Creativity Award Winners
The 39th annual Creativity Awards recognize nine Salem State University students in the class of 2020 for outstanding achievements in their respective disciplines. The distinguished recipients studied dance, music, theatre, creative writing and art + design at Salem State. Each winner was nominated by faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences. Learn more about each award winner below.
Cameron Decas | Dance
Cameron Decas is a graduating senior at Salem State University studying dance and exercise science. He has been a member of the Salem Dance Ensemble and Repertory Dance Theatre throughout his time at Salem State. A Presidential Arts scholar, Cameron performed at the American College Dance Association Conference in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He received a Summer Artistic Development Grant in 2019 that supported the development of his new solo, "Astral Projection," with choreography by Jenna Pollack. He had the privilege of being cast in residencies at Salem State, working with Bill Evans, Nateli Ruiz, Hollis Bartlett, and Jeannette Neil. Cameron has performed with the New Bedford Symphony as well as at The Dance Complex and the Salem Arts Festival in 2018 and 2019. After graduating, Cameron plans to pursue his master’s degree in occupational therapy.
Taleah E. Gilliard | Dance
Taleah E. Gilliard will graduate from Salem State with a bachelor of arts degree in dance with a minor in African American Studies. While at Salem State, she has performed with the Salem Dance Ensemble and has served as lead choreographer for student group Urban Arts Theater and dance club The Spirit Squad. Taleah plans to attend Alvin Ailey’s1-year Independent Study Program in 2020-2021, with a goal of joining the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Company. Dance has been the guiding force of Taleah’s life since the age of two, and her lifetime goal is to perform and tour internationally.
Richard B. Moore, Jr. | Music
Richard B. Moore, Jr. will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in music with a minor in educational studies and a certificate in music technology. He is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Musicianship Award (2016) and has been a Presidential Arts Scholar at Salem State since 2017. Moore received an Artistic Development Grant for his work in audio engineering during the summer of 2019. At this time, he was able to expand his knowledge of recording and audio by working in studios outside of Salem. Moore’s research for his senior capstone focused on music technology in education. After graduation, Moore hopes to pursue his love of audio engineering, management and teaching.
Adam Silvia | Music
Adam Silvia graduates from Salem State with a bachelor of arts in music with a minor in educational studies. During his time at Salem State, Silvia has performed for a variety of ensembles including the University Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Summer Orchestra, and Saxophone Quartet. He has been a Presidential Arts Scholar since 2016. In 2018 Adam received a Summer Artistic Development Grant, which he used to attend Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute saxophone workshop, where he studied with some of the most famous saxophonists in the world, including Kenneth Radnofsky, Jennifer Bill, and Jeremy Brown. After graduation, Adam plans to spend a year performing and teaching and then pursue a master's degree in saxophone performance.
Demi DiCarlo | Theatre
Demi DiCarlo is a senior pursuing her BFA in theatre performance with a minor in Spanish. She will be graduating this May with a cumulative GPA of 3.975. During her time at Salem State, she has been an active member of the Student Theatre Ensemble. She is a member of the Salem State chapter of Phi Sigma Iota, the International Foreign Language Honor Society as well as a recipient of the Presidential Arts Scholarship (2019) and the Charlotte Ettinger Scholarship (2018). Most recently, Demi participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, where she won First Place in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, the VASTA Award for Vocal Excellence, the KCACTF Award for Achievement in Lighting Design, and a one-week internship with the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas. As she prepares for life after graduation, Demi is practicing her auditioning skills (especially self-taping for video auditions) for when theaters can reopen after the pandemic has passed.
Mary Sapp | Theatre
Mary Sapp graduates this spring with a BFA degree in theatre performance. While at Salem State, she has performed in four theatre department productions, three Student Theatre Ensemble productions and one student thesis project. She has been nominated twice for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Award (through the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival), and received The Irene Ryan and Kingsley Colton Scholarship in 2019. Outside of Salem State, Mary has been involved with Intramersive Media LLC as a writer and actor as well as acting with local theatre company, The Bard Brigade. Her plans post-graduate are to settle into life after college, get involved with local theatre companies, and start looking into graduate studies.
