Class of 2004
Awarded in 2014
Feisty, focused, spirited, and in possession of a well-developed sense of humor. These are some of the characteristics that set Leslie Stellwagen apart as a newly minted Beloiter, even among a group of exceptional peers, according to Professor Emeritus of Theatre Arts Rod Umlas.
“She challenged herself, her instructors, and her fellow students, winning the respect and affection of everyone she worked with,” Umlas says.
At Beloit, where she earned departmental honors and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in theatre, she used her considerable talents both in the classroom and in co-curriculars, earning spots in Beloit College theatre productions, as well as serving as a resident assistant and directing theatrical performances of her own, assuming a role she was meant to play: a natural leader.
Post-Beloit, she taught in Australia and worked as a part of the residential life staff at Ursinus College before heading abroad again, this time to Hong Kong, to combine her affinity for teaching and passion for theatre as a drama teacher for high school and middle-school students. She then tackled a Master of Fine Arts program at Arizona State University, focusing her work on theatre programs for youth.
While at ASU, Leslie found time to serve as well as study. She taught classes for undergraduates, which garnered her a Teaching Excellence Award, and served as project director for At Home in the Desert, a digital storytelling program for underserved youth in Mesa, Arizona.
As an artist-in-residence for iCreate, a collaboration between ASU and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, she worked closely with youth who were in treatment for cancer and blood disorders. She has also worked with Asphalt Arts at the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, which provides arts programming for homeless youth in Arizona.
Now, Leslie continues to shine in her work as part of the full-time faculty in Appalachian State University’s theatre department in Boone, North Carolina, inspiring others to teach in the theatrical arts.
For this and all the other ways in which she continues to represent the irrepressible, enthusiastic spirit of a Beloiter, we are proud to bestow upon Leslie Stellwagen the Young Alumni Award, on the occasion of her 10th reunion.