Alum joins Pittsburgh firm

Sydney Bennett, Graphic Design '15, recently joined ThoughtForm, a communication design firm in Pittsburgh, PA. Click here to read about ThoughtForm.

Karissa Martin

WLU Theater graduate Karissa Martin ('12) recently appeared in "a brand new, country jukebox musical" called Ticket to Nashville at the Capitol Theater in Wheeling. Martin starred alongside industry veterans like Terry Kiser ("Bernie" from Weekend at Bernie's)....

Matt Myles Gives Back

Matt Myles, Graphic Design '13, is the founder and owner of Chiselbox, a branding agency located in Wheeling. Matt recently partnered with the City of Wheeling to design a series of banners that are helping to beautify and provide residents and visitors with location...

Haizlett Heads to Charleston

Rosalie Haizlett (Graphic Design '16) who recently completed the inaugural Emerging Artist Fellowship with the Tamarack Foundation is now working with the WV Food and Farm Coalition to tell the stories of local farmers, foodshed workers, etc. through design,...

Hilltop Players garner National Recognition

(Story courtesy of Maureen Zambito) West Liberty University’s theatre program received top honors recently when it was nationally recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), in Washington, D.C. The WLU team picked up a total of five...

New Position for Music grad

Lara Cline (nee Wilhelm, pictured with husband Alan Cline, also a WL grad) accepted the position of Band Director at Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Ohio beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Mrs. Cline comes back to the Ohio Valley following a few years in New...

Alum joins Music Faculty as Choir Director

Ryan Keeling graduated from WLU in 2008 with a Music Education degree. He has since earned a Masters in Choral Conducting from East Carolina University and is finishing his Doctorate in Conducting from West Virginia University. Keeling will oversee all choir activity...

Graphic Design Students win National Competition

Megan Sayre and Isabella Pozell were recently named the top two winners in the annual Poster Design Contest for Megan Sayre's poster "Drops of Hazing" took 1st place and Isabella Pozell's poster took 2nd place. Sayre and Pozell are Visual...


IMG_5127Ryan Keeling graduated from West Liberty in 2009 with a degree in Choral Music Education. We congratulate him on his recent appointment to the position of Assistant Conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh ( In addition, Ryan is also Artistic Director of Voces Solis (, Assistant Director of Music and Worship Life at Christ United Methodist Church (, Director of the Pappert Men’s Chorale at Duquesne University, and Music Director of OvreArts (

lara-and-dogCongratulations to WLU Music alum Lara Wilhelm who recently became a full-time music teacher at the Rochester Academy Charter School in New York State. She will be teaching chorus, world drumming, and general music classes.

bethanyfCongratulations to WLU Music alum Bethany Fernbaugh (née Snyder) who was recently awarded “Teacher of the Year” honors for Hancock County, WV. Ms. Fernbaugh, a Brooke High School graduate, is the General Music and Choir Director at Oak Glen Middle School. She graduated from West Liberty in 2009 with a Music Education degree and then went on to earn a Masters in Music Education from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in 2014. Her Masters study was focused on the Kodály Method – a music education pedagogy developed by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály in the 1930s and 40s.

Emily_cropped1Emily Jessee, class of 2017, is a graphic design major. Emily was recently hired as a summer intern for Summer 2016, at River City Graphics in Virginia Beach, VA. The work she will be doing includes local business branding, wedding stationery, digital color press, offset printing, and letterpress. River City Graphics has been serving the Virginia Beach area since 1999, and is located only a few blocks from the ocean front.

alanclineAlan Cline graduated from West Liberty in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. He recently graduated with a Master of Music degree from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

matthiasdotsonCongratulations to Michael Matthias Dotson, a 2013 West Liberty Music graduate, who was recently selected to be a Young Artist Intern with the Pittsburgh Opera Theater. Matthias will be performing in several productions and as a member of the choir during the upcoming summer season. For more information about the Pittsburgh Opera Theater Young Artist programs, visit their website:

blummyAndy Blum, a 2010 graduate of West Liberty, works at TSG Studios in Wheeling as an audio and video engineer/producer. Andy studied Music Technology at West Liberty before heading down to Middle Tennessee State University for the MFA in Recording Arts and Technologies.

