Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The College of the Arts (COTA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee was chartered in 2020 by students, faculty, and staff to promote diversity, equity and inclusion across all channels at Kennesaw State University.
The COTA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee supports the cultivation of learning communities that actively listens and intentionally responds to the needs of the current generation of students, faculty, and staff. We strive to be adaptable and ready to implement initiatives through shared governance, training, programming, research, and events.
We envision for our students to see themselves in the curriculum by challenging norms that have misrepresented members of marginalized backgrounds. We believe that the arts lead systemic change through invention, synthetization, and implementation across the KSU community.
Who We Are
The College of the Arts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee is made up of dedicated KSU students, faculty, and staff.
Jaden AkinsJaden Akins is a Junior student of the KSU School of Music’s Choral Music Education
program. Jaden is also founder and current president of the Black Musicians Coalition at KSU.
Social justice and movements for equality are Jaden’s main passions in life, alongside the arts
and their influence on society. Jaden is the KSU School of Music’s student representative on the
College of the Arts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committ
Angelita Andrade is pursuing a dual degree in Business Management and Dance with a Concentration in Modern at Kennesaw State University. Angelita has been in the KSU Dance Company for four semesters. This experience has given her the opportunity to work with prestigious choreographers Lisa K. Lock, Sean Nguyen and Thang Dao. Angelita was selected to choreograph and direct a film for the American College Dance Association, where she is presenting her work "Hear Me, I Have Nothing to Say".
Angelita also debuted her short film, “Apart of a Whole”, in the film festival “Distance Disco” hosted by Zoetic Dance Ensemble. She has also worked as a guest artist for Zoetic Dance Ensemble working with choreographers, Cherrise Wakeham and Mallory Baxley. Angelita grew up dancing competitively. Angelita currently teaches dance classes at local competitive dance studios. Within this experience, she has seen the need to bring more opportunity to the marginalized as it is important to Angelita to have diverse representation and equity. Angelita dreams of sharing her passion for dance by opening a nonprofit studio where all people will have a safe space to explore and create movement. Angelita continues to seek new opportunities to eventually make this dream a reality.
Joshua Melay is an Acting Concentration senior in TPS. He has done work with Make Mom Project ATL and performed at Stone Mountain Park for a few seasons. In his last few semesters of undergrad, he hopes to work toward creating equitable and diverse cultures that support learning and the arts as a whole. In that, nurturing an environment where attaining the tools necessary for lifelong learning become more possible for every student. Being in COTA is another opportunity to add more voices to the story of higher education, in the hopes that a spark of change here, could one day make a flame of change everywhere.
Pamela Rodriguez-Montero is a theatrical designer, educator, and visual artist. She earned her BFA degree in Arts and Visual Communications from the National University of Costa Rica. She received her MFA in Scenography from the University of Kansas, graduating with honors.
Her formal education and design production reflect the ability to develop a comprehensive and global visual environment for theatre and dance shows and a mastery of visual representation techniques. She is the proud recipient of the Ethel Hinds Burch Outstanding New GTA in Theatre Award (2014) and the Ethel Hinds Burch Outstanding GTA in Theatre Award (2015) in recognition of her excellence in teaching.
After receiving a Tinker Field Research Grant, Pamela visited Guatemala to develop a contextual research and collect reference materials for her thesis project about the Mayan dance/drama of Rabinal Achi. This project has consolidated her research interests at the intersections of costume design, arts, and the Latin-American - Indigenous identity, particularly in the Mesoamerican ceremonial garments.
Kristine Kwang Kim is the Associate Professor of Graphic Communications
in the School of Art and Design.
Andrea Knowlton is a Choreographer, Educator, and the Artistic Director of DANCE AEGIS, a movement based creative platform. Knowlton creates for both stage and screen in concert and commercial realms. Her work often integrates dance with film, media, and interactive technology. She has presented choreography in venues all over New York City, and Los Angeles. Her dance films and music videos have received national and international screenings. Knowlton's focus as an artist is on process, collaboration, and interdisciplinary conversation. Her choreographic work is inspired by the living body and its relationship to science and technology. She is interested in media, and its ability to diminish or magnify our innate human qualities. She has worked extensively as an Arts Integration Specialist, using dance to teach academic subjects to K-12 students across Los Angeles. As a teaching artist, she works with students of all ages in studio environments. She has been on faculty at Pasadena City College, and California State University Long Beach. Knowlton is a certified Yoga Instructor. She holds a BFA in Dance/Choreography from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, and an MFA in Choreography/Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts.
Todd Wedge received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and furthered his studies with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. In 2015, Mr. Wedge was invited to join the voice faculty at Kennesaw State University where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Wedge was the Department Head of the Vocal Music department at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts - a public arts magnet school that specializes in pre-conservatory curriculum for both classical voice and musical theater. He has been fortunate recipient of awards from the Friends of Austria Lieder Competition, American Opera Society, Bel Canto Society, and the Loretta Kearns Award for Excellence in Music Education. In 2013, Mr. Wedge was selected by the San Francisco Classical Voice as “Music Educator of the Year” which led to a nomination for the GRAMMY foundation “Music Educator of the Year” - of which he was a semi-finalist. In 2014, Mr. Wedge was nominated for the San Francisco Mayor’s Teacher of the Year Award and was selected at a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar.
While living in Chicago, he was the tenor soloist in many of the oratorio works of Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Bach, and Mozart, while simultaneously maintaining a private studio and teaching courses in vocal pedagogy at the University of Notre Dame. During this time Mr. Wedge also served as a young artist with the Chicago Opera Theater, after which he was invited to join the GRAMMY award-winning men’s ensemble Chanticleer. During his three seasons with Chanticleer, Mr. Wedge helped bring audiences to their feet in over 200 cities and 13 different countries in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. In addition to the rigorous touring schedule, Mr. Wedge also spent much time in the recording studio and can be heard on the following albums: And on Earth, Peace: A Chanticleer Mass; Let it Snow; The Best of Chanticleer; A Chanticleer Christmas; The Mission Road-Our Journey Back; (DVD & CD), and The Singing Life (DVD).