Brooke Delp | Creative Writing
Brooke Delp is a writer, lifelong student and mother to two lovely daughters. She began attending Salem State University in 2010 and will graduate (at last!) in May 2020. She is an English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in geology. While at Salem State Brooke served on the poetry board for Soudings East literary magazine and has worked on the online magazine Red Skies. In spring 2020, she represented Salem State at the Boston Intercollegiate Poetry Festival. Brooke is the winner of the English department’s spring 2020 Undergraduate Nonfiction Contest. Brooke hopes to pursue a career in screenwriting, though poetry will always be her first love.
Angelica Schlieff | Creative Writing
Angelica Schlieff is the recipient of various awards during her time at Salem State. She won second place in the Claire Keyes Poetry Prize three years in a row. She was one of 12 undergraduate poets selected from across the commonwealth to participate in the Salem Poetry Seminar (June 2019). Angelica was Salem State’s representative at the 2019 Greater Boston Intercollegiate Poetry Festival. She has read her poetry at various open mics as well as the Salem State Writers Series. Angelica was on the poetry editorial board for the 2020 issue of Salem State’s literary magazine Soundings East. Angelica plans to continue her education by attending an intensive program in Professional Midwifery. She dreams of opening her own homebirth Midwifery practice and to continue creating as a poet and writer.
Morgan Petitpas | Art + Design
Morgan Petitpas is a sculptural artist primarily working in assemblage. Her work explores themes such as sensuality, rebirth, and the unconscious mind through a filter of whimsical mystery. Petitpas believes there is beauty in bizarre, common, and discarded objects and it is her job to extract it. The use of preexisting objects and images allows her work to form gradually and unexpectedly through strings of connections. In addition to the 2020 Creativity Award in art + design, Petitpas is the recipient of the Winfisky Art Award. She presented a solo honors exhibition in Salem State’s Winfisky Gallery in fall 2019.
Clifmon Leroy | Art + Design
Clifmon Leroy, Class of 2022, is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design. He is the recipient of the 4-year Harold T.and Alice M. McCarthy Memorial Scholarship Award and holds a 3.66 GPA. Clifmon served as a volunteer for MassPIRG during the 2018 Fall semester and served as treasurer for the Multicultural Student Association during the 2019-2020 school year. Outside of school, he works on personal art projects and tries to engage in activist spaces. In the summer of 2020, he designed stickers to be sold at a fundraising event for the Black Lives Matter Movement held by the Waltham Black Future Fund. He has previously worked part-time at the Waltham Public Library and is participating in an upcoming event that they are holding this summer as a panelist for a talk about art and activism. After recently participating in the “Virtual Creative Boot Camp” hosted by The One Club, Clifmon was granted a 2021 summer internship with Team One, an advertising agency. The boot camp was specifically for Black students interested in the advertising field. Future plans include pursuing both freelance graphic design and illustration.
Michael Simpson | Art + Design
Michael Simpson is currently in his final year at Salem State University where he is working towards a degree in art and design with a focus in printmaking. During his time at SSU, he has received a Presidential Creativity Award in 2018, as well as Certificates of Excellence in printmaking in 2018 and 2019. He currently has a 3.656 GPA. He is the recipient of the Presidential Arts Scholarship, as well as a Summer Student Artistic Development Grant (2021) from the Center for Creative and Performing Arts. Outside of school he always finds time to create. Michael likes to try new things and finds that he feels unproductive if he does not create regularly. Since the fall of 2020, he has made works in sculpture, mixed media, monoprint, woodworking and drawing. From now until the end of the fall semester in 2021, he is working on a group of relief prints that revolve around unexplained phenomena.
Dylan Deforge | Creative Writing
Dylan Deforge graduated summa cum laude with his BA in English from SSU in fall 2020. He won runner-up in Soundings East's Claire Keyes undergraduate poetry contest in 2020 and has forthcoming work in the anthology Love Letters to Gaia. He also received the Arts Makes A Difference 2020 award for creative writing. His senior thesis — a chapbook titled Muscle Memory — explores mental health, toxic masculinity, and accepting one's sexuality. He is an active member of the Salem Writers Group and virtually performs his poetry for groups like the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He lives with his family in Saugus, MA. Along with writing fiction and poetry, Dylan is a multi-instrumentalist and aspiring songwriter with plans to attend Berklee College of Music.
