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Campus auditorium awaiting an audience

New talent

This fall the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts warmly welcomes nine new faculty and staff members into the fold: Justin Amellio, Aimee Cole, Geoffrey Duce, Sean Hottois, Casey Lard, Jessica  McCormack, Jason Lee Resler, Kari Wilson, and Alexander Blatt.


Justin AmellioJustin Amellio

Assistant Professor of Theatre, Acting and Directing

As far back as I remember theatre has been my passion. I've been performing and directing professionally for more than half of my life. I've been fortunate enough to run companies, direct and choreograph in Chicago, New England and Richmond, Va. where I earned my M.F.A. in Theatre Pedagogy (Movement/Musical Theatre) from Virginia Commonwealth University. It all started when I was 4, roping my cousins into performing musicals with me in my Aunt’s living room.  I knew then that this would be my life, and to share my passion with the students of IU South Bend in my new position makes me the happiest guy in town. 

Aimee ColeAimee Cole

Lecturer in Theatre and Costume Shop Manager

I was born and raised in Michigan. I have my B.S. from Michigan State University and my M.F.A. in Costume Technology from Florida State University. I have worked in many professional theatres. My most interesting job was making occupational hats for Sesame Street Live characters. I love to travel; impulsive road trips are the best. I look forward to my annual trip to Disney World with my husband and two daughters. I can cross learning to play the guitar and running a half marathon off my bucket list. I accomplished both after turning 40.

Geoffrey DuceGeoffrey Duce

Assistant Professor of Music, Collaborative Piano

As a pianist, I find each type of performance has its own challenge and joy, whether in the spotlight as a soloist, or in dialogue for chamber music. Music fascinates me, from determining what the composer is trying to express to the tactile sensations of the keyboard. I love sharing that passion with others.

I’m inspired by new environments. After growing up in Scotland, I lived in Berlin for a few years, where, apart from making music, I learned German (and enjoyed the sausage and beer), before spending the most recent period of my life in New York City.

Sean HottoisSean Hottois

Assistant Professor of New Media

I have lived in and around Indiana for the most of my life with about half that time spent in New Albany. Born into a theatre family, I worked on many shows up until college. I worked as a spotlight operator, audio technician, gaffer, stage hand, stage manager, carpenter, set painter, lighting designer,and electrical journeyman, to name a few. My artistic endeavors are my passion and I continue to enjoy my work in print and web design while developing new interactive art.

As for leisure, Hoosiers have a few predilections when it comes to pastimes. Racing and basketball often top the list. At 5'7'' it’s no surprise the little 500 bike race in Bloomington and the Indianapolis 500 are more my style than basketball.

Casey LardCasey Lard

Lecturer in Drawing and Painting

My childhood in Louisiana and rural Pennsylvania was rich in art and academia. My mother is a painter and my father is an art professor. This ensured my exposure to the kind of artistic community that academia provides. That community of students and teachers is what I look forward to most about being at IU South Bend.

I received an M.F.A. from Tulane University in 2010. During graduate school in New Orleans, I frequented the French Quarter and enjoyed crawfish boils and Mardi Gras (see me if you are planning a trip).

I love to cook, sew, kayak, and listen to audio books and NPR. Oh yeah, and I love to paint.

Jessica McCormackJessica McCormack

Assistant Professor of Voice

I am a soprano originally from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. When I am not on the concert stage or teaching in my studio, you will quite often find me in the kitchen experimenting with new culinary creations! I hold degrees from the University of Toronto, Southern Methodist University, and the University of North Texas. My areas of interest include premiering new works, Baroque performance, women in music, and vocal health. In addition to singing and cooking, I enjoy traveling and sharing a good laugh with friends. I am married to a fabulous trumpet player, Edward Phillips, and we reside with our two native Texan cats, Cleo and Poncho.

Jason ReslerJason Lee Resler

Assistant Professor of Theatre, Costume Design and Makeup

I blame The Muppets take Manhattan and ShowBiz Pizza for inciting my career in theatre. I received my M.F.A. from the University of Minnesota and have a background as a professional costume designer and technician with various theatre companies in Minneapolis and around the country. I have worked as a costume shop manager with Stages St. Louis and the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and as a wardrobe supervisor with Disney on Ice. I also ran away to join the circus where I helped costume elephants for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey. I am a fan of musical theatre and have a fascination with liturgical clothing.

Kari WilsonKari Wilson

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Teaching has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Being in the classroom is probably the most energizing part of my day. I love that I learn as much from my students as I (hopefully) teach them.

While not in the classroom, I enjoy exploring, whether it’s a new restaurant, a new location, a new recipe, or a new idea. I try to do something new each weekend if I can.

I am also an avid bowler and reader and love coming home to my dog Sophie at the end of a long day.

Alexander Blatt

Stage Manager

My first performing contact was with Ringling Brother’s Circus, 1987, as a clown and trampoline acrobat. Since then I have studied theatre at DePaul University, attained my SAG card and became a professional stagehand. My first backstage experience was at age three, waiting at the Kennedy Center for my father as he rehearsed with the National Symphony Orchestra. There’s something magical about “backstage” at great facilities, like we have at IU South Bend.