Laurie Melnik is the Executive Director of the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) where she also oversees theatre education programming for the center. At SCEA, Laurie teaches and advises K-12 teacher candidates in the performing arts as well as cultivates arts-based partnerships across diverse populations and interdisciplinary contexts. Culturally responsive pedagogy and asset-based community development are central to Laurie’s work in helping communities activate creative skillsets in solving systemic problems. She is a member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and serves on both the Collegiate Advisory Council for the Educational Theatre Association and the Community Advisory Board for WTCI. She was recently recognized as the 2017 Grantsperson for the Year for the College of Arts Sciences at UTC as well as a 2016 and 2017 nominee of the UT President Award, the University of Tennessee system’s highest employee honor. She has an M.F.A in Theatre with a concentration in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida and an M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.