Kayma Snook | Creative Writing
Kayma Snook graduated through the Honors program in fall 2020 with an English degree from Salem State University. Her freshman year of college she self-published her first poetry collection To Burn to help fund her education. Her creative thesis, a collection of poetry titled Tiny Victories is available for viewing through Salems Honors Program's online archives. She received the Claire Keys poetry award for her piece Anti-Sonnet in 2020 and represented Salem State at this year's Greater Boston Intercollegiate Undergraduate Poetry Festival. She served as the poetry editor for the 2021 issue of Soundings East literary magazine, which will be published in June. Throughout her years at Salem State she hosted the radio show Mademoiselle Madness through WMWM where she curated playlists and read short stories over the air waves. She was also a member of the Spoken Word group within the student organization Urban Arts Theatre where she found inspiration, appreciation and the meaning of community. Kayma's post-undergrad plans include getting more involved in community work, writing for publications and earning money as a bartender to eventually go to graduate school. Outside of writing, she enjoys reading novels and poetry, roller skating, gardening, philosophy and singing.
Abbie White | Dance
Abbie White is a curious dance artist creating work reflective of the world around her. She is a graduating senior receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance with a concentration in hip-hop, a minor in education, and a certificate in dance education. During her time at Salem State, Abbie has been a dancer and choreographer for Salem Dance Ensemble. Abbie has also been a dancer, choreographer, and the Vice President for Repertory Dance Theatre. She has also served as a Dance Program Associate for the 2020-2021 academic year. Abbie was awarded the Presidential Arts Scholarship twice for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years. She was the 2019 recipient of the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts Summer Artistic Development Grant. She used that grant support to attend the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine. Abbie hopes to dance, choreograph, and teach professionally after graduation and would like to thank the Center for Creative and Performing Arts for this honor.
Molly Quinn | Dance
Molly Quinn is a senior at Salem State studying dance and education. Molly is a dancer and choreographer for the Salem Dance Ensemble and Repertory Dance Theatre. She is the current president of RDT, a dance program associate for the dance department, an ambassador in the LEAD office, and a supervisor at the Gassett Fitness Center. Molly is also a two-time recipient of the Presidential Arts Scholarship. When she is not at school, you can find her teaching dance classes at Shield Rosanio’s School of Dance & Gymnastics, Aspire Dance Center and Mini Movers Studio. Post-graduation, Molly plans on continuing to teach with hopes to one day open her own dance and fitness studio.
J Lyons | Music
J Lyons is graduating from Salem State University this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in music as well as minors in Spanish and history. In their studies, they have focused on piano performance under Dr. Sanae Kanda, and tabla, first under Dr. Peter Kvetko, then Aditya Kalyanpur. Lyons has also found much solace in experimental electronic musicwhich they have performed at several events on campus throughout the years, such as the Arts Coffeehouse, Queer Arts Festival, and the Composer’s Performance.
In the last two years of University, they have found a passion for researching music and cultural movements from other parts of the world. With mentor Dr. Peter Kvetko, Lyons links their studies and aims to contribute to meaningful social change by embracing and learning from the voices of international contexts. This semester, J Lyons has worked with their partner Sumaq Ramirez Lopez to interview two rappers from La Paz, Bolivia. J Lyons will combine the biographical information and artistic experiences shared in the interviews with research into the rappers' environments to form a documentary. This is just the first seed of what will become a garden of public archival work.
Annabelle Dionne | Music
Annabelle Dionne will graduate this May, having published her Honors Thesis on the subject of Richard Wagner and German history, with a BA in music and minors in English and history. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has developed a passion for musicology and ethnomusicology while at Salem State. Annabelle plans to continue her education in musicology/ethnomusicology and hopes to teach these subjects at the collegiate level.
In addition to her academic inclinations, she is very involved in performance. She has performed at Carnegie Hall as a participant in the Young Adult Honors Performance Series, and she will be traveling to Berlin this summer for her role as Zweite Knabe in Berlin Opera Academy’s production of Die Zauberflöte. She has also maintained a job as a liturgical singer for seven years, and performed her Senior Recital, Remembering Voices, at Salem State at the end of April.
While at Salem State, Annabelle has been involved in the radio club, serving as president and treasurer, and has participated in Alternative Spring Break trips working with Habitat for Humanity. She has been involved within the music department through her work on the Curriculum Committee, as a Peer Mentor, and as a tutor of various music classes. She is very grateful for her time at Salem State and the encouragement she has received from her professors.
