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Corrie Besse, 2021 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Corrie Besse originates from Nebraska and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts & Communication Studies from Central College, Pella, IA. Prior to her enrollment, Corrie spent 16 years working in the Production and Arts Administration fields in Chicago.  Most recently she served as the Managing Director for the Theater & Performance Studies Program at the University of Chicago and the Operations Manager for Salonathon. She has been fortunate to work with A Red Orchid Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, Teatro Vista, Redmoon, Roosevelt University, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Hypocrites, Shattered Globe, Seanachai, Chicago Dance Crash, Mary –Arrchie, Famous Door, Chicago Humanities Festival, Barrel of Monkeys, PineBox, and the Gate Theatre, London. Following graduation, Corrie’s goals are to lay the foundation for a co-op space in which artists will have access to resources, and through radical hospitality create environments that foster empowerment for artists.

Trichia C. S. Cadette, 2021 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Trichia Cadette is a native of the West Indian island of St. Lucia and holds a B.A, in Theatre Arts from Grambling State University. Her career in the arts began at young age, however she did not fully embrace her talent until her early adult years as a performer, creative writer, and creator of visual art. Her educational background in Theatre Arts and Management propelled her to return to St. Lucia to pursue a career as a teacher, which in turn ignited her passion for social work and transformation.  Her work in the classroom inspired her to create several after school programs for underprivileged children on the island. Trichia has used her knowledge and experiences to advocate for the empowerment and overall development of young women through the arts. In 2017, she launched the “I am a Queen” campaign which used pageantry as a vehicle for social empowerment and development of positive self-imagery in teenage girls. The M.F.A. program at Virginia Tech is an important step on a long journey of artistic and professional development and leadership. Trichia intends to continue her work in community engagement, creative development, and advocacy.

Gabriel Velazquez, 2023 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Gabriel, a native Texan, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Franciscan University of Steubenville and has been involved in theatre production for the last 11 years. With a background in classical performance, Gabriel has spent the last two years collaborating with local vineyard owners to provide an aesthetically pleasing and entertaining blend of Shakespeare, wine, and an intimate performance atmosphere for the Roanoke Valley. Excited to be at Virginia Tech, Gabriel plans to build his knowledge of arts management and creative collaboration to assist with, and eventually lead, the continuing osmosis of art and theatre into our ever-growing culture. 

Anna Wehr, 2021 M.F. A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Anna Wehr is from Ellicott City, MD, and holds a B.A. in Theatre Performance with a minor in Marketing from the University of Lynchburg. Upon graduating she accepted a fellowship with Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) where she was Managing Director. While at VTA she planned the Annual Theatre Conference for over 2,000 people from across the Commonwealth. She has also worked for Tony-nominated actor, Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen) with marketing and administrative activities for the Ohio Artists Gathering. In the summer of 2019 Anna worked as Program Coordinator for Tony-nominated performers Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Amboise with their summer Musical Theatre Intensive, Triple Arts.  Previously, Anna taught theatre for six years at Drama Learning Center in Columbia, MD and interned with Center Stage's summer education program in Baltimore, MD.  Anna is revisiting her passion for theatre education at Virginia Tech with a focus on integrating the arts into the general education classroom.

Taylor Wood, 2022 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Taylor is from Nashville, TN where she earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Design/Technology with minors in Dance and Directing. Since earning her undergraduate degree, she has held various roles in management and production for the performing arts including: Stage Manager, Production Manager, Production Scheduler, Assistant Company Manager, Production Assistant, and Event Manager at various organizations including Nashville Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Orlando Shakes to name a few. Taylor spent the previous summer working as an Advancement Assistant at Appalachian Voices. Taylor is using her time at Virginia Tech to combine her past experience with new skills and frameworks to help build a better future for artists and the performing arts.