn and perform Graham repertory," she says.⁠ Cecilia is most excited to continue growing and progressing as a dancer, to meet other aspiring and professional dancers in NYC, and to work with really great faculty wherever she takes class in the city. ⁠She credits her time at Charlotte for allowing her to progress technically so that she would be prepared to further her dance studies. ⁠"I definitely wouldn't have been ready to dance at the Graham School right out of high school – I needed this time in college to get stronger."⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown in front of robinson hallGianna Agostino, BA Music with a minor in Theatre '21, is pursuing her MFA in Sound Design and Technology at the University of Missouri - Kansas City this fall

"The program is very well integrated into the city and the music and theatre scene, so I’m excited to explore a new area through sound!" she says. Gianna is excited to learn more about audio recording and producing, and finding new ways to create immersive sound experiences for audiences. ⁠"My time at Charlotte has fully prepared me for this next step. It was here that I discovered this passion, and with the support of the amazing faculty and staff, I was able to hone my skills and create a path that was unique to me," she says. ⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown in front of a flower bushCarson Edwards, BA Architecture '21, is starting a full-time job at Pfirman Architects in Wilmington, NC

In his new position, Carson serves as the firm's go-to for visual representation, making 3D models, physical models, and renderings of client projects. "I also work on construction documents for our firm's house projects," he says. "This entails, plans, sections, elevations, foundation, roof, details, and etc. I will occasionally design alongside my boss on upscale projects when I get the chance.⁠"⁠ Carson says his time at SoA has prepared him for this job in two ways. "First, it has prepared me for the workload. Coming into the real world, I felt like I definitely had a hold on how much I’m supposed to be working, and it’s great." "Secondly," he explains, "I'm able to think about design in a creative and fun way."⁠


photo of recent graduate in a green jacketAugusta Shaver, BA Art History '19, is attending Harvard University, earning her Master's Degree in Museum Studies

"My program has five major concentrations, mine being Collections Care and Research," she explains. "My current focuses are Nazi-era looting/repatriation and traumatic imagery. As a member of the New England Museum Association and the American Alliance of Museums, I plan to use this degree to educate the next generation of museum professionals and to work firsthand with museum collections, focusing on ethics and preservation within archives." ⁠She continues, "At Charlotte, I double majored in Art History and Photography, which prepared me for graduate school with the perfect mixture of theory, research tactics, and hands-on experience," she says. 


photo of recent graduate sitting with the view of a city behind herKeely Haggar, Master's of Architecture '21, accepted a full-time job working with LS3P here in Charlotte

"After starting my journey at UNC Charlotte in 2013 as a Mechanical Engineering student, two years went by and I was not feeling fulfilled," she says. "When touring the architecture building in 2015, I realized that a blend of my artistic and technical capabilities did exist and I knew I belonged in the program." ⁠She continues, "Now, as a Master's student looking back, I have grown exponentially through the entirety of the program with my design skills, technical skills, understanding of systems, and everything in-between."⁠ Keely will be in the Enterprise studio which focuses on large-scale mixed-use projects and workplaces. She says she's looking forward to the growth of her professional capabilities, which "in combination with my artistic skills will make for some zesty architectural designs."⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown Kayley McLamb, BA Dance Performance with a Certificate in Advanced Dance Studies '21, is headed to grad school to get her MS in Management at UNC Charlotte

"This program is designed for students who have a bachelor's degree in non-business fields," she explains. "Therefore, this education will hopefully allow me to find management jobs that are related to dance. It will also prepare me to own my own business (maybe a dance studio one day!)"⁠ Kayley says, "My undergrad experience prepared me to make this decision by teaching me to be open to any opportunities and believe in myself."⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown in front of treesAvery Bumgarner, Bachelor in Music Education '21, is headed to grad school at Ohio University in the Fall

"I’ll be studying classical and jazz saxophone performance," he says. "Through my assistantships, I am able to teach lessons to undergraduate students and coach chamber ensembles."⁠ Avery hopes to become a studio professor in a higher-ed institution and be able to "mentor students like Dr. Will Campbell and Dr. Ben Still have done for me during my time at Charlotte." ⁠He continues, "UNC Charlotte has been monumental in shaping me into the musician and educator that I am today. The music faculty and staff are absolutely world-class, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance." ⁠


 headshot of a man in glassesAaron Perrill, Masters of Architecture '21, is starting a full-time job at ADW architects in Charlotte

"I will be an architectural designer on the education studio working on elementary schools in our area – which is fitting because my wife is a kindergarten teacher here in Charlotte!⁠" he says.⁠ Aaron says he is most excited to see his designs come to life and make a positive impact on our community. "I’ve had a great experience at UNC Charlotte," he continues. "I have learned to think as a designer, challenge the status quo, as well as work through complex problems. The experience I’ve gained and the skills I’ve learned will certainly transfer into my professional career."⁠


photo of recent graduate in cap and gown Ruby Kate Hughey, BA Art History and BA Music '21, has accepted a full-time job with the Cabarrus Arts Council