Parker Goodreau | Theatre
Parker Goodreau is a BFA theatre major with a concentration in playwriting and a minor in English. They will be graduating at the end of the 2021 spring semester. During their time at Salem State, they appeared in the theatre department’s staged reading of She Kills Monsters and in Student Theatre Ensemble’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They also took part in the annual Tomorrow’s Playwrights Ten Minute Play Festival, and led the group during their senior year. They were awarded the Presidential Arts Scholarship and were a finalist for the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 1 10-Minute Play Award. Prior to returning to college as a transfer student, they worked as a freelance author and illustrator; they are currently pursuing publication for their debut novel. Their hope is to continue writing and creating, as well as finding opportunities to advocate for other marginalized artists in the worlds of theatre and publishing. Their first full-length play, a historical drama exploring queer life and relationships, will have its world premiere at Salem State next spring.
Christopher Raul Vega
Christopher Raul Vega will graduate from Salem State in spring 2021 with a BFA in theater performance. Chris has been cast in six productions at Salem State: A Freeman of Color, Harvey, Ragtime, Gunplay: A Play About America, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Visit. Chris has worked at various jobs while being a full-time student, in the fields of theatre and food service. He has been a Teaching Artist for three years, working with young people ages 5 to 17, teaching dance classes, introductory theater classes, and improv classes. He is the recipient of the National Irene Ryan Scholarship award in 2019 and a Presidential Arts Scholarship, in 2020. Other awards include the NETC Best Partner award as well as the National Irene Ryan Best Partner Award in 2020. He was the recipient of the Salem State Irene Ryan Scholarship in 2020. Chris cannot wait to see what the future holds as he auditions for future opportunities and shares his journey and craft with the world!
The Center for Creative and Performing Arts thanks the following individuals and departments for their commitment to the arts at Salem State University.
President John Keenan
Provost and Academic Vice President David Silva
Dean Gail Gasparich, College of Arts and Sciences
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Cheryl Crounse and her team
Campus Covid Team Leaders – Associate Dean, Elisa Castillo and Associate Vice President Gene Labonte (SO much thanks)
CCPA faculty coordinators: Kevin Carey (creative writing), Mary-Jo Grenfell (music), Betsy Miller (dance), and Ken Reker (art +design)
Department chairs: Gretchen Sinnet (art + design), Jerry L. Johnson (theatre), J.D. Scrimgeour (English), Peter Kvetko (music and dance)
Faculty and staff in the art + design, English, music and dance, and theatre departments with special thanks to Donna Folino (art + design), Malynda Sykes (music and dance) and Ashley Preston O’Toole, Stu Grieve and Tim O’Toole (theatre)
CCPA project manager Angelina Benitez and student assistants Justin Hatch and Hunter Mountz.
The parents, friends and all the fellow travelers who support our student artists.
Arts Make A Difference logo
Maria Mziotti Gillan | 2022 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award
Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers and the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us (Guernica Editions).
She has published more than twenty books of and about poetry and has edited four anthologies. Her most recent book is When the Stars Were Still Visible (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2021) Her poetry and photography collaboration with Mark Hillringhouse, Paterson Light and Shadow (Serving House Books) was published in 2017. The poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter was published by NYQ Books in 2016. Her collection of poems, along with some of her paintings, is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (Consortium). Other recent publications are Ancestors' Song (Bordighera Press), Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories (MiroLand, Guernica) and the bi-lingual poetry collection, In a Place of Flowers & Light (poems in English & Italian with a preface by Elisabetta Marino, edited by Osvaldo Marrocco (San Mauro and Mia Mama).
Maria is co-editor with her daughter Jennifer of four anthologies: Unsettling America, Identity Lessons, and Growing Up Ethnic in America (Penguin/Putnam), Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American (Penguin) and Italian-American Writers on New Jersey (Rutgers). Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The New York Times, Poetry Ireland, Connecticut Review, The Los Angeles Review, The Christian Science Monitor, LIPS, and Rattle, and numerous other journals and anthologies.
Maria won the 2008 Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Endeavor from Binghamton University, the 2008 Sheila Motton Award, Primo Nazionale Belmoro, the First Annual John Fante and Pietro di Donato Award, the Aniello Lauri Award, the May Sarton Award, the Fearing Houghton Award, New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, and the American Literary Translators Association Award through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She received the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Literary Outreach and The Dare to Imagine Award from Very Special Arts.
