Elizabeth Brady is an Associate Teaching Professor in CAS where she teaches Public Speaking and enjoys a dual appointment with Penn State’s Global Programs as a Public Relations Consultant. After the sudden death of her son, Mack, in 2012, Elizabeth began research, writing, and participating in life after the death of a child. She is a contributing author to OpentoHope.com where she writes essays on child loss and serves on the board of the Tides program, a local organization that supports bereaved children.
Ali is the author of Where Hope Lives, a debut memoir that tells the story of Ali’s entry into the adrenaline-fueled world of firefighting, within which she reflects on the fire storm of opposition to her gender and competence that took place in a small Pennsylvania town. Today, Ali is a firefighter, emergency medical technician, a self-published author, a business owner, an inspirational speaker, a mental health advocate, a suicide prevention instructor, a domestic violence and sexual assault counselor, and a sexual assault and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder survivor. Cultivating her voice after experiencing trauma has given Ali the opportunity to let people battling their own trauma find their voice too.
In 2012, Ali founded Hope Lives Publishing, a company that she created with goal of offering grounded and passionate authors a platform to bring their stories to the page. Additionally, Ali facilitates the Where Hope Lives Empowerment Workshops, a four-part interactive program that is designed to cover different topics including mental health education, overcoming obstacles, self-advocacy, and the importance of seeking help if it’s needed. Ali has presented to numerous conferences and organizations on topics including PTSD, post-traumatic growth, empowerment and resilience, social justice, gender equality, rape culture, mental health, suicide prevention, entrepreneurship, and self-publishing. Ali also runs an active blog at aliwarrenhope.tumblr.com.
Rick is the Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (CPFA). He joined the paid staff of the CPFA as its Director of Visual Arts in 1999, though his involvement with the Festival dates back to 1984, when he first volunteered on the trash crew. Rick was named Executive Director of the CPFA in 2005.
Rick earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture in 1979. In 1896, he earned a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation, and in 2013, he completed the Pennsylvania Rural-Urban Leadership Program.
In addition to serving as a long-time Festival volunteer, Rick has volunteered for many community organizations. He has served on the board of the Art Alliance of Central PA, the State College Board of Health, the Board of Deacons at State College Presbyterian Church, the Community Advisory Board for Penn State’s Center for Performing Arts, the State College Historic Resources Commission, and the State College Historic and Architectural Review Board. He also runs an active blog site called The Wandering Wahoo.
Nickie is a creative writer who grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She was educated in Finance and Economics and has worked in a variety of sales positions. She is the author of the fiction novel The Poet: Book One in the Forest of Fontainebleau Series and currently resides in Happy Valley.
Dylan Rush is a current graduate student at Kutztown University pursing a MFA in Graphic Design and Illustration. In addition to his studies, Dylan works full time in State College at Jostens Yearbook Company where he designs yearbook covers for schools across the United States and Canada. As a graphic designer, strong communication skills are important when dealing with clients and schools because one is typically working against the clock with no time to waste on poor communication and misunderstanding.
While written and verbal communication skills are extremely important, graphic designers must also communicate in another way: visually. They need to be aware of the different techniques and tricks (resources) available to them and be able to skillfully use those to communicate a message or emotion in a just a few seconds. Dylan recalls a situation when he was designing a Facebook banner to advertise for an upcoming live comedy improvisation show, and the only visual elements that the client wanted on the poster were the words “Coming this spring . . .”, a photo of a microphone in the background, and the company’s logo. Dylan needed to rework her idea because in its initial state, it was communicating a misleading message: that a microphone sponsored by her company would be in the area in the warmer months. Of course, that was not the message that she was trying to convey.
Dylan has found that it is important for clients to tell him exactly what they are looking for so that he can execute the project to their standards. Further, Dylan has learned that transparency is especially key in his relationship with clients; he feels that he must always express to his clients what he can and cannot do so that they trust him while he works.