Category: Profile / Q&A

Bringing a Play to Life with the Benenson Award

Tess Redman '24, a Psychology major with minors in Creative Writing and Spanish, always knew she wanted to produce and direct her play, Sugar at Four in the Morning. Last summer, Redman used her Benenson Award funds to develop her play that delves into the journey of a type 1 diabetic who participates in an experimental therapy program that transports volunteers back in time to aid their younger selves in managing diabetes.

A Q&A with co-founder of Meshroom Marika Niko

Marika Niko, co-founder of Meshroom, taking place on Thursday, September 21, shares about the project and its mission to create a space for communal exploration and reflection. Marika says, "between the cozy seating areas and the numerous multisensorial happenings in the space, things are organically and constantly affecting and connecting with each other in micro/macroscopic ways; one is part of the 'mesh.'”

Alumni Spotlight, Academy Award Edition: Jing Niu (MFA | EDA ’14)

Niu is a film and music video director based in Los Angeles. Her work addresses motifs of freedom, mythology and the Asian diaspora in the United States. She worked as an assistant editor and post-production coordinator on A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once. Duke Arts and Forever Duke recently caught up with Niu to learn about her work. Read our Q&A below!

Q&A with Laurel Toyofuku ‘14, Chelsea Factory, Head of Marketing and Community; Formerly Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

In this interview with the Duke Entertainment, Media & Arts Network (DEMAN), Laurel Toyofuku ‘14 shares how her undergraduate experiences — including a Duke in New York semester and an internship with Duke Performances — helped her navigate a career in the arts. “I loved having the opportunity to be immersed in all sides of presenting artistic experiences,” she says.

Q&A with Chelsea Grain ‘16, Content Strategy & Analysis Manager, Netflix

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Chelsea Grain ‘16 discusses how she leveraged Duke resources into her current position at Netflix. “Feed your passion—try classes that make you excited, get to know your professors, give yourself permission to fully commit to your interests while you're at Duke,” she shares.

StudioDuke 2021–22: In Their Own Words

This year’s StudioDuke students and mentors share favorite memories, valuable takeaways, and helpful advice from their experiences. StudioDuke is a program of Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship in collaboration with DEMAN and Duke Arts. This signature program provides students the opportunity to take their advanced, on-going creative projects to the next level.

Q&A with Grace Li ’17, Netflix-Optioned Author of Portrait of a Thief

Author and Stanford medical student Grace Li ’17 shares insights on her debut novel Portrait of a Thief, which is currently in development to become a Netflix series, as well as advice for students hoping to pursue a career in creative writing. “I think the most important condition to being a writer is being an active participant in the world,” Li says.

Q&A with Cory Rayborn ’98, Founder & Manager, Three Lobed Recordings

In this interview with the Duke Entertainment, Media & Arts Network (DEMAN), Cory Rayborn '98, corporate attorney by day and founder/manager of Three Lobed Recordings by night, shares how he balances his law career with his creative pursuits. “The label offers me an outlet that I simply cannot get out of my ‘day’ job,” he says.

Q&A with Charlie McSpadden ‘10, Vice President, Levantine Films

In this interview with the Duke Entertainment, Media & Arts Network (DEMAN), Charlie McSpadden ‘10 offers advice for students pursuing a career in the film industry. “Becoming a quick study, anticipating problems, and being reliable and communicative were crucial skills for the world of film production,” he shares.

Duke Alumni and Faculty Lead the Return of Live Theater

After nearly two years of virtual performances, live theater has made its long-awaited return to both Broadway and Duke’s campus. Samantha Streit ‘22, who was part of the cast of Duke Theater Studies’ Fall Mainstage Show Golem, interviews Duke alumni and faculty about their thoughts on producing theater during the pandemic and what the future holds for live performances.

Q&A with Tori Cohen ‘15, Designer, Shulman + Associates

In this interview with Duke Business Oriented Women, Tori Cohen '15 shares how her time at Duke and Teach For America helped guide her toward a career in design. “I reflected on these experiences and realized that I was the happiest when I was doing something visual and creative,” she shares.

Q&A with Drew Neisser ‘79, Founder, Renegade & CMO Huddles

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), marketing guru Drew Neisser ‘79 shares his advice for students hoping to turn their creativity into a career. This Wednesday, Nov 3, join Neisser and Duke Marketing Club for an in-person conversation on navigating a career in marketing post-college.

Q&A with Maureen Farrell ‘01, Reporter, The New York Times

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Maureen Farrell ‘01 offers advice for students and alumni hoping to pursue a career in journalism after Duke. This Thursday, Oct 7 at 8pm, Farrell will be in conversation with her co-author Eliot Brown about their recently published book, “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.”

Q&A with Peyton Dilweg ’18, Actress & Model

In this interview with the Duke Entertainment, Media & Arts Network (DEMAN), Peyton Dilweg ’18 shares how her undergraduate experiences helped her launch her acting and modeling careers. “My post-Duke takeaways entailed learning to take bold risks and going hard after something—even, and especially, at the risk of failure,” she says.