Peter Schumann | 2022 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award
German-born American puppeteer, founder and director of Bread and Puppet Theater, Peter Schumann was introduced to puppetry and avant-garde theatre from an early age. His family experienced the dislocation and trauma of refugees during World War II. Puppeteer Max Jacob was a family friend. During Schumann’s early years as an artist in post-war Germany he sculpted and danced; Merce Cunningham and John Cage were major influences. In 1961, Peter and his American-born wife Elka Schumann came to the United States. They quickly became immersed in the avant-garde arts scene in New York City. Schumann’s skills and interest in dance and sculpture were combined in puppetry, and his bread baking and distribution articulated a utilitarian function of art practice synthesized with daily life.
Peter Schumann founded Bread and Puppet Theater in the Lower East Side of New York in 1963. Schumann’s giant puppets, which became the signature of Bread and Puppet, first appeared in 1965 at political street parades in New York City and increasingly as part of the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 1968, Bread and Puppet presented Fire, an understated yet hard-hitting indoor piece about the Vietnam War, to critical acclaim at the Nancy Theatre Festival in France. This launched the theater into international prominence and helped secure over a decade of seasonal touring in Europe and beyond.
Schumann had come to the United States informed in part by the European avant-garde, but his experimental sensibility was combined with much older forms and traditions: medieval passion plays, the Bible, fairy tales and other folkloric traditions of story- telling. Bread and Puppet was also set apart by its economic independence. Guided by a philosophy of living and working within the means available, the Bread and Puppet aesthetic was inextricable from the papier-mâché, burlap, twine, and staples, which made up and held the puppets and the shows together.
In 1970, Peter and Elka Schumann and their family relocated Bread and Puppet to Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, where they worked as a theatre-in-residence on a farm. Inspired by the Vermont countryside, Schumann began to create giant outdoor spectacles of pageantry, sideshows, and circus acts, which he called Our Domestic Resurrection Circus. In 1974, the Schumanns moved Bread and Puppet Theater to a farm in Glover, Vermont, which became the home of the annual Domestic Resurrection Circus until 1998. With the puppeteers of his Glover company, Schumann also created dozens of significant works performed in the Americas, Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
Hundreds of puppeteers and puppet companies have been inspired by their work with Peter Schumann.
Peter Schumann has been awarded Holland’s Erasmus Prize (1978) and the Puppeteers of America President’s Award (1979). He is a UNIMA Member of Honour (1996). Schumann is the author of numerous articles, manifestos, and books, including “The Radicality of the Puppet Theater” (1991) and “What, At the End of This Century, Is the Situation of Puppets and Performing Objects?” (2001). The Bread and Puppet Press, created by Elka Schumann, has printed hundreds of books, posters, pamphlets, and calendars.
Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater is recognized as a major force in contemporary world theatre. His pageants with giant puppets and masks presented in the streets of New York City and the hills of Vermont created a radical redefinition of performance as a conscious response to the challenges and inspirations of contemporary life.
Erin Melin | Art + Design
Erin Melin will be graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her major is art + design with a concentration in graphic design, and a minor in advertising. She is a Commonwealth Honors Program Student, a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and has a 4.0 GPA.
While at Salem State, Erin has enjoyed participating in the International Peer Mentor program, Best Buddies club, and attending Salem State art + design open houses as a student panelist to share her experiences and offer advice to incoming students.
In addition to her involvement on campus, she is honored to have received a number of awards from the art + design department including a certificate of excellence in art history, two certificates of excellence in graphic design, and two certificates of merit. Erin is also incredibly grateful to have received the Summer Artistic Development Grant, as well as an Honors Program Research Grant that have both helped fund her honors in art thesis project over the past year. In addition, Erin is thankful for scholarships she received that recognize her academics, artistry, and community involvement.
Outside of Salem State, Erin has enjoyed pursuing creative opportunities as a freelance artist. Currently, she is helping a client with branding for his small business that he will be promoting at the Salem Flea Market. She has also completed a design internship at Curriculum Associates, exhibited some of her work in local shows, and continues to volunteer with the Best Buddies program and Challenger Sports Program in Peabody.
