Stephanie Coley is sharing her passion for art on a daily basis through her work at the West Nebraska Arts Center in Scottsbluff. The 2016 Concordia graduate has been serving as the center’s program manager since March—where she helps coordinate workshops, exhibitions and events.
“I love being creative and this job allows me to do that,” Coley said. “I also get to meet great, fascinating people.”
As program manager, Coley, is responsible for bringing new ideas and potential artists to the center, in addition to handling the center’s finances. The center offers many youth programs including art classes, camps and an after school art program, among hosting numerous special events throughout the year. A native of nearby Gering, Nebraska, Coley cherishes the opportunity to share her passion for art with her hometown community.
“I am so happy that I get the chance to be part of this center,” Coley said. “Art has always been important to me. It has shaped who I am today. Having the ability to spread art and its importance throughout my community is absolutely awesome. I am blessed to be in this position.”
Coley majored in English, because her ultimate goal is to be an author, but she always had a love for art. During her junior year, after talking with her adviser, Dr. Laurie Zum Hofe, she decided to minor in art as a way to make herself more marketable.
At Concordia, Coley had to balance her time between track and field, music, her studies and a job. No matter where she was spending her time, she excelled—as an All-American thrower for the track and field team, as an Alto in the University A Cappella Choir and she graduated in the top 10% of her class.
“While I was in school, I worked really hard,” Coley said. “I had a lot of hats to wear. I had to learn how to manage my time and that skill has really come in handy. I remember having so much to do in college, much like I do now. But I got through it by remembering I have to take one day at a time. That lesson is important as I go through my day now. I really appreciate the classes I took at Concordia, they helped me think outside the box.”
Reflecting on her time at Concordia, Coley said she felt supported by teachers, staff members and Ed McLaughlin, her throwing coach.
“I will always cherish the years I spent at Concordia and how the people around me helped me reach my goals,” she said. “My plan is to continue my artistic journey and spread the word about how amazing the arts are. The arts have truly changed my life and I hope to help others see that it can do the same for them.”