Q&A with Nathaniel Hill ‘12, Founder & President, Broadway Plus

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Nathaniel Hill ‘12 shares advice for students interested in the business of Broadway. This Thursday, September 23 at 8pm, Hill will virtually be in conversation with two alumni directors helping lead the return of Broadway: Charles Randolph-Wright ’78 and Danya Taymor ’10.

Q&A with Jon Steinlauf ‘79, Chief US Advertising Sales Officer, Discovery Inc.

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Jon Steinlauf ‘79 shares how his marketing classes at Duke gave way to his current position at Discovery Inc. “If you are lucky enough to find an industry you aspire to be in long term, try to find managers that will help you at good companies with products you believe in,” he says.

Q&A with Marina Poole ‘17, Video Editor, MasterClass

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Marina Poole ‘17, video editor at MasterClass, offers advice for students hoping to break into creative industries. “No matter how low on the ladder you are—and you will have to start there—bring your best attitude forth every day,” she shares.

Q&A with Tori Bilas ‘17, Account Manager, Jump Media

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Tori Bilas ‘17, account manager at Jump Media, discusses her experience navigating different career paths before landing a job she loves in equestrian sports and shares advice for current Duke students.

Q&A with Laura Kirby ‘11, Child Clinical Psychologist & Author

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), Laura Kirby ‘11 discusses how she used her experience as a child clinical psychologist to write a children's book. “My goal is to combine my passion for child development with my love of writing in order to write enjoyable books for kids,” she shares.

Q&A with Daisy Jing ‘10, Founder & CEO, Banish

In this interview, Daisy Jing ‘10, who founded and operates the skincare company Banish, shares how she forged her path in the beauty industry as an entrepreneur. “I think something a lot of Duke women struggle with is perfectionism,” Jing shares. “That was something I struggled with, and you have to learn how to be okay with not being perfect.”

Q&A with Angela Zhou ‘14, SAG-AFTRA Actor

Actor Angela Zhou ‘14, whose credits include “Promising Young Woman” and “Hell on Wheels,” offers advice for students looking to break into entertainment. On April 7, Zhou will join a panel of fellow Duke Asian American alumni working in Hollywood for a conversation about their career paths and experiences.

Q&A with Kelsey Wang, Senior Manager, Finance, Hello Sunshine

Kelsey Wang, senior manager of finance at Reese Witherspoon's media brand Hello Sunshine, shares Duke experiences that helped her break into the media and entertainment industries. On March 24, she will be in conversation with fellow Hello Sunshine employees about the company's role in creating diversity in media.

Q&A with Martavius Parrish ‘14, Teaching Artist, Lincoln Center

Martavius Parrish ‘14, a teaching artist at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, discusses his experience of switching from a medical track to a Theater Studies major while at Duke. "I wound up performing in Ragtime during the Trayvon Martin tragedy and it changed my life. Amazing mentors and academic advisors. . . helped me emotionally, academically, and logistically shift gears from pre-med."

Bill Fick Sparks Action Through Screen Printing

Bill Fick shares his recent political prints, which you might also spot in and around Durham. Fick is assistant director of visual and studio arts for the Rubenstein Arts Center and lecturing fellow in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies.

Small Town Records: Keeping the Music Going During COVID-19

Three leaders of Duke's student-run record label, Small Town Records, learned how to innovate, adapt to digital platforms, and create new music opportunities during a pandemic summer. “I can assure you that we will have STR running in some capacity, helping to shape the culture at Duke, for as long as we can," says Ryan Briggs,'21.

Q&A with Lisa Borders ‘79, CEO of LMB Group, LLC

Lisa Borders '79, CEO of LMB Group, LLC, Former President/CEO of Time's Up, and Former President of the WNBA, discusses her experience working as a senior executive and elected official as well as strategies she used at the forefront of organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Ryan Helsel: “We Need Art to Process the World in Which We Live”

Nasher Museum Educator Ryan Helsel reacted to the global pandemic by creating online art projects for teachers and families stuck at home. “We need art to process the world in which we live,” Helsel said. “That will never go away. I see more awareness and appreciation of this need in the broader public already, which makes me hopeful for an increased awareness of the value of all sorts of arts and artists in the future.”

Q&A with Cassie Calvert (Baltimore Ravens)

In this interview with Cassie Calvert (Trinity ’16), we learn how this former undergraduate followed her passion as a feature reporter for Duke Athletics to score a role as a Social Media Coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.

Q&A with Deborah Grausman (Actor/Singer)

In this interview with Deborah Grausman (Trinity ’02), we learn how this former undergraduate has navigated her passion to perform and sing through opportunities such as doing voice-overs for Sesame Street, performing in productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Secret Garden and Peter Pan, and more!

Q&A with Ashley Alman (Netflix)

In this interview with Ashley Alman (Trinity ’13), we learn how this former undergraduate navigated experiences from INDY Week to the Huffington Post to her current gig as Creative Marketing Manager at Netflix all while following her passion of utilizing media to share stories to the masses.

Q&A with Deondra Rose (Duke Faculty & Author)

In this DukeJournos interview with Deondra Rose, a Duke Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science and Author, we learn the power and importance of using writing to push the boundaries of knowledge and promote human advancement.