After graduation, she hopes to work at a creative agency or as an in-house designer. Eventually, Erin may pursue an MFA. Wherever her path takes her, she is looking forward to her future and feels prepared because of her supportive Salem State art + design education.
Sam Stickney | Art + Design
Sam Stickney is a triple concentrator in Art History, Printmaking, and French, with a Certification in Translation. This May, she will be graduating as a member of Phi Sigma Iota and Phi Kappa Phi and will be receiving Summa cum laude with a 3.959 GPA. While attending school, she has been consistently employed and has gained experience as a receptionist, tutor, mentor, supplemental instructor, art teacher, and museum intern. Sam is the president of the French Club, secretary of the Honors Program Advisory Council, and a member of the Commonwealth Honors Program. In her free time, she works on her two theses, “French Canadian Folktales” and “Les femmes oubliées de l'impressionnisme français.”
Sam has received several awards and scholarships during their time at Salem State and will officially graduate having received the Walsh Family Award Recipient: (2019 - 2022), Kim Gassett-Schiller ’83 Tutoring Scholarship: 2020 - 2022, Dr. Mary A. Bradley Scholarship (2020 - 2022), and the Presidential Arts Scholarship (2018 - 2022). Additionally, in the art + design department, Sam has been awarded the 2021 Summer Artistic Development Grant, Certificate of Excellence - Printmaking Award 2019 - 2020, Certificate of Excellence - Art History Award 2020 - 2021, and the Presidential Creativity, Printmaking, and Certificate of Merit Award
Amanda Edmunds | Dance
Amanda Edmunds is graduating from Salem State University in spring of 2022 with a BA in dance, and a minor in educational studies. In her time here on campus she has choreographed and performed in numerous Salem Dance Ensemble and Repertory Dance Theater concerts. She has been awarded the Meghan Noel Scholarship for Dance twice and now is a recipient of the Creativity Award in Dance. Amanda is currently a preschool teacher in Reading MA, while also teaching her students dance along the way. After graduation Amanda plans to continue her teaching of academics and dance while taking on dance opportunities of her own. She plans on auditioning for dance companies and taking masterclasses with various artists. She appreciates making connections and is eager to learn and be inspired from dancers everywhere. Amanda eventually plans to open her own dance studio to share her passion with the youth.
Abriana McCollim | Dance
Abriana McCollim is an outgoing mover from Massachusetts. Abri majors in dance, minors in psychology, and concentrates in Hip-Hop. She works as a Dance Program Assistant, for the Salem State music and dance department. She is also Treasurer for the student-run group Repertory Dance Theatre. She has received the Presidential Arts Scholarship twice at Salem State. Abriana has learned from many artists such as Tony Tucker, Cait Deferrari Grayson, Wendy O'byrne, Betsy Miller, JoJo Caidor, and Meghan McLyman. After college, she aspires to get her master's degree in Dance Movement Therapy and go into the therapeutic and holistic side of movement. When not in the studio, she enjoys being with family and friends, hiking, and camping.
Joseph Bova | Creative Writing
Joseph Bova is a writer and junior student studying creative writing at Salem State University, class of 2023. He is a founding leader of the SSU Writers’ Group, as well as the Co-Vice President for Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. Joseph has received the Richard L. Elia Endowed Scholarship for special interest in literary study in 2021. He is the Poetry Editor for SSU’s Red Skies Magazine. Joseph also works as the student office aide in the English Department here at Salem. He has published several pieces in Salem State’s Red Skies Magazine, as well as read at several poetry readings. Joseph is in the honors program and has been named to the Dean’s List several times over the course of his time at SSU. He is also an inductee of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. He is currently starting work on his thesis project advised by Professor Tanya Rodrigue, which will be a short fantasy audio drama series.
Mae Fraser | Creative Writing
Mae Fraser is an English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in history set to graduate in Fall 2022. During her time at Salem State, she has been involved as part of the executive board in a number of groups, including The Alliance, the SSU Writers Group, and Sigma Tau Delta. She also serves as Social Media Editor for SSU’s literary magazine, Soundings East, and for Under the Madness, a New Hampshire based teen literary magazine. She is a member of both Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society. Mae has volunteered with events and organizations like the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, the North Country Young Writers Festival, and the New Hampshire Renaissance Faire. Outside of academics and other volunteer work, she works for a UK-based magazine called Prose Before, writing articles about literature, free lances as a designer of promotional and social media material for local writers, and writes book reviews on her own blog called Maeflower Reads. She has had the honor of being published in anthologies and journals, including COVID Spring II from Hobblebush Books and issue #6 of Molecule: A Tiny Lit Mag, among others. Her poem “Vanilla-elle” was also picked for Honorable Mention in The Lyric College Poetry Contest 2021. After graduating from Salem State, she plans to go on to graduate school for writing, get her PhD, and hopefully publish chapbooks, collections, and individual pieces of poetry, work in publishing, and teach.