Cory_VollCory Voll, graphic design, class of 2015, was selected as a finalist in the 35th annual Nikon and Photographer’s Forum: Best of College & High School Photography contest. Original photographs submitted by the finalists will be featured in a book published in February, 2015.

jaketrifonoffWhile a student at West Liberty, Jaccob Trifonoff (Theater, 2014) was selected as a finalist in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) “Directing Initiative” program through the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Jake participated at the national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in April 2014. He was active as an actor, director, and technical director while at WLU and is currently working as a set designer at the Lincoln Park School for the Creative Arts.

jonbishopJon Bishop (Graphic Design, 2013) works at Squirrels, a software development company. He works in the creative department as a graphic designer and he handles web advertisements, illustrations, animations, print materials, trade show materials, and booth designs. He is also a part of the Squirrels marketing team, where he helps with copy writing and producing company videos. View a sample of Jon’s work on a video here:

pelicano-magazineMiranda Pelicano, senior graphic design major, completed an internship with USA Today this past summer and her illustrations were recently published with the stories “Clicking to Love” and “Heart Smart”.

jaredthompsonJared Thompson graduated from West Liberty in 2011 and was immediately hired back as a full-time television producer for WLTV. Recently, his work was featured on CNBCs SquawkBox.

loganjosephsmithLogan Joseph Smith graduated in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Communications. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Entertainment Industry Management at the H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon University.

rosaliehaizlettCongratulations to Graphic Design major Rosalie Haizlett (class of 2016) on being named one of two Emerging Artist Fellows by the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts of West Virginia. This is the first year of the Emerging Artist Fellowship Program and its purpose is to support artists who are just beginning their careers by providing mentorship and professional development opportunities. According their website: “Emerging Artist Fellows are thriving early-career creatives. They demonstrate not only a superior level of mastery in their craft, but also the aptitude to become successful professionals leading well-managed creative enterprises.” Her website is

michaelryanhallMichael Ryan Hall, senior Graphic Design student, completed an internship this summer 2016 at Just A Jar Design Press,, located in Marietta, Ohio. Ryan learned all of the steps involved in printing on an old 1880’s printing press, as well as a woodcut poster printing press. This involved hand setting lead type, blocking it in to be printed and inking up the press. He also learned how to accurately line up all the layers of the print, one of the hardest steps in the process. After printing for a few months, he finally got to learn how to create his own woodcuts. Eventually, Ryan was able to print his own four-layer poster design by first creating the image, then carving the wood, mixing the ink to get specific colors and printing the poster.

andygrindle (1)For the last five summers, senior music education major Andy Grindle has been a teacher on the Brass Faculty of the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps, a non-profit music organization based in Casper, Wyoming. He spent the summer of 2016 working with eighty brass instrumentalists as they completed a two month tour, which took place in thirty different cities across the United States. Andy’s work with the Troopers, though musical, is primarily rooted in the activity’s ability to create lifelong memories and develop life skills to help them be successful as they enter the world in their own discipline. Andy is a member of the trumpet studio of Dr. Matthew Inkster, Director of Instrumental Activities at WLU.

alisonraesloanCurrent Graphic Design major Alison Rae Sloan created the winning design for the 2016 Right Whale Festival poster design contest. The festival is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The design will be used for posters, t-shirts, brochures, ads, and kid’s passports program. Her design will appear throughout Florida and Georgia in October 2016.

zachgroves3Zach Groves, a 2009 graduate of West Liberty, is the band director at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise, Arizona. In 2014, Groves brought his marching band to Washington, DC to march in the National Independence Day Parade.

maggiedillonDuring her undergraduate studies, Maggie P. Dillon was a regular on the Kelly Theater stage, and advanced to two appearances in the finals of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Irene Ryan competition. As a sophomore at WLU, she was invited to study at the prestigious Stella Adler Studio’s “Summer Intensive” training program. At the 2015 Southeast Theatre Conference, she was offered, and subsequently accepted, a position with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.

marshall-behanceMarshall Lambert is a 2007 graduate of West Liberty and has since completed an MFA degree in Graphic Design from Boston University. She is currently Designer in Residence at Harvard University’s metaLab, a research and teaching unit dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities. Marshall is a curious designer with an investigative body of work. She has passion for color, smells, culture, the real and the surreal, the known and the unknown. She believes in exploring and improvising with both digital and analogue technologies and believes that design should be a great, unexpected experience.

samanthagretchenSamantha Gretchen is a 2013 graduate of the Broadcast Journalism program at West Liberty. She is a second-generation Broadcast Journalist following in her mother, Theresa’s, footsteps. “Sam” took an internship with WTRF in the fall of 2013, and was hired shortly after as the morning show producer. While at West Liberty, Samantha won 1st place at the 2013 MAD Festival for a documentary entry tilted, “Racing to Conclusions”.

timmiwilliamsTimmi Williams graduated in 2014 with a degree in Vocal Performance. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Voice from Penn State University where she is a graduate assistant in the Voice studio.

