Alumni Archives - Page 5 of 7 - Cornish Alumni
Dr. Tricia Rose Webinar
Category: Alumni Author: Aly Bedford Date: 1 year ago Comments: 0

Dr. Tricia Rose

President Raymond Tymas-Jones invited Brown University Professor Dr.Tricia Rose to speak to our community virtually on Feb 10th, to present her lecture entitled ‘Systemic Racism and its Impact on Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Campus’.
Dr. Rose is a professor of Africana Studies and the director of the Center for Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. 

The talk explored what systemic racism is, and how it works in American society to ‘normalize and render invisible the highly consequential workings of anti-black racism today’. 
Dr. Rose focused on how systemic racism distorts the processes, experiences and core features of the academic community including: the student and faculty academic pipeline, hiring, curriculum, climate for faculty, staff and students, the ways of thinking, evaluating and mentoring that deeply shape our campuses. 


Is this type of webinar something you would be interested in being invited to in the future? What other types of webinars would you tune in for? What would you like to see Cornish present? Do you have a webinar topic which you would like to personally present to the alumni community?
We are actively exploring webinars for Alums, and invite your feedback! 
Email us at

Interview with Colin
Category: Alumni Author: Aly Bedford Date: 1 year ago Comments: 0

Theater Alum Colin Byrne (’03) took the time to share his personal story and talk about his current career and how Cornish paved the way.
We extend a hearty thank you to Colin for this interview!

Photo credit: John Ulman

Describe growing up and your childhood.
I am from a very small town in northern California.  I was born in a one-room cabin and spent most of my childhood running around the woods with my brother.  We lived in a lot of cool-but-odd hand-built homes.  I went to a small Montessori-based school (25 kids K-12) that had a focus on art, myth, and psychology.  I was exposed to and participated in a lot of art.

Tell us about why you decided to pursue art and why Cornish? 
The focus on art in school, my exposure to tons and tons of art (of all forms), my parents both being artists, all made pursuing art in college almost a no-brainer and close to an unspoken expectation. I was very fortunate that it was viewed the same as getting a business degree.  I chose to apply to Cornish mostly because my girlfriend at the time was applying. 
Also there was a stage combat program; plus I thought it was a requirement that every senior thesis had to be a collaboration with a student from another department.  But I almost didn’t go to Cornish;  I was accepted into the Mechanical Engineering department at UW around the same time.  The decision was made for me by the fact that I could defer my acceptance to UW, but I could not defer my Cornish acceptance without having to audition again and that scared the crap out of me (I was sure I wouldn’t get in the next year).

What was your takeaway from Cornish? 
So much of what I learned didn’t hit me until years after leaving Cornish (and I’m sure I will continue to have those “Aha! That’s what the hell they were going on and on about” moments). I think one of the biggest takeaways was that it is about the people.  The people you work with, the people you create with and the person you are in the midst of it all.  Choose and cultivate that with mindfulness and self-reflection.

Were/Are your parents artists?
Yes my parents are both artists.  My mom is a dancer and musician, and my dad is a woodworker, cabinet maker and musician.

How did your art lead you to your current position as a lawyer and are you still practicing your art?
Storytelling.  I was offered a job as a paralegal after talking with a couple of attorneys about storytelling in theater and storytelling in the courtroom.  I had never made the connection.  I am not currently practicing theater, but aspects of my training pop up all over the place.  That is the greatest thing about an arts education, it is immensely useful in Life.

Tell us your vision for the future of our arts world, especially in this pandemic, societal, and financial crisis ~
My vision for the art world (especially theater)is getting back to the core of what making art is.  Telling stories.  Reflecting the world.  I think stripping away the artifice and getting back to acknowledging that art is an agreement between the artists and the audience, and we can allow the audience to meet us halfway.  We need a future where art and artists are given their proper value and support.

Interview with Micaela
Category: Alumni Author: Aly Bedford Date: 1 year ago Comments: 0

Dance Alum Micaela Gonzales (’18) took the time to share her personal story and let us know what she has been working on since leaving Cornish, and during the covid pandemic.
We extend a hearty thank you to Micaela for this interview!

Photo credit: Michelle Smith-Lewis

Describe growing up and your childhood.
I was raised by two lovely, but two very different types of people. My mother was a dancer her entire life; an artist through and through. She was also an army brat, so she always made me aware of how beautiful cultures of the world are. My father is an attorney who was raised in a very small town. Always down for a debate, I grew up being ready to bring facts. This caused me to be the most free flowing, analytical person you’ve probably ever met. Ambitious but grateful, and always ready to work. I couldn’t be more thankful for all they’ve done for me, and how much they supported my dancing.

Tell us about why you decided to pursue art and why Cornish? 
Art was always what I wanted to do. There was absolutely no question about it. I know that I have one life, and it’s my life, and I am allowed to do what I want with it. I hated the talks about “What’s your backup?” or “What’s your plan B?”. I wish I would have responded with, “Plan B? You have no idea what an artist is capable of.” As an artist, I have realized that the possibilities are endless when it comes to my future or my career. Artists are adaptable, intuitive and skillful.

Also, always remember that doing what you love is how you’ll find happiness. Sometimes that can be hard because we all know that passion doesn’t pay the bills. But passion gives you drive, and drive brings success, and success can look like so many beautiful things.

