Career Connections Mentors
Panelists for “Career Connections Workshop” at SAM 2020:
Additional Resource People:

Heather Buchanan is an independent scholar, publisher, producer and musician. She is currently composing and producing a podcast and opera based about the Harlem Hellfighters Regimental Band of WWI, and is also producing a book and documentary based on the archives of Detroit 80s rocker and multiple award winner Carolyn Striho. The owner of an award-winning press that has launched the careers of numerous writers, Buchanan is also the owner of a film production studio. She has taught at several colleges and universities, consults for arts and cultural institutions nationwide, and has served as a conference facilitator for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IAPSM).  

The 2017 recipient of the SAM Charosh Independent Scholar Fellowship (2017), Buchanan is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University.  She is the past Chief Operations Officer for the Wayne County Council for Arts, History & Humanities, and the 2019 nominee for Michigan Humanities Champion of the Year, honored by Kerry Kennedy of the RFK Foundation.  Buchanan is a first violinist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Community Ensemble, served on the board of the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and played with the Pebble Creek Chamber Ensemble. 

Jason Hanley’s responsibility as Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, is to make sure that every guest who engages with the Rock Hall learns about the history of rock and roll and leaves inspired. He works to develop the Museum’s award-winning programs at the preK-12, university, and adult learning levels. These programs take place both on-site and online, including the newly developed Rock Hall EDU educational platform. Jason helps plan and implement all the Museum’s family events, community events and partnerships, and live concerts – including the summer concert series Rock Hall Live. He also oversees the museum’s daily operations and visitor experience in several related departments that include Visitor Services, Visitor Engagement, Security, Box Office, and AV Services. He is executive producer of the Museum’s Rock Hall Honors series and is often the face of the Rock Hall in interviews with artists, producers, and industry professionals. 

Hanley holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Stony Brook University and has been with the Rock Hall since 2004. Before coming to the Rock Hall he worked in New York as a performing musician, songwriter, record label owner, scholar, and author: his latest book, Music Lab, We Rock!: A Fun Family Guide for Exploring Rock Music History, was released in 2014. Music has always been a central focus of his life, from seeing Elvis Presley when he was only five, to performing live at the New York music club CBGBs in the early 1990s, to his current work at the Rock Hall. Hanley has spent time at the lectern teaching classes in music history, electronic music, and popular music studies at Hofstra, Cleveland State, Case Western, Cuyahoga Community College, and Stony Brook University, among others.

Anna-Lise Santella is Senior Editor for Music Reference at Oxford University Press, where she oversees commissioning in the humanities and edits all of OUP’s music reference publications, including Grove Music Online, and the music modules of Oxford Handbooks and Oxford Bibliographies. Anna-Lise holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Music from Smith College and a Masters in the History and Theory of Music from The University of Chicago, where she is ABD. Prior to her work in publishing she had a career in arts administration, serving as personnel manager, educational outreach director, marketing manager and development director for a variety of organizations, including The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque. She has also held a variety of teaching positions, serving at times as adjunct faculty instructor of musicology and ethnomusicology courses, violin teacher at rock guitar store, and even a water aerobics teacher at her neighborhood pool. Anna-Lise is also an active performer and has worked as a conductor, singer and violinist, most recently serving as the literal second fiddle in Brooklyn’s Dirty Waltz Band.

Amanda Sewell is the music director at Interlochen Public Radio (Michigan), where she manages the station’s 24-hour classical radio service. In that role, she hosts a daily program, oversees the station’s music library, interviews musicians for broadcast, facilitates community engagement events, and collaborates with local area music organizations. In a given week, she might interview the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, produce a program featuring archival recordings from Interlochen Center for the Arts, give a public lecture on the Harlem Renaissance, organize a classical music open mic night, and meet with listeners at a local orchestra concert.  

In 2019, Sewell received both the Paul Charosh Independent Scholar Fellowship and the Judith Tick Research Fellowship from the Society for American Music.  Her first book, Wendy Carlos: A Biography, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in April 2020.  She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Indiana University. Her scholarship has appeared in the Journal for the Society of American Music, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, and the Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop.  Sewell has served on the American Musicological Society Council, the AMS’s Janet Levy Award Committee, and as co-chair of the Society for American Music’s Forum for Early Career Professionals. 

