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The Fine Arts Ambassadors at the University of Utah is a group College of Fine Arts alumni, now professionals active in the arts community and eager to advance the mission of the College of Fine Arts. Formed in summer of 2020, the FAA seeks to increase representation and advocacy for the University of Utah College of Fine Arts in local and national arts communities, provide mentorship to current students, and connect alumni back to the ongoing work of the College. 

FAA Jazmin Gallegos


Jazmin Gallegos (she/her/hers) is the K-12 & Community Outreach Coordinator for the Book Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. She teaches the History of the Book and basic bookmaking to K-12 classes across Utah. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, her interest in visual arts began at a very young age which led her to obtain a degree in Art Teaching from the University of Utah. She is thrilled to be advocating for art education in schools around Utah and hopes to continue making art including her hand-bound books in her free time. She also enjoys hot yoga, pet-sitting, hiking, kayaking, camping and relaxing with friends and family.

FAA Nick PedersenNick Pedersen received his BFA in Photography from the University of Utah, and his MFA in Digital Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Nick's work combines his own photography, digital collage, and printmaking techniques to create elaborate, photorealistic images focusing on environmental issues. His artwork has been shown in galleries across the country and internationally, including the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Paradigm Gallery, Antler Gallery, and UMOCA. He has published two artist books featuring his long-term personal projects Sumeru and Ultima, and his work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Create Magazine, Juxtapoz, and Hi-Fructose. Many of his images have been recognized with awards from the International Photography Awards, the Future Art Awards, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, and the Photoshop Guru Award. As an educator he teaches workshops on photomontage and digital collage with Domestika, and has lectured at Pratt Institute, NYU Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Utah. Nick has also completed artist residencies at the Banff Center in Canada, the Gullkistan Creative Residency in Iceland, the Taft-Nicholson Center in Montana, and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art to work on his environmental projects. 
FAA Douglas Wilson
Douglas Wilson
 earned his BFA from the University of Utah Department of Art & Art History in 2009. Since graduating, Douglas has served in a variety of important roles within creative-based companies, with positions including Art Director, Sales & Marketing Manager, and his current position as Art & Branding Director for University of Utah Athletics. Additionally, Douglas works as a freelance artist and muralist for a variety of local and nationwide brands. These experiences have allowed Douglas to establish an active and successful career. He not only understands the business and financial aspects of art and design, but also possesses expertise in drawing, painting, sculpting, graphic design, apparel design, photography, and videography. 

FAA Ashley
Ashley Jian Thomson
 is a Communications Specialist in the College of Fine Arts, a Choreographer with Salt Lake Ballet Cooperative, and a Steering Committee Member with DanceMN. Professional credits include Art Meets Fashion! Gala (Charles & Ron), JessaKae (Ballerina Collection), James Sewell Ballet, Akram Khan x MN Opera, NIJAD Dance Collective, Festival de Danse Cannes 2019, Nu.topia: Tour the Mystery!, HATCH: Danceworks in Progress, RDT’s Emerge, SACDT’s Sign of Life, Lexus GS Japan’s Kaleidoscope Commercial. Teaching credits include UBSI, IBSI Korea, and Ballet West Academy. Ashley graduated from the University of Utah with a Ballet, B.F.A. and a Strategic Communications, B.S. She holds certifications in ABT® National Training Curriculum, Progressing Ballet Technique, and University of Minnesota’s UX/UI Design Program. 

FAA Lydia Martin


Lydia Martin, originally from West Palm Beach, FL, graduated from the University of Utah in 2018 with her BFA in Modern Dance and BS in Psychology. After graduating, she worked as a freelance artist and performed in Nu.topia: Tour the Mystery!, as well as Brine’s production “NaCl 18.” She currently works as a Benefits Specialist for Clearlink Technologies, LLC., and is an artist and performer with Fem Dance Company and Oquirrh West Project. With Oquirrh West Project, Lydia also serves as the Community Outreach Director, collaborating with high schools to increase accessibility to the arts. She currently lives in Salt Lake City and is attending the University of South Florida as an MBA candidate with an emphasis in Healthcare Analytics.

FAA Anne Marie


Anne Marie Robson Smock is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer, and dance educator. She received her MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts while simultaneously earning her MA in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Originally from Salt Lake City, she holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. She is currently adjunct faculty at NYU Steinhardt, faculty for the pre-professional youth program at Steps On Broadway, and working towards her Dance/Movement Therapy certification at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center. She has taught and had her work presented in New York, Utah, Martha's Vineyard, Colorado and Uganda. Her latest creative pursuit is crocheting baby blankets, very slowly. 

FAA Michaela Gerard


Originally from Boise, Idaho, Michaela Gerard moved to Utah to attend the University of Utah where she graduated with a BFA in Ballet as well as a BS in Psychology. Michaela danced locally with Municipal Ballet Co prior to joining Salt Lake Ballet Cooperative where she takes an active role in helping with daily operations, show planning, as well as performing. She has also explored her interest in early childhood development as a behavior technician and early childhood classroom teacher. Currently, Michaela works for the Utah Food Bank in the Mobile School Pantry program, helping to distribute free groceries to students and families.  Michaela is thrilled to join the Fine Arts Ambassadors and hopes to have the ability to continue learning from and collaborating with so many talented CFA alumni. 

