Featured Alumni

A Theatre Degree from UMBC can lead to a number of diverse career paths. Featured here is just a small sampling of what some of the UMBC Department of Theatre Graduates have done after graduation.

If you are a UMBC Theatre Alumni, let us know what you’re up to! We love hearing from alumni.

Kelli Blackwell, ’02 
Kelli is currently on the first national tour of the Broadway musical, Amazing Grace. She serves as the Director of Casting & Artistic Programming for her theatre company, ArtsCentric, which is based in Baltimore. Kelli is also a teaching artist and freelance actor who has, and continues, to work on various regional stages.
Ramon Burris, ’17
Ramon is 1 of 7 selected to attend The Shiley Graduate Theatre Program at The Old Globe in conjunction with University of San Diego in Fall 2018. He has performed in the area with The Interrobang Theatre Company, and with his devised ensemble group The Hallucination Project. His project The Big Thank You was awarded honors at Charm City Fringe Festival.
Erick Chavarria, ’05
Erick was born and raised in Guatemala before moving to the United States for college. On stage he has appeared as Valentin in The Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Marmeladov in an original production of Crime & Punishment. Some notable television and film credits include Get Hard, Eastbound & Down, The Bridge, Back in The Game, and Southland.
McKenzie Chinn, ’06
McKenzie is an actor, writer and filmaker, living and working in Chicago. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from The Theatre School at DePaul where she was a Sarah Siddons Scholar. In 2015, she was one of five fellowship recipients for the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Visual and Performing Arts – more about that here. Read more about her HatchFund.org or see her interview on filmcourage.com. McKenzie was named Bentonville Film Foundation Fellow by Geena Davis in 2019.
William K. D’Eugenio, ’15
Wiliam is a Helen Hayes award winning Freelance Lighting and Sound Designer. He has designed for the Kennedy Center, RepStage, Olney Theatre Center, and Theatre J (just to name a few). An online portfolio is available at WilliamkDEugenio.com.
Daphne Gardner, ’09
Daphne currently lives in NY and is currently a Producer, Director, and editor for Comedy Central. Learn more about her at DaphneGardner.com.
Marianne Hayden, ’03
Marianne is a Linehan Artist scholar who received an MFA from The California Institute of the Arts. Marianne found a career in animation after UMBC and has worked at a range of studios, including Naughty Dog, Inc. Along with being a professional animator Hayden uses her theater background to direct motion capture shoots as well as act on the motion capture stage. You can read an interview with her at Behind the Cinematic.
Katie Hileman, ’12
Katie is the founding Artistic Director of The Interrobang Theatre Company of Baltimore. She’s also a freelance actor who has appeared on numerous stages, including RepStage and FringeNYC. Katie is currently pursuing her MFA in Theatre at Towson University.
Gbenga Idowu, ’04Gbenga is a producer and director known for White Rasta (2010), Symptoms of Love (2014) and Life of Pi (2012). He is currently Manager of the International Post-Production Department at 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles, CA. Jonathan Jacobs, ’13Jonathan is the Youth Opportunities Coordinator at Baltimore Youth Arts, an arts education and job readiness program focused on youth who have had contact with the justice system. Jonathan is also a freelance actor who has appeared in productions with companies such as Chesapeake Shakespeare Theatre, Annex Theater, Iron Crow Theatre, and Single Carrot Theatre.
Rachel Hirshorn Johnston, ’04
Rachel is an Asst. Professor of Voice & Speech at Texas Tech University, s certified Associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework, and a founding Artistic Associate of Outpost Repertory Theatre (www.outpostrep.org). Rachel coaches regionally in professional theatre and with private clients (corporate, government) on presentation skills and dialect modification. She also performs regularly around the country and internationally, and is an active member of VASTA, PAVA, and AEA. Learn more at RachelHirshorn.com.
Katie Kopajtic, ’11
Katie is a multidisciplinary artist with interests in film and solo performance. After graduating college, she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a ten episode web series called BFA. In 2017, Katie performed her solo show Confessions of a Personal Trainer at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She is currently working to produce her short film “The Actor”. Learn more here: http://www.thisiskatiek.com/.
Ellen Line, ’10
Ellen has held administrative positions at Baltimore Theater Project and Trinity Repertory Company, but love took her to Austin, TX. While in Texas she worked as a Teaching Artist with Creative Action and then decided upon graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jeremy Mayo, ’17Jeremy is is a Lighting Designer based in the Baltimore/Washington metro area. He is currently the resident Master Electrician at Florida Repertory Theatre, as well as the Lighting Designer for their professional conservatory. Learn more at JeremyMayo.com.
Matthew McGloin, ’05 
Matthew is an actor/performer based in New York City.  He has appeared on TV/Film as well as at several Off-Broadway and regional theaters.  He also works as a musician, teaching artist, model, and burlesque performer.  His most recent projects include the musical The Hello Girls (59E59/Prospect Theatre Company) and the regional premiere of The Play That Goes Wrong (Repertory Theatre St. Louis). You can always find out the latest going on with this multitalented actor at MatthewMcGloin.com.
Damon Meledones,‘09
Damon is a photographer, cinematographer, and digital imaging technician living in the Washington, D.C. area. Learn more at his website CameraDamon.com.
Eric Messner, ’01