"As the Program Assistant, I will be working with an impressive and inspiring team to promote performing and visual arts in Cabarrus County and beyond," Ruby says. "I will be working in the galleries and assisting in exhibitions, helping art be more accessible to kids through school programs, and working with artists and performers featured by the arts council's various cultural programs," she says.⁠ "My time at UNC Charlotte has not only furthered my passion for the arts but has also exposed me to the diverse ways in which the arts can impact a community in a special way," she explains. ⁠⁠


photo of a dancer at the barreRahquelah Conyers, BA Dance Performance '20, is a member of the Fuzion Force Entertainment Agency as an industry commercial dancer and an Executive Assistant for the agency and the studio, as well as a dancer with Moving Spirits

"Fuzion Force Entertainment Agency functions as a professional liaison for trained, aspiring dancers to book industry performances and events, further their commercial dance training, and maintain connections within the dance community both locally and nationally," she explains.⁠ "I double as an Industry Commercial Dancer and Executive Assistant, so when I'm not training in either Hip Hop, Street Jazz, Heels, or Contemporary, I am responsible for the bookkeeping of the Agency dancers and clients seeking talent,"⁠ she says. ⁠She's also a company member with Moving Spirits Inc., started by Assistant Professor of Dance Tamara Williams. ⁠"My time at Charlotte guided my understanding of motive through a sociological perspective. Art and entertainment inform society of current dispositions and trends, impacting our world while simultaneously being shaped by these occurrences," she says. ⁠


photo of recent graduate holding her cap with flowers on itKellie Joyner, Bachelors in Music Education '21, will be teaching in Mitchell County in NC this fall⁠

"I will be teaching at three separate schools in Mitchell County – teaching General Music at Deyton and Gouge Elementary Schools and band at Harris Middle School," she explains.⁠ Kellie said she is most excited to work on building the band program back up. "Mitchell County was not able to have middle school band for a year due to Covid-19." She says, "Charlotte did an amazing job of preparing us for looking for jobs, interviewing, and taking care of the logistics that go into preparing to run a band program."


headshot of a student with trees behind herEdelweiss Vogel⁠, BA in Art Education '20, is employed with The Brawley IB School

"I got a call from our principal during the last day of my student teaching and was offered a job to teach visual art to grade levels 6-8th in the International Baccalaureate program!" she says. ⁠"I enjoyed teaching students who come from diverse backgrounds," she continues. "The Brawley IB School honors diversity by celebrating important holidays and events of different cultures. The students are engaged, collaborative, and risk-takers. I truly enjoyed the holistic approach of the IB program.⁠"⁠ She says, "UNC Charlotte gave me full support that I needed. Professors and staff communicate effectively. My professors shared their personal experiences when they were starting as new teachers. The program helped me achieve my goal to become an educator!"⁠⁠


standing in front of the yale signAmelia Gates, BA in Architecture '21, is headed to Yale School of Architecture for grad school in the fall

"Within my educational journey of becoming an architect, I strive to play an active role in the development of solutions to our society’s most pressing issues," Amelia says.⁠ "More of the world is beginning to acknowledge the important conversations surrounding⁠ long-standing social inequalities and the pressing consequences brought about by climate change," she continues. "A well-designed project can impact not only the identity of one community but also transcend beyond the demographics for which it was originally envisioned." ⁠Amelia says UNC Charlotte has prepared her in many ways. "I have been able to find opportunities at a local and global scale to grow as a designer through the help of the hardworking professors," she says. ⁠


student with flowers on her grad cap smiling with her eyes closed outsideTori Mitchell, BM in Music Education '21, was hired at Washington Magnet Elementary School in Wake County

"I will be teaching 3-5th grade band, as well as elective music courses of my choosing! I will also be collaborating with orchestra and general music teachers, as well as a huge arts program on projects and arts appreciation projects," Tori explains. She says she is excited to be part of a prolific magnet program that places an emphasis on growing the whole child, not just core standards. "I would not have reached this point without the support and high quality of education I received at UNC Charlotte," she says. "My relationships with faculty have helped me cement my teaching techniques and philosophies!"


headshot of man in glasses sitting on stepsGerson Berrio, BFA Graphic Design '21, was hired as a graphic designer by HDR, Inc. here in Charlotte

"In my new role, I am responsible for creating design deliverables for the company in relation to big architectural and environmental projects at hand," he says. "It is really exciting getting to experience what it is like to be part of a big company, and also experiencing the company’s interest in my personal growth as a designer and seeing them provide resources for my growth," he continues. "I owe a lot of my design knowledge to UNC Charlotte and the amazing design professors. The University helped me grow in professionalism as well, something that is a key part of starting your career." 


woman sitting in stadium chair with neon "Charlotte Football" above herKeira Kinney, BFA in Graphic Design '20, is sticking around UNC Charlotte as the Social Media Manager for UNC Charlotte Football! 

"I’m now currently working for UNC Charlotte Football as their social media manager. I make graphics, run analytics, maintain all social media accounts, create content calendars and strategies, and am one of the primary sports photographers! The Department of Art & Art History helped prepare me by assigning projects that ultimately provided me with the confidence, people skills, and branding knowledge that comes with my position. I owe a huge shoutout to Bobby Campbell as he was instrumental in my growth as a designer. I love my new role here at Charlotte Football because I’m given creative freedom, get to learn and interact with people of all backgrounds, and am able to carry out all of my passions in one position."