In Awards and Achievements, Faculty and Staff

Each August, BYU hosts a University Conference where faculty and staff are recognized for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the BYU community. (BYU Photo)

Seven faculty members from the College of Fine Arts and Communications were recognized — four with university awards and three with college awards

Several faculty members from the College of Fine Arts and Communications were recognized during BYU’s 2019 annual University Conference for their outstanding accomplishments and service.

Kelly Loosli, Claudine Bigelow, Daniel Everett and Kori Wakamatsu received university faculty awards. Stephanie Breinholt, Daniel Barney and Nathan Balser were presented with college awards.

University awards were announced at the opening session of University Conference on Monday, August 26. College awards were presented by associate dean Amy Jensen and dean Ed Adams during the college meeting on Wednesday, August 28.

University Awards

Kelly Loosli | Department of Theatre and Media Arts | Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award

Loosli, a professor of animation, was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award. This award highlights the masterful teaching accomplishments of faculty members at BYU. 

Loosli has had a passion for media arts since a teenager working as a clay animator for television commercials. While an undergraduate at BYU, Loosli won a Student Emmy for a claymation film. After his time at BYU, Loosli went on to work on major productions, including DreamWorks Feature Animation films “Shrek” and “Spirit.”

Over the past 12 years, Loosli has dedicated himself to growing and expanding the BYU animation program into the nationally recognized program it is today. He teaches animation, storyboarding and screenwriting.

Claudine Bigelow | School of Music | Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award

Bigelow, head of viola studies and chamber music coordinator, was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award. This award — given by the Karl G. Maeser Scholarship Society — honors faculty members for exceptional research and creative accomplishments.

As an avid recitalist, Bigelow continues to perform locally and nationally throughout the year, including performing at the Grand Teton Music Festival each year. She has played with the National and Utah Symphonies, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. 

Bigelow was chosen to be a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2012 and served as artist-in-residence at the Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music in Wellington.

Daniel Everett | Department of Art | Young Scholar Award

Everett, a professor of art, was awarded the Young Scholar Award. This award acknowledges faculty members who demonstrate immense potential and achievement in the early stages of their university careers.

Currently, Everett serves as the LEP Coordinator for the Department of Art and oversees its BFA program. At BYU, he teaches new genre, photography and advanced studio courses. Everett specializes in many forms of media, including photography, video and installation. 

A solo exhibition by Everett has been featured in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. His work has been displayed in more than 90 exhibitions in 16 countries throughout North America and Europe. 

Kori Wakamatsu | Department of Dance | Joseph E. White Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship

Wakamatsu, the contemporary dance program coordinator, was awarded the Joseph E. White Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship. Fellowships acknowledge the time and effort sacrificed by “the university’s support services in providing a transfer of positions and budget to enhance teaching and learning.”

As contemporary dance program coordinator, Wakamatsu oversees dance education within the Department of Dance. Prior to teaching at BYU, she taught dance at public middle and high schools in Utah. Wakamatsu has collaborated on projects including “The Thought of You” animation, “The Nightingale” play, “Dance Engine” and “On Site” mobile dance series.

College Awards

Stephanie Breinholt | Department of Theatre and Media Arts | Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Work

Brienholt, the BFA acting area head, was awarded the Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Work during the college awards portion of University Conference. 

“Stephanie is continually involved in creative work in a mixture of directing and acting,” said associate dean Amy Jensen. “She is uncommonly adept at helping students accomplish great things; she has proved herself to be a professor who is helpful and caring.”

As a nationally recognized director and award-winning educator, Brienholt helps students in the Department of Theatre and Media Arts prepare for a successful career in the theatre world. In addition to teaching, she is a professional actor, voice over artist, voice and dialect coach and designer. Brienholt is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association. 

Daniel Barney | Department of Art | Excellence in Teaching

Barney, a professor of art, was awarded the Excellence in Teaching for his accomplishments as a teacher and educator. Barney currently teaches classes in curriculum development and theory and methods in contemporary art.

“Daniel is continuously described as being rigorous, current, inspirational and concerned for his students,” said Jensen.

In addition to his time in the classroom at BYU, Barney serves as the assistant editor of “Journal of Social Theory in Art Education” and associate editor of “Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.” He also participates in the review boards of several key research journals. Barney has co-edited the book “Arts Education and Literacies” and has authored articles for various art journals and publications. 

Nathan Balser | Department of Dance | Excellence in Citizenship

Balser, a professor of dance, was awarded the Excellence in Citizenship, recognizing his service on several department committees and as associate chair in the Department of Dance.

“His wisdom and insight is relied upon, along with his unique ability to bring people to a consensus,” said Jensen. “His colleagues describe him as understanding, peacemaking, generous, collegial and collaborative. He is an engaged artist who seeks opportunities to serve and advocate for the art of dance.” 

Balser teaches contemporary dance and musical theatre dance techniques and theories. During his time as a BYU professor, Balser has choreographed for The Young Ambassadors and Contemporary Dance Theater, as well as BYU productions of “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Wonderland.” He has also choreographed multiple productions at Sundance Summer Theatre and Hale Center Theatre.  

Prior to coming to BYU, Balser performed on Broadway, toured nationally and appeared on Tony Award programs and Kennedy Center Honors programs on CBS. He is a consultant at Utah Conservatory of the Performing Arts (COPA) and is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA).

College Staff and Administrative Employee Recognition (SAERA) Award

Bridget Benton | Dean’s Office

Francie Jenson | Dean’s Office

Melinda Semadeni | Dean’s Office

Becca Weidner | Advisement Center

New Faculty and Staff

Kitsa Behringer | Museum of Art | Museum Educator

Jason Cassel | Music | Piano Technician

Ty Davis | Dean’s Office | Creative Services Manager, BYU Arts Marketing

Adam Dyer | Dance | Assistant Professor

Eliza Tanner Hawkins | Communications | Visiting Faculty

Desiree Gonzalez-Miller | Music | Visiting Instructor

Tony Gunn | Theatre and Media Arts | Visiting Assistant Professor 

Devin Knighton | Communications | Assistant Teaching Professor

Korianne Orton Johnson | Music | Assistant Teaching Professor

Brian Smith | Communications | Associate Professor

Jamie Kalama Wood | Dance | Assistant Teaching Professor

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