Eric is a freelance AEA Actor who has worked his UMBC trained acting skills in Film, Television, and on the stage. Read about his UMBC experience. And check out the latest from him at EricMMessner.com.
Jeff Miller, ’15Jeff is a freelance actor and teaching artist. He currently works as a Teaching Artist for both the Drama Learning Center and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. Jeff will attend Mary Baldwin University in Fall 2018 to pursue his graduate studies.
Susan Mohr, ’75
Susan, better known as Tootsie Duvall, has appeared in numerous films and television series. She has worked steadily as an actress since her graduation. Read more about her experiences and her Retriever story here.
Aaron Moss, ’07 
Aaron has worked as an NYC based actor, appearing in over a dozen national commercials, recording voiceover narrations for books and films, and appearing in TV shows on NBC and HBO. Aaron graduated from Yale School of Drama in 2010 with an MFA in Acting, and moved onto an award winning stage career. Aaron is an Assistant Professor of Theater at SUNY Buffalo State.
Erica Lauren Ortiz, ’06
Erica is the CEO of The Brandprint in New Jersey. The Brandprint is a full-service strategy and production firm specializing in the development of digital brand capital. You can read her UMBC story hereErica is currently the Director of Marketing for Theatre Communications Group (TCG).
Kiirstn Pagan, ’11Kiirstn is a creative director, photographer, graphic designer, and theatre producer. She is Co-Founder of the The Interrobang Theatre Company, alongside other UMBC Theatre alumni, and has overseen all Interrobang brand identity development and marketing campaigns over its five-year existence. She has previously worked on the in house marketing teams at Baltimore Center Stage and Everyman Theatre. See her latest work at www.kiirstnpagan.com.
Dan Rodaire, ’15 
Dan is an up-and-coming playwright in NYC, where he’s created new plays and musicals for The Tank, Dixon Place, Bizarre Bushwick and site-specific theatre on Wall Street; and founded Mom’s Insurance, a group for young playwrights. He was recently accepted into Undiscovered Countries’ Development Lab for his new play, THE FACE OF HER REJECTION.
Sara Ross, ’11Sara is the Education Manager at URTA in New York. Upon leaving UMBC she was the Program Coordinator of International Programing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Lena Salins, ’12
Lena Salins is the Production Coordinator for Community Engagement at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC.  Her team produces performances 365 days a year on the Millennium Stage. In the position she is also the Festival Coordinator for the Page to Stage Playwriting Festival at the Kennedy Center. While serving as the production manager at GALA Hispanic, the production of In The Heights won 9 Helen Hayes Awards out of 18 nominations. She also serves as an ambassador for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Lena is a strong advocate for seeking social justice through the performing arts.
Alexander Scally, ’09 
Alex is currently working as a freelance actor around the Baltimore Area. He is also the lead teaching artist at Single Carrot Theatre in Baltimore, MD.
Renata Melillo Townsend, ’08 
Renata is the Assistant Director of Education/Public Engagement, overseeing family engagement content and programs of The New Victory. She is a member of Trusty Sidekick Theater Company. As an actor and puppeteer she has appeared at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Park Avenue Armory and Classic Stage Company. She is additionally a consultant and Teaching Artist for Lincoln Center Theater, Opening Act, Circle in the Square Theatre School.
Shaun Vain, ’17
Shaun Vain is a writer. Current projects include novels, collaborations, and news pieces. As a freelance writer, Shaun offers clients writing services for products like white papers, transcripts, web content, and more creative content. He stays in touch with the Baltimore theatre community by writing a bi-monthly column called “Behind the Mask” for Charm City Fringe Festival. He travels too much for most people but he says he likes it.
Kathryn Whitley, ‘04
Katie Fraser Whitley is a high school English and Theatre Arts teacher, and 2014 recipient of the M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teaching Award from the NJ Council of Teachers of English. Katie received a Masters in Contemporary Literary Theory from Goldsmiths University and will be beginning her PhD in Teacher Education and Development at Montclair State University this fall. She directs an all female Shakespeare troupe, who won the Socially Engaged Shakespeare Award at the NJ Shakespeare Theatre’s Shakespearience Festival in 2017.
Brigitte Winter, ‘05
Brigitte is the Executive Director of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award-winning professional theater based out of Washington, DC. After UMBC, Brigitte pursued a Masters in Public Relations and Corporate Communications and a post-graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University, where she continues to teach as an adjunct instructor. Brigitte is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award from the UMBC Alumni Association. Read more about Brigitte here.
Paul Kelm, ‘03
Paul has been working in the Automation field for nearly 15 years with experience in all aspects of the industry ranging from small regional theatres to Las Vegas Cirque Du Soleil productions and anything in between. Paul has experience in all facets of automation and has the ability to design and fabricate both electrical and mechanical systems as well as create custom software solutions. He is the Owner/CEO of Verendus Industries. Paul earned his M.F.A in Stage Automation from North Carolina School of the Arts.
Benjamin Nabinger, ’16
Ben is a costume designer and technician currently working with Lexington Children’s Theatre as their Costume Shop Manager. In the fall of 2019, he will begin working towards his MFA in Costume Design at UCLA. He has designed costumes with AthensWest Theatre Company, The Naples Players, and Lexington Children’s Theatre to name a few. His portfolio is available at bennabinger.com.