MAGNIFYING, No. 15: Blake Bratcher

December 11 2018

For this episode of MAGNIFYING we spoke with Development Specialist Blake Bratcher. Our creative community here at the College of Fine Arts is diverse and wide spread. With the goal of gaining a deeper knowledge and awareness of the people within our community, we bring you MAGNIFYING, a series dedicated to showcasing the talent of our students, faculty, and staff.

Tell us about yourself: Name, where you are from, what you do and how you got into in your field of work
Hi there – My name is Blake S. Bratcher and I currently have the privilege of working for the College of Fine Arts in the role of Development Specialist. As a semi-recent M.Ed. Graduate of the College of Education, I began my time in Salt Lake City in 2016 moving from the small community of Tontitown, Arkansas. My childhood was filled with memories of a tight-knit familial atmosphere, one of which was supported by conservative ideologies that I begged to challenge as I got older. In doing so, I realized the profound impact that friends, mentors, teachers, and professors during my undergraduate years had on me. Therefore, one aspect of my life that I have always extremely valued is relationships. Relationships, no matter personal or professional, have always been the means of transportation that have assisted me in not only figuring out my own identity, but appreciating those identities around me. Now being 1,200+ miles away from home, the University of Utah and all the fabulous individuals who encompass it have been nothing short of supportive in fostering my own personal development and as a staff member. Anyway, I guess it is time to answer your question! In my last semester of graduate school, I was incredibly grateful to be a Development Intern in the Vice President’s Office for Institutional Advancement, assisting in research under Chris Ostrander, Executive Director of Foundation Relations. This experience, coinciding with my time as a Graduate Assistant in the A. Ray Olpin Union Administration Office, the field of Development (and the relationships within), had me craving more. My time in the College of Fine Arts has been filled with a broad spectrum of items, all the way from assembling massive paper lanterns in the 90-degree July heat, to playing a minor role in developing major million-dollar proposals. Would I change a thing? Absolutely not – Daily, I am reminded of how truly grateful I am to work with such passionate people. Also, I am reminded of how integral relationships are in supporting each academic area that makes the College of Fine Arts a vital component in creating the “One U” student. The field of Development is still very new to me, but as I am fortunate enough to be given new opportunities daily, led and advised by my incredibly knowledgeable colleagues, I look forward to welcoming the many years ahead.

What has surprised you the most in your life?
Depending on the day of the week, I either hate or love surprises. Namely, if the surprise involves cash, puppies, or a new car, I welcome them with open arms. But in all seriousness, I think the one thing that has surprised me most in my life is how incredibly privileged I am to be where I am today. All too often, either with national news or campus tragedies, we are reminded of the tribulations that our various communities are facing. During those times, including in my own experiences, people will naturally gravitate to those relationships who support, nurture, challenge and remediate problems that they may be facing. Therefore, I am surprised how much I lucked out in still having that tight-knit familial atmosphere so far away from home.

What do you wish you had known/been told?
First off, I absolutely love this question and ask it in my own ventures, simply because I believe it to be a prime chance for individuals to be vulnerable and honest. That being said, I wish I had been told from a very young age, and granted my parents said this often, that “Everything will be okay.” Yes, I do believe some things happen for a reason, but maybe not quite everything, and the outcome of those things and one’s reactive state is something I think to be heavily dependent on your ability to believe everything will be okay in the end. I acknowledge that I am a huge proponent of worst-case scenario thinking (and for the record to clear my name, I’d argue the correct term is realism as opposed to pessimism) but counteractive to that, recent reaffirmations have made my own confidence in this saying to be elevated. No, you will not get fired immediately if you have a minor slip-up in your job (you’ll learn, everything will be okay). No, the world will not end if you forget to call your mom back (actually, debatable. but everything will be okay). Although minuscule to most, this saying and the mindset it brings is something I should have known all along. And moving forward, I am cutting myself some slack to believe in it more.