FAA Severin Sargent Catterton


Severin Sargent-Catterton (she/they), of Ellicott City, Maryland, grew up immersed in various western dance techniques before setting sights on modern dance. Studying under Marilyn Byers, Severin practiced Nikolais technique before moving to Salt Lake City to continue her dance studies at the University of Utah. During her completion of her Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of Dance, Severin performed works by Anouk Van Dijk, Eric Handman, and others. She also performed Outdoors, Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof, with Repertory Dance Theater during their Fall 2019 season. Post graduation, Severin taught for Johns Hopkins University.  She has performed with sonderIMMERSIVE, Interdisciplinary Arts Collective, Myriad Dance, and Deseret Experimental Opera. Severin continues to create and move for various artists around the Salt Lake Valley. Severin is the current Booking and Touring Manager for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company; and has worked for the company since 2016.

FAA Jordan Boge


Jordan Boge is a film producer and instructor from Des Moines, IA. He holds an MFA in Film and Media Arts from the University of Utah and a BA in Communication Studies and French from Luther College. Beyond just education, Jordan's work is rooted in a range of experiential learning opportunities that have spanned the globe. These internships include TV Tours in France, Connection Events in Montréal, CNN in Atlanta, Participant in Los Angeles, and HLN in NYC. Jordan is currently located in Atlanta and working in creative marketing for CNN. Ultimately, Jordan has a passion for creating non-fiction content that brings to life the stories of the marginalized so that everyone can be seen on screen. When he is not working, Jordan enjoys obsessively rewatching Pixar movies and perfecting the best brewing practices for Masala Chai. 

FAA Beth Kearsley


Beth Kearsley is an emerging editor and assistant editor from Salt Lake City, Utah. She began her career assistant editing on independent feature films after graduating with an HBA in film and media arts from The University of Utah in 2021. She is most interested in working on documentaries involving environmentalism, women, and music. Beth's work includes PLAN C (Sundance 2023), What Comes Around (TIFF 2022), Free Chol Soo Lee (Sundance 2022), and Bitterbrush (Telluride 2021). She is currently a 2023-2024 Sundance Institute Contributing Editor Fellow and a 2022-2023 Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellow.

FAA Eduardo Ayres Soares


Eduardo Ayres Soares, a Brazilian filmmaker based in Los Angeles, boasts an impressive career as a director, producer, and editor. With a rich background that includes roles at the Slamdance Film Festival and AFI Film Festival, Eduardo has directed six short films, edited TV series and web series, and contributed to countless corporate and commercial videos. His acclaimed work, "Chasing the Dragon," received worldwide praise and distribution on Revry Streaming Service and HereTV, earning 13 nominations and four awards. Eduardo's expertise extends to teaching commercial filmmaking and film production at the university level. Holding a Masters in Fine Arts in Film Production and a BA in Visual Arts from institutions like NYU Tisch and the University of Utah, he now leads the Post Production team at Anastasia Beverly Hills, producing content for this prestigious makeup brand.

FAA Mitchell AtencioMitchell Atencio completed his Honors Bachelor of Music degrees in Flute Performance and Instrumental Music Education at the University of Utah in 2019. His primary flute teachers include Lisa Byrnes, Caitlyn Valovick-Moore, and Tiffany Sedgley. He works in the Utah Symphony Music Library during the USUO summer season, previously winning the audition for the library fellowship at the Sarasota Music Festival and working for Utah Festival Opera preparing their materials. He also completed a degree in mathematics through Utah State University during 2021. Mitchell currently plays with the Utah Wind Symphony. He also freelances and plays with orchestras in the Salt Lake City area. During his undergraduate, he played in the top orchestras and bands at the U on both flute and piccolo. Presently, Mitchell teaches instrumental music and music theory at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, additionally condcuting the pit orchestra for the school’s musical. He serves on the boards for the Canyons Education Association (UEA/NEA); on the Utah Flute Association, coordinating a nationwide competition for Adult Amateur flute players; and is a member of the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA). He loves working as an educator, performer, librarian, and advocate.

FAA Justin MorganIn addition to working in the U's Real Estate Administration office, Justin Morgan is the Grants Manager for Gifted Music School and the Principal Bassist for the Bozeman Symphony. After graduating from the University of Utah with a BM in Double Bass Performance, he furthered his graduate studies at Bard College and The Orchestra Now (TŌN). Prior to his current position at the U, Justin held the roles of Dean and Interim Executive Director at the Gifted Music School. In addition to his administrative experience, Justin also volunteers on the Board of Directors for the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City. A true artist-administrator, Justin balances a career as a performing musician in addition to his work in nonprofit leadership. His varied experiences span performing at world-renowned stages such as Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center; participating in tours across North America, Europe, and Asia; and collaborating with a diverse array of acclaimed artists, composers, and conductors like Tan Dun, Joan Tower, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, and many more. Beyond his engagements with the Bozeman Symphony, he freelances with Ballet West Orchestra, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Utah Chamber Artists, among other prestigious Utah-based ensembles.
FAA Amanda Hales

Amanda Moreton Hales holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Bassoon Performance from the University of Utah. She is currently an active freelancer having worked with various orchestras including Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Ballet West, Orchestra at Temple Square, Sinfonia Salt Lake, and Chicago Civic Orchestra among others. She enjoys teaching privately as well as on faculty at the Gifted Music School. She has participated in multiple music festivals including Aspen Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Amanda holds a Master’s of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music as well as a Bachelor’s of Music from Brigham Young University in Bassoon Performance. 

