Laurie Melnik is the Executive Director of the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). At SCEA, Laurie facilitates capacity building in arts education for a variety of schools and communities through mapping assets, clarifying outcomes, aligning initiatives, and cultivating impactful narratives. Her work in program development and evaluation employs design thinking principles and embraces a "backwards planning" approach. She is a member of Americans for the Arts, participates on the Collegiate Advisory Council for the Educational Theatre Association, and serves on the Community Advisory Board for WTCI. She was awarded the 2017 Grantsperson of the Year for the College of Arts Sciences at UTC and has been nominated multiple times (2016, 2017, and 2018) for 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.