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Students Honored with Creative Achievement Awards

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Students Honored for Creative Achievement

Thirteen College of Arts and Architecture students were honored with 2013 Creative Achievement Awards, given by the college in recognition of outstanding achievement during their final year (graduate and undergraduate) of study.


Kathleen Loughran (‘13 B.A. Art History with minors in Business, International Studies and English) is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was on the dean's list for every semester. She was a recipient of the William E. and Julia Nelo Clark Excellence Scholarship in the College of Arts & Architecture. Even while working as a reporter and the campus editor for the Daily Collegian, Loughran managed an impressive list of achievements in art history, including being selected to present a paper at the Bowling Green State University Art History Symposium. As a Schreyer Honors Scholar, Loughran wrote an original and scholarly thesis on the subject of BOMB Magazine—one of the most important (yet relatively under-investigated) avant-garde artistic journals of the late seventies and early eighties.

Lindsay Wells, of Pittsford, N.Y., received three bachelor of arts degrees in 2013: Art History; Classics and Mediterranean Studies; and Medieval Studies. She served as student marshal for both the Department of Art History and the College of the Liberal Arts. Graduating with a cumulative GPA of 4.00, Wells received numerous awards, including the William E. and Julia Nelo Clark Excellence Scholarship in Art History; Ava Faltz-Miller Memorial Scholarship; Judge Benjamin Keller Undergraduate Latin Award; and the Reverend Thomas Bermingham S.J. Scholarship in the Classics. She also received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award (Junior); President Sparks Award; President’s Freshman Award; and a Liberal Arts Undergraduate Enrichment Award. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Lindsay was invited to present her honors thesis research on the American Pre-Raphaelites at the Central Pennsylvania Art History Symposium at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. As an undergraduate, Wells worked as a research assistant in the Penn State Arts and Humanities Library, and held internships at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, the Palmer Museum of Art, and Boydell & Brewer Ltd. in Rochester, N.Y. Outside the classroom, Wells served as the student representative on the Penn State Medieval Studies Committee and performed with Penn State Thespians and No Refund Theatre. She also volunteered weekly with Children’s Literature Circle, a local elementary school reading program she co-founded as a freshman. Wells spent fall 2011 at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, where she studied medieval art and history. She will return to England this fall, to pursue an M.A. in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

Cali Buckley (‘05 B.A. Journalism, ‘10 M.A. Art History), of Pottsville, is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in art history.  She specializes in anatomical representation in the early modern period and its previously unrecognized implication in the contest between academically trained (male) doctors and experientially seasoned (female) midwives for medical control over women’s bodies. The eccentric objects of her study include multi-layered interactive prints, carved ivory manikins with nested, miniature organs, and wax effigies displaying human anatomy. Her undergraduate education was financed largely by competitive, merit-based scholarships in studio art and journalism. Jewelry she designed earned a National Scholastic Art Award and was exhibited for a year at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. In journalism she won a national Randolph Hearst Award for op-ed writing. After graduation, she worked for three years as an editorial assistant with Penn State Press. Buckley has been Penn State’s representative to the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Graduate Symposium on the History of Art. She won the Penn State interdisciplinary Committee for Early Modern Studies Award for best paper delivered by a graduate student at a conference. This April, she presented a paper at the Winterthur Museum’s Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars. Among her most impressive graduate student achievements have been her award of a Molina Fellowship in the History of Medicine for study at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., and the publication of an article, “Johann Remmelin’s Catoptrum Microcosmicum and the End of an Era,” in the Bodleian Library Review published by Oxford University. She has won travel grants to visit major libraries and medical collections in London, Oxford, Chicago, New York, and Durham, N.C., and in June has traveled to Leiden, Netherlands, for further research. 


Matthew Moffitt (‘13 B.L.A.), of Malvern, had summer internships with Nash Omniscaping (Wilmington, DE), Cao-Perrot Studio (Sonoma, CA), and the Philadelphia Water Department (Philadelphia, PA). Studying abroad in Rome, Moffitt’s team for the Piranesi Prix de Rome Design Competition was awarded a first place prize. His entry for the Designing Action Riverfront Competition, “Designed to Flood,” received a People’s Choice Award. Moffitt was a teaching assistant for the Landscape Architecture 322 seminar course while working on his submission for the 2013 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Student Awards. He is spending summer 2013 exploring the west coast. This fall, Moffitt will enter professional practice with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in Cambridge, Mass.      

Nicholas Monroe (‘13 B.L.A.) has a strong interest in design and planning, especially conservation design and the social ecological implications of large-scale development in rural landscapes. Monroe has been the recipient of the Excellence in the Study of Landscape Architecture Award, the Humphrey Repton Creative Writing Award, the College of Arts and Architecture Creative Achievement Award, and the Veronica Burns Lucas Travel Award, which will allow him to travel to Denmark to pursue a research interest.