FAA Claudia Restrepo
Librarian Claudia Restrepo joined the Utah Symphony in 2021. She came to Salt Lake City after working two seasons at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Library. Prior to joining the DSO, she was the Library Fellow for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where she was mentored by the librarians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Claudia has served as the Head Librarian for the Aspen Music Festival. She also worked for the National Symphony Orchestra assisting with music preparation for performances at Wolf Trap and the nationally televised concert “A Capitol Fourth.” In 2017 Claudia was a Library Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center where she worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra librarians. Claudia holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Utah. 

FAA Olivia Custodio


Olivia Custodio has built her career in development in the arts sector, holding positions of leadership at Salt Lake Acting Company, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and currently serves as the Director of Major Gifts at the Sphinx Organization. She is deeply committed to social justice work within the arts and the advancement of equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility. Olivia holds a BFA in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and a MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. On top of her life as a development professional, Olivia is an opera singer, actor, and playwright. She has appeared in numerous productions in the Salt Lake Valley, and most recently was the playwright for Salt Lake Acting Company's 2023 Summer Show: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
FAA Claudia

Claudia Escobar graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in Sound Design and Music Technology. In her time as a collegiate, she focused on courses and opportunities to learn about sound through different mediums and departments. The U gave her a place to discover her passion through hands-on learning opportunities that helped fine tune her skills. She has participated in the USITT Gateway program as both a mentee and mentor in helping to create a more inclusive and equitable industry. After graduating from the Department of Theatre, she went on to work as an Audio Engineer at Indiana Repertory Theatre, but has since returned to her roots in Utah where she is now working as an AV Field Engineer. She can also be found freelancing all over town at Hale Centre Theatre, Kingsbury Hall, as well as mixing the occasional party band or rock concert. 

FAA Mary Helen Pitman



Mary-Helen Pitman, a Chicago-based theatre artist and piano teacher, graduated with a BFA in Theatre from the Actor Training Program in 2019. As a co-founder and administrator of Sandbox Theatre Collective, she works to foster new works and opportunities for early-career theatre artists in a relaxed and playful setting. With experience spanning Utah, Arizona, and Illinois, Mary-Helen spends her time experimenting with friends in all aspects of theatre to discover her unique artistic lens.

FAA Mark


Mark Macey 
is currently an MFA Theatre Directing candidate at the University of London, Birkbeck. From 2019 to 2023, Mark was Executive Artistic Director of Stage East in Eastport, Maine. A graduate of Dell’Arte International’s Professional Training Program, they also hold a BA in Theatre Studies from the University of Utah.


FAA Jordan Nelson
Jordan Nelson
 is a theatre educator at Midvale Elementary School, team lead for Canyons School District elementary theatre and dance teachers, and a Professional Development Partner for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. During the summer, she works with Tanner Dance and Youth Theatre at the U. Jordan was raised in Wyoming in a small town named Glenrock. She loved performing but education was always a close second. She discovered her love for educational theatre at Casper College, then transferred to the University of Utah two years later, earning her BA in the Department of Theatre. For years she served as Executive Director for Casper Children’s Theatre back in Wyoming where she directed thousands of kids in countless musicals. In 2020, she graduated with the first cohort of the University of Utah Master of Teaching - Fine Arts program. While not everyone may be born to be a teacher, she believes sharing your passion with youth is such a strong part of building the next generation of artists. The U has provided her with so many resources and opportunities, and she is happy for her chance to give back to the College of Fine Arts.

FAA Aaron Hoenig


Aaron Hoenig graduated from the University of Utah in 2021 with a BFA in Theatrical Sound Design and minors in Music Technology and Chemistry. His main focus is sound engineering and he has been mixing the sound for musical all around Salt Lake since 2017, primarily working at Salt Lake Acting Company and The Grand Theatre. He is now back at the U working in the Department of Theatre where he is the Sound and Lighting Lead Technician. He loves working in an educational environment where he can not only work doing what he loves but help other students learn about theatre and how to make a career in it. He still manages to freelance in his time off and loves traveling both near and far.

Former Ambassadors  

Martin Alcocer
Jessica Baynes 
Matthew Castillo
Cynthia Chen
Annealea Flynn
Stephane Glynn 
Will Hagen
Catherine Heiner
Paul Leland Hill
Victoria Johnson
Elyse Jost
Taylor Mott
Cece Otto
John Peterson
Connor Rickman
Steph Shotorbani
Evan Silloway
Daniel Stergios
Geoff Sutyak
Douglas Tolman
Arthur Veenema

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