Josh GarrettJoshua Garrett graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance. He is in high demand as a performer, educator and composer/arranger throughout the country and has his original steel drum ensemble compositions published by One of his pieces, “Very Much (A Lot)” was performed by the PASIC All-Star Steel Band at the 2012 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Austin, Texas. Joshua is currently a staff musician (drum set) on Carnival Cruise Lines.

ianbeaboutinstudioIan Beabout is a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major focusing on Music and Public Relations. He broadcasts his own progressive rock internet radio show, “Prog Rock Deep Cuts with Ian Beabout”, and has produced 54 3-hour shows since starting in early 2013. “Prog Rock Deep Cuts” airs Thursdays from 7-10 PM EST on and his archived shows are available for streaming via He recently had an article published in a well-known progressive rock blog: Art Rock Tendencies.

revelsJosh Revels, Newscast Director at WPXI Pittsburgh, was just nominated for an Emmy Award! The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences nominated Josh for his direction in the “Outstanding Newscast – Morning” category. Josh graduated with a Broadcast Communications degree from West Liberty in 2010. Josh also stays active as a musician, performing with the bands Nineteen and Chaos Killed.
revels-emmy-nom (1)

ryanwolfeOver the summer, senior Music Education major Ryan Wolf ran the fifth annual summer Brass Camp, a performance-based brass workshop for elementary, middle, and high school students. The camp, which took place in Bridgeville, PA, attracted over seventy students from the Pittsburgh area. One of the many missions of the Brass Camp is, “to encourage each student’s love of music so that they may reach their maximum potential on their instrument while discovering that music is a life skill.” Ryan Wolf is a member of the trumpet studio of Dr. Matthew Inkster, Director of Instrumental Activities at West Liberty University.

philipstahlCongratulations to Philip Stahl, Broadcasting graduate from 2010. Philip was recently hired as the new Public Information Officer for the Wheeling city Police and Fire departments. The position will report directly to the Chief of Police and will be responsible for alerting the public to critical and timely information via local media and social media, as well as serving as a spokesperson for the two departments.

benyo-alleyJoshua Benyo was recently honored by WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin with the Main Street Award for Volunteerism. Josh was one of eleven individuals from communities across West Virginia that were honored as Volunteer of the Year. Josh is a two-time graduate of West Liberty, possessing both undergraduate (2012) and graduate degrees (2014). After receiving the Master of Arts in Education degree, he now works as the Operations Director at the YWCA in Wheeling. As the Governor’s Award indicates, Josh is an ubiquitous presence at nearly every community event in and around Wheeling, WV. He is also a tireless supporter of his alma mater West Liberty.

celesta-forrealsCelesta Byard, a 2015 graduate of West Liberty’s Music Department, now heads Brooke High School’s Choir Program. While at West Liberty, she double-majored in Music Education (Horn) and Music Performance (Voice).

MorganOlivia “Liv” Morgan, class of 2014, was a public relations major at WLU. A native of Shadyside, Ohio, Liv is the social media strategist for Wheelhouse Creative, a newly formed full-service advertising agency in Wheeling, WV. Liv’s primary responsibilities are managing all of the social media initiatives for the agency and their clients.

alexgordon2Alex Gordon, class of 2017, is Music Technology Major with a piano emphasis. Alex recently won the Mountain State Collegiate Piano Competition sponsored by the West Virginia Music Teachers National Association (WV-MTNA).

sydneybennettSydney Bennett is a graphic designer who graduated from WLU in 2015. Sydney currently works for a graphic design firm in Pittsburgh. While at WLU, she was selected to compete in the Shutter Stock Pixel challenge in Pittsburgh. Among the six competitors, she was the only student, and she was selected on strength of her portfolio.

jesselenzJesse Lenz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design in 2010. Since then, he has created collage illustrations for a variety of periodicals, including Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, Popular Mechanics, The New York Times, Readers’ Digest, and dozens more. His reputation as an illustrator continues to grow and he is responsible for creating the cover image for Newsweek magazine’s 10th anniversary piece on the September 11th terrorist attacks. Jesse, a resident of Middlebourne, W.Va., lives by a credo that he learned in Art professor Bob Villamagna’s class, “inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

IMG_7922Kelsey Bable, an Art Therapy major, won the Award of Excellence in the 2014 West Virginia Diversifying Perspectives art competition for her assemblage titled “The Butterflies Are Free.” When she is not in school, she works as a recreation assistant at an assisted living and rehabilitation center in her hometown where she often does expressive arts projects and crafts.

hackbart-headCassandra Hackbart was a regional finalist in the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Irene Ryan scholarship competition in 2013. After playing the lead role in WLU’s production of “Spring Awakening” in the Spring of 2014, Cassandra graduated with an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree in Music and Theater.  She begins work on a Masters Degree in Theater Education.

windhamrothWindham Roth Holtsclaw graduated with the Music Education degree in 2010. She is currently K-8 General Music Teacher and 4-8 Grade Band Director at West Park Elementary School in Buckeye, Arizona.

Malarkeyphoto1Justin Malarkey received the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Technology in 2012 and is one of the main Live Sound Engineers for BG Audio, the Upper Ohio Valley’s premier sound reproduction company. “Having great professors, a state of the art recording studio, and classes fit to molding me as a sound tech readied me for my job, which I started before my senior year. Now I’m enjoying a great career as a live sound engineer for concerts all over the United States.”