DEMAN 101: Tips & Tricks for DEMAN Weekend and Beyond

Connecting with new people can seem tough—but it doesnʼt have to be! With the tips below from DEMAN 2019 panelist Angela Silak ’09 of Hollywood Resumes, you can make your experiences before, during, and after DEMAN Weekend (Nov. 1–2, 2019) fun, meaningful, and productive.

People of Duke Arts: Vonnie Quest

Vonnie Quest is an interdisciplinary documentary artist from Milwaukee, WI, whose work weaves together family history, Afro-surrealism, and speculative fiction. As Vonnie seeks to piece together details of his grandmother’s life while in residence at the Power Plant Gallery, he is also reimaging new memories and alternative futures.

Q&A with Dana Berger

"As an actor, a common feeling to have is that there is no "road map" or direct path to achieving your goals...I've learned is to say YES as much as possible." Read more from this interview with actress Dana Berger.

Marina Tsaplina’s Illness Revelations

In her month-long residency at Duke in the Rubenstein Arts Center, puppeteer Marina Tsaplina created and performed a deeply researched piece of theater exploring human imperfection and the life-denying eugenics impulse.

People of Duke Arts: Imani Mosley

A fresh-minded PhD in musicology from Duke, Mosley is a bassoonist and pioneer among the new generation of scholars who have made social media an intrinsic part of their academic sphere.

A Mini-Monument in the Makerspace

When Pedro Lasch's massive sculptural project for Mexico City's main square hit a dead end, he thought that was the end of the story. Twenty years later, Lasch used the Ruby makerspace to create a smaller architectural model of what he once envisioned for that project. Read on to learn his take on this experience and to hear his thoughts on the arts at Duke.

Duke’s Creative Lab for Arts Entrepeneurship

Having a strong mentor is a key part of personal and professional development—no matter your field. StudioDuke forges mentorships through one-on-one connections with professionals who have attained distinction in their creative fields.

Sadie Tillery, Artistic Director, Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Full Frame

Learn more about the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival from Artistic Director Sadie Tillery. Tillery shares her inside perspective on what sets this festival apart, while reflecting on the art form: "Documentary is helpful for keeping my eyes wide and trying to understand the people and world around me. Even when it is hard, it also feels essential."

Q & A with Detavio Samuels (T’02) and Amanda Lewellyn (T’17)

Students sat down with alumni Detavio Samuels (T'02, Urban One Media) and Amanda Lewellyn (T'17, theSkimm) at a recent DEMAN & Donuts. "I would say continually challenge yourself and problem solve your way to making your dreams and ideas a reality," shared Lewellyn. Read on for more creative career insights.

Exploring Art and Neuroscience at Duke

Sujal Manohar (Class of 2020) is a double-major in neuroscience and visual arts. An exhibit of her drawings in the Wellness Center Art Gallery proves the two fields are not as far apart as one might think.

Durham: The Flower of the Carolinas

Discover the story behind one of the newest pieces of art on Duke’s campus—a traffic box transformed with color by the Nasher Museum of Art, born out of a collaboration between the City of Durham and a Fall 2018 Duke course. "I discovered that the explorer John Lawson dubbed Durham “the flower of the Carolinas,” says artist Britt Flood.

People of Duke Arts: Chuck Catotti

Chuck Catotti retires from Duke University this week after a year as director of the Rubenstein Arts Center and after 33 years in theater and box office management for venues across campus.

People of Duke Arts: Mark Steelman

Virtual reality is often associated with gaming and entertainment. In this piece, Mark Steelman, the president of Duke's VR club, talks about the limitless possibilities that virtual reality offers—including in the arts.

Art As Protest: Preserving Latinx Culture through Murals

"The mural at Duke was defaced...because it made people aware that there is a vibrant and powerful Latinx community in the university and the area," notes Dr. Márquez, a Romance Studies Professor at UNC. Duke Arts explores how Duke students and community members used visual art to protest the defacement of a Latinx Heritage mural on East Campus.

People of Duke Arts: Dare Coulter

Get to know Dare Coulter, a Triangle-based artist, sculptor, and muralist who combines distinct aspects of color, culture, and creativity to re-imagine communities of color in joyous and powerful spaces. "The reason that I paint what I paint is that I need people to be in it. It has to be people."

People of Duke Arts: Stephen Hayes

Meet Durham-born artist and Duke Visiting Instructor Stephen Hayes in this "People of Duke Arts" interview.  "My number one goal is to wow my audience and to have meaning behind it—to have people relate to my work or even just start a conversation," explains Hayes.

Honoring Student Arts Leaders: Kelsey Graywill

Meet Kelsey Graywill (Class of 2018), former president of duARTS and a leader in growing the student arts community at Duke. This summer Duke University Union endowed an award in her name: the Graywill Award for Arts Leadership & Service.

People of Duke Arts: Rachel Goodwin

A six-week residency at the Power Plant gallery allows Durham artist Rachel Goodwin to think big while inviting the public to follow along with her work in baubles, beads, and hanging trees.