Trevor Weaver (‘13 M.L.A.), of Perkiomenville, focused his capstone research on discovering barriers and incentives to stream conservation in the Kishacoquillas Valley of Pennsylvania. He contributed to the Department of Landscape Architecture as a teaching assistant in the introductory ecology course and in the introductory design, landscape systems, and planting implementation studios. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA) in 2009. Before starting graduate school, Weaver gained experience as a GIS intern in the Harrisonburg City Public Works Department and in the Harrisonburg City Department of Planning and Community Development. Following these internships he also worked for Scott’s Landscaping in Boalsburg, PA. Weaver plans to continue his research, studying local watershed issues and pursuing employment related to stream conservation and restoration.


Josh Laughner, of Wadsworth, Ohio, recently graduated as the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture student marshal, having earned the highest overall grade-point average in the college. He received a bachelor of music composition in addition to a bachelor of science in chemistry from the Eberly College of Science. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Laughner has been active in both the School of Music and Department of Chemistry. He was a trumpet student of Professor Langston Fitzgerald, as well as a member of the composition studio, studying with Associate Professor Paul Barsom. Laughner has received numerous honors, including the College of Arts and Architecture’s 2012 Golumbic Scholarship Award; the Chemistry Department’s Teas Scholarship; a 3M Summer Research Fellowship in 2012; Pentz Memorial Academic Scholarship; and Evan Pugh Scholar Award. He was a winner in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s 2013 Concerto Competition. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Laughner will continue his education in chemistry, working toward a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. He plans to continue to pursue both performance and composition by connecting with a community orchestra, student ensemble and composition faculty at UC Berkeley.

Maria Arrua Gonzalez (‘13 M.M. Performance), a native of Paraguay, began her musical training at the age of ten at the National Conservatory of Music of Paraguay, during which time she served as the assistant concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra from 2004 until 2007, when she immigrated to the United States. She received a bachelor of music in performance (violin) from Louisiana State University in 2011. Gonzalez’s professional orchestral experience includes playing in the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Paraguay, Symphony Orchestra of the City of Asuncion, and the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra. Gonzalez is a member of the Zeta Iota Chapter of the Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society.

Christopher Orr (‘13 B.M. Performance, ‘13 M.A. Musicology), of New Holland, studied piano with Enrico Elisi and Christopher Guzman as a student in the Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate program, and was a graduate teaching assistant. He was a three-time jury recognition winner for piano performance and also a four-year scholarship awardee for merit-based activities. In summer 2012, he received a $4,000 graduate student summer residency research grant from the Institute for the Arts and Humanities for his thesis research, led by Vincent Benitez. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda.


Darrell (Blake) Stadnik (‘13 B.F.A. Musical Theatre), of Pittsburgh, played major roles in many productions in the School of Theatre, including Tobias in Sweeney Todd, Moth in Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Smee in Peter Pan. This summer he has a contract at the Maine State Music Theatre.

Rebecca Heisler (‘13 B.F.A. Theatre Design and Technology) pursued both the lighting and scenic design emphases. She designed the lighting for shows with both the School of Theatre and Penn State Centre Stage, including The Drowsy Chaperone, RENT, All My Sons, Dog Sees God, Sweeney Todd, Beehive! The Sixties Musical, and Bernstein’s MASS. Heisler was also properties master for Grey Gardens, Frightmare Before Christmas, Grand Hotel, and The All Night Strut. Heisler is spending the summer as an assistant to the lighting designers with the Public Theatre for Shakespeare in the Park in New York City.

Tim Hanson (M.F.A. candidate in musical direction) wrote three arrangements in his first week at Penn State that were used in the President’s Tailgate performances. He was involved in the re-orchestrating of Grand Hotel; wrote numerous piano arrangements for various students; and programmed the keyboards for Kiss Me, Kate. He was solely responsible for reducing the orchestration of Sweeney Todd for three keyboards, which enabled veteran Broadway keyboard programmer Jim Harp to translate the writing into various sound maps. Hanson received a B.M. in composition from Michigan University. He later studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein’s protégé, Michael Tilson Thomas, in San Francisco, and served as the artistic director of a large children’s theatre company.


Annalisa Barron (B.F.A. candidate in drawing and painting) has focused her work on exploring material culture, commodity fetishism, animism, and genetic code. She also studies filmmaking. Her awards include the Edwin W. Zoller Art Scholarship, Award of Excellence in Film Making from the 2013 Canada International Film Festival, and the Margaret Giffen Schoenfelder Memorial Scholarship. In addition to solo and group exhibitions in Pittsburgh and University Park, she participated in exhibitions in New York, Mangua, Nicaragua, and El Minia, Egypt.