Symone Grady is the Communication and Outreach Manager for the KSU School of Music and College of the Arts (COTA). With an early start in her career as a news content specialist in a fast-paced newsroom, Symone has learned how to thrive under pressure and tackle seemingly difficult tasks with poise and confidence.
Symone holds a BA in Communication with specification in Public Relations from Columbus State University and is currently pursuing an MBA with marketing concentration from Mercer University. Symone’s areas of expertise include: email marketing, social media management, SEO, and graphic design. Symone hopes to bring her arsenal of marketing skills to help promote the mission of the College of the Arts Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion committee.
Trevor Carrier (he/him/his) is a trained theatre designer focusing on facilitating equitable collaboration and inclusive narratives. Prior to serving as the Production Manager for the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University, Mr. Carrier was the Director of Production for the School of Fine Arts at Northern State University and the Production Manager of the Northern Fort Playhouse.
With over ten years of experience as a scenic designer and theatre maker, Mr. Carrier has worked around the country with Aurora Theatre, Burning Coal Theatre, Alpine Theatre Project, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the River Center, the Alliance Theatre, and the Horizon Theatre. He is OSHA 10/General Entertainment Safety certified and a member of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology.
Rebecca Parker is the Operations Manager of the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art, as part the School of Art and Design, College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University. She holds a BA in Art History and a BA in Music from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and a Masters in Collections Management from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, CA. She oversees the facilities and exhibitions management for the Zuckerman Museum of Art and satellite gallery, as well as day-to-day operations. She also teaches and mentors ZMA staff and student assistants on museum standards for collections and exhibitions management. In 2017, she collaborated with colleagues from the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Dunbar Studio, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art to present “From Contract to Close: Working with Living Artists,” at the Southeastern Museums Conference in New Orleans, LA and at the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists Bi-Annual Conference in Vancouver, BC.
During her time at KSU, she has completed the Crisis Coordinator certification from the Office of Emergency Services. She has also earned her Management certificate from the Center for University Learning and participated as a cohort in 2019 Excel Leadership Program.
While working for Premier Exhibitions, Inc. an Atlanta-based museum exhibition company, she spearheaded the digitization and archiving of over 800 hours of expedition footage from the seven expeditions to the RMS Titanic owned by the company. She also served as Registrar for Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, managing installations and de-installations around the US. Additionally, she worked as a Registrar on the Bodies: The Exhibition, assisting in all aspects of the exhibition.
She was a participant to the 2004 Expedition to wreck site of the RMS Titanic and was the Collections Manager/Archivist to the 2007 Expedition to the wreck site of the RMS Carpathia, the ship to rescue the survivors of the RMS Titanic. As part of these expeditions, she worked as part of a team to develop care protocols for artifacts once recovered from the wreck site as well as the numbering system used to identify artifacts. She was a contributor to the article, “Mapping RMS Titanic With GIS: Implications for Forensic Investigations,” which was published Marine Technology Society Journal, November/December 2012, due to her expertise during the expeditions.
Jordan Wardach graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Theatre and Performance Studies in 2012. Though her concentration was acting, she also focused on lighting design while in school. She was the lighting designer for two Theatre and Performance Studies productions while still a student. The first production she designed, called The Cocteau Hour, she also performed in as an ensemble member of the cast. The second design was for the well-known musical, Cabaret, for which she won second place at the Southeast Regional American College Theatre Festival.
Immediately following graduation in December 2012, Jordan went up to New York with a group from KSU to serve as the assistant lighting designer for a production of A Christmas Carol at the Irondale Theater in Brooklyn. She returned the following year for the same production as the lighting designer. In 2013, Jordan also received a six-month internship with Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta as an office and lighting intern. During her internship she assisted with the rental process of the theater and was the assistant lighting designer for The Fabulous Lipitones. In summer of 2013, Jordan was accepted into the Kennedy Center's Directing Intensive program in Washington D.C., where she learned from professional theatre directors from around the country.
For the next several years, Jordan worked as an electrician and lighting designer for theatres in and around Atlanta. Working often with the Aurora Theatre, she served as the master electrician for many productions and the lighting designer for productions of I and You and Working. At Theatrical Outfit, she joined the SummerStage production team for two years as the lighting designer for their youth productions of The Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast. Jordan also returned to KSU as the lighting designer for Arms and the Man and Peter and the Starcatcher.
In spring 2018, Jordan joined the KSU Dance Department as the Theater Manager for the newly renovated Dance Theater.
Kelly Smith is the Director of Development for the College of the Arts (COTA). She joins the KSU staff after working with United Way as the community engagement director for Cobb County.
Smith’s path to the nonprofit sector is marked by fate. She started her career in insurance and financial services and from there, was introduced to the nonprofit sector by creating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and working for the owner of the agency she worked with. In this role, Smith was responsible for making connections to potentially implement financial literacy programs into nonprofit organizations. It was this experience that initiated her passion for fundraising and development. She made the decision to do this work full time, which is how she moved into a position at United Way and, subsequently, Kennesaw State.
Smith’s love of advocating for college students, coupled with an exceptional career in nonprofit fundraising, makes her the perfect fit to bring a flame of passion to her position and to COTA.
We Welcome Your Feedback and Ideas
The College of the Arts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee welcomes feedback and ideas from all students, faculty, and staff. If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas with the committee, please use the form below. You may give your name or you may share your comments and ideas anonymously.Feedback and Ideas