Jacob Cohen specializes in Instructional Technology pedagogy and Digital Humanities, as well as Writing Across the Curriculum pedagogy. He also founded his own podcast and has worked with storyboarding, recording, and editing podcasts.  He worked as an Instructional Technology fellow with the Macaulay Honors College, CUNY, creating websites and digital humanities projects for interdisciplinary honors seminars. His expertise involves integrating technology and digital projects into existing curricula and syllabi, and adapting assignments to include digital work. As a Writing Across the Curriculum fellow at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, he worked with faculty across the disciplines to create better writing assignments and student writing habits, utilizing research on writing pedagogy and Writing Across the Curriculum best practices to integrate writing into courses. He also worked with faculty to bring writing into STEM courses that traditionally have limited writing components. He has implemented both of these pedagogical approaches into his own teaching in music appreciation and music history.  Cohen has served as adjunct faculty at Rutgers University-Newark, Baruch College, Queens College, Lehman College, and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology at Oberlin College.
Mark Davidson is the Archives Director of the American Song Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which includes The Bob Dylan Archive® and the Woody Guthrie Archive, as well as numerous smaller collections such as the papers of Cynthia Gooding, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. Mark has been helping plan and create the Bob Dylan Center, a new museum dedicated to the life and work of the musician, slated to open in the fall of 2021. Mark earned his Ph.D. in Music (cultural musicology) from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2015. His dissertation, “Recording the Nation: Folk Music and the Government in Roosevelt’s New Deal, 1936–1941” is a two-volume study of government-sponsored folk music in the United States during the Great Depression. While he was finishing up his PhD, Mark pursued an MSIS in information studies at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information, with a focus on academic librarianship, music archiving, and audio preservation. He has worked for the Journal of the Society for American Music since 2008, first as assistant editor, then as editorial associate/copy editor (2011–present). His research interests include popular and folk music, music and copyright, and music archives. Mark’s most recent essay, “Blood in the Stacks: Talking Bob Dylan, Archives, and Tulsa, Oklahoma,” will be included in the forthcoming volume on Dylan titled The World of Bob Dylan (Cambridge University Press, 2021).
Jayson Kerr Dobney is the Curator in Charge of the Department of Musical Instruments at The Metropolitan Museum. He recently curated the exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” and supervised the reinstallation of the Museum’s André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments.  He is also serving as president of the American Musical Instrument Society (2018–21).  Dobney holds a master of music degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion.  He was Associate Director at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota before joining The Met as an Associate Curator.  Publications include “Asian Musical Instruments at The Metropolitan Museum” in the journal Arts of Asia (2019), “Royal Kettledrums from the House of Hanover” in the Galpin Society Journal (2016); he was lead author for the exhibition catalog Play It Loud (2019) and co-authored Musical Instruments: Highlights of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2015).
Ashley Geer Hedrick, in her first full-time job after completing a PhD in musicology at Florida State University, is working as an elementary librarian at a STEAM-focused magnet school, where she is responsible for all library-related duties, as well as teaching classes in K-2 library skills. 

Her path to this job grew out of a discovery she made while organizing archival material at National Federation of Music Clubs’ archive. This work associated with her dissertation helped her recognize that she loved working with the physical archival/library materials as much as she enjoyed researching them. To combine her love for music, librarianship, teaching, and researching (without a degree in library science), she checked into local public-school positions in both music education and media specialty, including substituting for a year, during which she found herself drawn to working with elementary-age children.  

As a school librarian, she is entirely responsible for all library-related duties, including book repair, cataloging, weeding, and collection development. She plans and runs two book fairs each year (in Fall 2019 selling more than $10,000 worth of books and accessories). To defend the need for libraries, and by extension full-time librarians, in all public schools, she keeps track of data in various fields (i.e. circulation numbers, types of books circulated, student performance in accelerated reader, average time students spend engaged in reading). She also works with teachers to enhance their curriculum with resources from the library. She leads a book-reading competition club that participates in the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award, helping prepare groups to compete against other schools in Polk County. She currently serves as Vice President of the Polk Educational Media Association. With all that, she is  still able to freelance as a bassoonist/contrabassoonist on nights and weekends.

Eric Hung is Executive Director of the Music of Asian America Research Center, and Adjunct Lecturer in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on Asian American music and public musicology. Current projects include a book on trauma and cultural trauma in Asian American music and an edited volume on public musicology. Hung is also an active pianist, conductor and gamelan musician who has performed in Germany, Austria, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, and throughout North America. Prior to joining the nonprofit world full-time, he was a tenured professor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. He is co-director of the Westminster Chinese Music Ensemble, and has served as executive director and interim president of New York–based Gamelan Dharma Swara. Hung holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University and an MLIS in Archives and Digital Curation from the University of Maryland. 

Susan Key is a public musicologist. She works on projects for the Star Spangled Music Foundation and baritone Thomas Hampson’s “Song of America” initiative. Formerly she was Special Projects Director at the San Francisco Symphony, where she worked on a variety of projects in media and education. Most recently, she was based at Chapman University, where she taught in the honors program and coordinated a partnership with the Pacific Symphony.  She holds a PhD from the University of Maryland at College Park.  

