Welcome back, Bears!
With the start of a new school year, we also have some new faces on our T&D faculty! For this week, we’re featuring a Q&A with these new faces as we get to know them better. Our new faculty includes Kyle A. Thomas (BA/BS Coordinator and Associate Professor), Zipporah Peddle (Artist-in-Residence), Michelle Harvey (Associate Professor), and Cindy Spitko (Per Course Faculty). We have some insights from Kyle, Zipporah, and Michelle for you below. Cindy is currently preparing to wed our other Artist-in-Residence Ed Swidey! We are so happy for them and hope they have a wonderful wedding and honeymoon together.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Q: What made you want to come to Missouri State?
Zipporah: I was really impressed with the students that I met while I was on campus. They had thoughtful, intelligent questions and seemed excited about the idea of working with someone on contemporary styles of music, which is what I love to research and teach.
Kyle: The opportunity to lead the BA/BS Theatre program was the opportunity that excited me the most. Theatre in the 21st century is in need of students with the training, talents, and creative thinking that a BA/BS degree can offer. To be able to shape the next generation of theatre leaders is truly one of the greatest joys of my life and career!
Michelle: I was very impressed with the students and faculty here in the department and on campus. I appreciated that the administration had an understanding of and appreciation for the art, and I found Springfield to be charming offering the best of big city and small town life.
Q: What are you most excited about this school year?
Zipporah: I am excited to see how all of my students progress. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your student have a “eureka” moment!
Kyle: As, I touched upon in my first answer, I’m most excited about making our BA/BS program a nationally recognized leader for theatre training! But I’m also really excited to be directing Comedy of Errors this fall. I was in the show when I was an undergraduate and really fell in love with the quick-witted and physical humor of the characters. It’s also great to work with the talented students in the BFA areas of Acting and DTM.
Michelle: I am excited to get to know the students and help them achieve their goals.
Q: What’s your favorite spot (so far!) in Springfield?
Zipporah: There are a number of restaurants that I like, including Kingman coffee and Tea Bar and Bites. I’ve also started taking yoga at Sumits Yoga which is a fantastic studio.
Kyle: I’m a sucker for an old-school barbershop where I can get a great cut and straight-razor shave (don’t give me an Sweeny Todd references!). I found a place downtown called Dapper Barber—which is an appropriate name—to hang out. It’s got a pool table and a few other hidden features that make it a gathering place to just chill and relax.
Michelle: I really love Phelps Grove park. It is near my house and it’s a lovely place to take my dog, Buster, for walks.
Q: If you could give the students any piece of advice, what would it be?
Zipporah: Believe in yourself. You are enough! Exactly who you are is exactly who you should be.
Kyle: Kindness and respect—even in the face of their opposites—are not weaknesses. A person who is self-assured, capable, intelligent, and able to overcome adversity is always the person who is able to show kindness and respect even when it is not afforded to them.
Michelle: Don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes, things will work out and other times, they won’t, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what you can learn and achieve.
Q: If you could be any bear, what kind of bear would you be?
Zipporah: A baby bear! I like the little ones. Maybe a baby Panda.
Kyle: Ursa Major, the “Big Bear” constellation: a source for stories since humans have been gazing at the sky.
Michelle: I’m a mama bear. I am always willing to fight for my “kids” and once you’re family, you’re family for life.
Once again, welcome to Missouri State, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for you!