Jackson Briggs | Music
Jackson Briggs is a senior, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in music with a double minor in educational studies and theatre. He expects to graduate in 2022.
For the first few years of his life, he was deaf. This got in the way of many things, but it never got in the way of his music, which he experienced based on the vibrations he felt. As a kid, he owned a toy piano. He tried his hardest to feel the vibrations from the keys. Yet he barely felt anything. So, to fix this, he put a bucket on his head and sang what he felt. He would do this until his hearing was fixed. Eventually, he came to love the choral programs offered in school. These experiences allowed him to perform at the MMEA All-State Conference in Symphony Hall. Briggs is continuing to develop his skills with Salem State’s Chamber Singers and University Chorus under the direction of Lynn Shane. He has had the opportunity to work with vocal coaches Holly Zagaria and Frank Campofelice.
Briggs is also a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. During his time at Salem State, he learned how to play the violin, piano, saxophone, trumpet, euphonium, and electric bass. Recently, he played Violin II for the SSU Summer Orchestra. This enthusiasm has inspired him to compose pop songs, orchestral pieces, and piano compositions. He currently serves as the Concert Manager and the Facilities and Equipment Assistant for the music department at Salem State.
Andrea Gonçalves Whyte | Music
Andrea Gonçalves Whyte is a student at Salem State University, pursuing a music major and psychology minor. She received the Presidential Arts Scholarship from 2020-2022 and expects to graduate this year in May.
She has been passionate about music ever since she was very young. She plays several instruments including trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, piano, and bass guitar. Her primary instruments are voice and piano. She has taken piano lessons for about 8 years, was the music director at her church for 2 years and participates at her church by playing in the band and singing in the worship team. She has sung in and conducted/directed the church choir. She also sings soprano in a vocal group called Sonora.
Ms. Whyte works on composing new music and writing new arrangements. She enjoys making standard SATB choir arrangements and likes to make piano and voice arrangements. She arranges orchestral pieces as well.
She has worked teaching music to students ages 5-12 at a program called Building Bridges through music. She wants to work with children who have autism and other developmental disorders. Her dream goal is to be a music therapist. She is incredibly passionate about educating and inspiring others.
Isaac Goldbaum | Theatre
Isaac Goldbaum is a senior graduating with his BFA in scenic design alongside his fellow classmates of 2022. While at Salem State University he has been heavily involved in the theatre department where he has worked alongside many members of the faculty as an assistant as well as been the lead scenic designer for mainstage productions. He has also been a part of the Student Theatre Ensemble for the past 4 years as a member of multiple design teams for his peers. Between both theatre groups, he has worked on seventeen shows presented on the main stage, senior thesis productions, and pieces put on by STE. Isaac is also the recipient of the Presidential Arts Scholarship and has been nominated for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for the past 3 years. Going forward Isaac is working for Focus Drawn design company and freelancing in the greater Boston area where he will continue to work on theatre and design. Between multiple shows a semester he enjoys drawing, painting, walking on the beach, watching movies, attending local productions, and continuing to design in his free time. He is thrilled to accept this award and would like to thank his family, faculty, and peers for a wonderful 4 years!
Symphony Shea | Theatre
Symphony Shea is a BFA theatre performance major graduating Spring 2022 with a GPA of 3.9. They have received the Presidential Arts Scholarship 2 years in a row and have been a two-time Irene Ryan Nominee at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Throughout their 4 years at SSU, they have been part of six department productions in an acting role. They also have costume designed the directing thesis: Rabbit Hole (2021) and wrote the original full-length play that was fully realized through the Student Theatre Ensemble: Going to Adultown (2022). Symphony works with middle and elementary schoolers during their breaks from school and is excited to continue to explore the magic of live theatre after graduation.