What was your takeaway from Cornish?
Going to Cornish opened my eyes to all the things that I could do. I thought there was only one way to be a “good dancer”. Only one way to look, feel, move, etc. But Cornish made me find my individuality and taught me to admire the uniqueness of those around me. I also think Cornish taught me the importance of rest and replenishing. But I didn’t learn those lessons until after I had graduated, when I was completely DRAINED. Then, when I regained my breath, I knew that I couldn’t let that type of artistic exhaustion happen to me again.

People who say that art school is easy have obviously never been to art school!

Were/Are your parents artists?
I suppose that I already answered this question, but one of my parents was/is an artist! My sisters were also dancers for part of their lives, so moving was a prominent part of our household. I loved being raised by an artist! My mother has always been so supportive of my artistic career. She was constantly cheering me on, and believed in me through and through. She’s still my number one fan!

How did your art lead you to your current position and are you still practicing your art if your day job isn’t in the arts?
Currently, I am a part time personal assistant for a BIPOC/Queer burlesque person here in Seattle. And I love it! I love that I work for a person that I feel safe around and that I truly admire. I’ve had really bad jobs and really good jobs. The really good jobs have always been arts related. The jobs that were boring, were the jobs that fit into the cookie-cutter idea of a “good” job. Cookie-cutter is boring and so was that front desk job.

Fight for the job you want, and if it doesn’t exist, create it! Believe in yourself and what you bring to the table. Don’t make yourself small to fit into society.

Tell us your vision for the future of our arts world, especially in this pandemic, societal, and financial crisis ~
Funding, funding, funding. There is not enough funding for the arts, yet the arts surround us no matter where we go. Having graduated for a few years now, I have finally been able to grasp how there is no money. Every arts organization is fighting for the same grants, supporters or donators. And living in one of the most expensive cities in the US, it’s heartbreaking. As this pandemic has shown, money can be created. So, why not create it for the arts?

In Loving Memory: Paul Taub
Category: Alumni Author: Aly Bedford Date: 1 year ago Comments: 0

Paul Taub ~
Recently retired and very loved Music Department Professor Paul Taub, passed away suddenly on March 13th, 2021. 
Students, fellow Faculty, and Alums all have nothing but praise for Paul. As he gently guided students to success, to their career paths, Paul’s commitment was unparalleled.  Among many achievements, Paul served as President of the Cornish Federation of Teachers.  He was tirelessly supporting faculty rights, and was mediator to faculty and administrators in all kinds of sensitive circumstances. 

Perhaps less known to the general community was the immense commitment Paul and his wife Susan made to political activism, traveling around the country for the “Get Out the Vote” efforts in Virginia, Michigan, and elsewhere during the last four years. For Paul, it was not just political but also artistic, cultural outreach, including his “covid porch concerts” for his lucky neighbors on summer afternoons and evenings. 
He will be deeply missed by us all.

Hal Ryder ~
Beloved Theater Department Professor for over 30 years, Hal Ryder passed away October 16, 2020 from a brief but valiant battle with cancer.  His career in the theater arts took him around the globe, as an actor, producer, and innovator as he started and ran many theater companies, sometimes single handedly. He helped create and work with students in Sanaa, Yemen on a radio station where they produced shows, political pieces, and music, in the name of freedom. 

He worked with the Department of Defense to expand and create a company called Open Door Theatre with touring shows traveling around the country, and eventually overseas, teaching about sexual abuse prevention to school age children. 

He loved his students and faculty at Cornish dearly, and it’s no exaggeration to say we all love him back. We were profoundly honored to know him.

Brenna Pierson-Tucker, DA Alum ’06 ~
Much loved dancer, co-founder of Esoteric Dance Project, and Alum Brenna Pierson-Tucker died unexpectedly on November 5th, 2020.  She spent 4 years honing her craft at Interlochen Center for the Arts, and then graduated with a BFA from the Dance Department at Cornish College of the Arts. From there, she went on to encourage developing artists by co-founding Esoteric Dance Project in 2010 with her husband, fellow Dance Alum Christopher Tucker in Chicago, IL and teaching at Glenwood Dance Studio. She was beloved by many, and will be deeply missed. 

Shawn Booker, TH Alum ’07 ~
Our family mourns the loss of one of our dearest and sweetest friends, Shawn Booker, who passed away on October 15th, 2020, in Seattle.
Shawn made us laugh and think and grin and listen. To a stranger, Shawn was a sweetheart of a man, someone who would wish nothing but good to everyone that he met. To his family, Shawn was a deep thinker, a savvy and witty mind who could shock you with his clever, wry humor and open your heart with his tender creative spirit.
Shawn was a talented artist, a thoughtful companion, and more than anything he was a great friend. Words cannot describe how much he meant to us and how much he is missed. We are grateful to have had Shawn in our lives and he will live in our hearts forever. 
(written by fellow Theater Alumnus and friend, Nick Fox Robbins)

Jeanette Maus – TH Alum ’03 ~
The Cornish College of the Arts Theater community mourns the passing of Alum Jeanette Maus, of the Class of 2003. Jeanette had been fighting a gallant and inspiring battle against colon cancer; however, she passed away on Sunday, January 24.
At Cornish Jeanette performed, among other roles, an unforgettable Puck in Sheila Daniels’ production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. She acted in Seattle both onstage and onscreen after graduation and relocated to Los Angeles, where she performed as an actor as well as a voiceover and motion capture artist. She also taught acting for many years at John Rosenfeld Studios in Los Angeles.

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