Dr. Key’s publications include articles on Stephen Foster, on John Cage, and on arts education, as well as a chapter in a forthcoming book on the symphony in the U.S. She has developed public programs for the San Francisco Symphony, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has served on the boards of the Society for American Music, the Los Angeles Public Library, and the chamber music organization Pacific Serenades.  

Nicole Powlison provides administrative assistance to local orchestras in Northern Virginia – Amadeus Concerts and the Arlington Philharmonic. She is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Catholic University of America.  The orchestras do not have a physical office so the work is mostly remote and off-peak hours. She is responsible for things we might think of as “office” work (answering patron emails and inquiries, answering phone calls, selling tickets, securing advertisements and helping to prepare the programs, etc.) as well as running the Front-of-House for concerts (selling tickets at the door, volunteer wrangling, etc.). Another important duty is to assist with preparing grant applications for our state and local government, which involves collating financial and attendance information, proposing projects, and creating application narratives.  Nicole has an MA and PhD in musicology from Florida State University.  She found her jobs in orchestra administration via networking, submitting her resume to an Artistic and Executive Director who managed both orchestras. After a successful interview she was hired for one position, and shortly later receive an offer for the other position. 

Andrew Virdin is a high school English, Acting, and Creative Writing teacher in Estes Park, Colorado. He recently designed a new course for the Estes Park High School—20th Century American Music as Literature.  He currently spends his time working to enhance Culturally Responsive Teaching in the district, and works with the Colorado Education Association as an Ambassador Fellow and is creating cultural audits for classroom teachers. This is his 8th year teaching high school, and he has been involved in a variety of pedagogical professional development at the local, state, and federal level. 

Andrew holds a Masters in Education with a Focus on Secondary Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  He is an independent scholar in Ethnic Studies, with an emphasis on 20th-century African-American literature. In 2016 he co-directed the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute “From Harlem to Hip-hop.”  He was awarded the Society for American Music’s Paul Charosh Independent Scholar fellowship for 2018. 

Reba Wissner juggles a career as an adjunct with that of a faculty developer and professional academic editor. She currently teaches as an adjunct across four institutions, works as a freelance editor for academic writers, and facilitates faculty development workshops in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tri-state area. Her specialty in faculty development lies in professional development efforts for contingent faculty, active learning, and syllabus design.  She is pursuing a graduate certificate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University, and holds an MFA and PhD in musicology from Brandeis University and a B.A. in Music and Italian from Hunter College. 

She is the author of articles on seventeenth-century Venetian opera, Italian immigrant theater in New York City, and television music of the 1950s and 1960s, and has presented her research at conferences throughout the United States and Europe. Her publications on film and television music can be found in journals such as Music and the Moving Image; Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; The Journal of Film Music; and The Journal of Popular Television. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a travel grant to Venice from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for dissertation research, a James and Sylvia Thayer Short-Term Fellowship from UCLA, a Wallis Annenberg Research Grant from University of Southern California, and a Theodore C. Sorensen Fellowship from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. She is the author of A Dimension of Sound: Music in The Twilight Zone and We Will Control All That You Hear: The Outer Limits and the Aural Imagination, and is completing her third book, Music and the Atomic Bomb in American Television: 1950-1969.

Catherine Hennessy Wolter is a professional grant writer, a job that grew out of her practical experience writing proposals for herself, to support fellowships and archival research. She began transferring these skills over to more general grant writing in 2016, when her path crossed with a wonderful Michigan-based music education nonprofit in need of immediate help. She learned on the job at first, but since then has taken courses through the Minnesota Counsel of Nonprofits on advanced grant writing and evaluation strategies for arts projects. 

Today, Catherine works primarily with a single music nonprofit. She does a bit of everything day to day: writes and edit grants and grant reports; works with music instructors to tailor grant requests to fit program needs; maintains close communication with the organization’s leadership and with established grantors; and researches potential new grants. She also occasionally works with individual artists on one-off grants to support arts projects. She finds this work especially satisfying, in part because during the course of the drafting and editing process she witnesses artists work out and articulate the precise vision and goals they have for a given project. A significant part of grant writing is simply excellent storytelling, whether working with an organization or an individual.

Grant writing has become a significant and especially rewarding component of her professional work. Thinking in practical terms, grant writing has provided some financial stability during her early teaching career.

Catherine will be happy to interface with SAM members about getting into grant writing professionally, or she can serve as a resource for those looking for an extra set of eyes on a grant.