The University of Arizona College of Fine Arts recognizes a staff member each year for their dedication to the university and its students. This year, the "Excellence in Service" award was awarded to Kerryn Negus, director of advancement and external relations at the UA School of Theatre, Film and Television. Multiple students wrote letters in support of her nomination which made the award that much more special, according to Negus.
“The Excellence in Service Award’s criteria includes exceptional knowledge of and service to their position, and [they must] demonstrate initiative in providing assistance to Arizona Arts faculty and staff,” according to the dean of the College of Fine Arts, Andy Schulz.
In her role as director of advancement, Negus creates and oversees public relations and opportunities for the visibility of the students and audiences. One of Negus’s responsibilities is in festival awards advancement where she aids students in submitting and accepting nominations for films and performances.
In the past few years of her work, students were selected for more than 50 film festivals including the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards and Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. These high profile festivals help students gain and expand their networks in the film industry.
“I have had the great privilege of working one to one with students in this mentorship role, and that has been incredibly gratifying because I get a great understanding of who our students are,” Negus said.
She explained that the film and television industry can be difficult to get into, but with help from her and other staff members at the College of Fine Arts, they are able to connect students with alumni and opportunities that are beneficial to their future careers. Building an industry network may be one of the best routes for students.
Negus will be attending an alumni event in Los Angeles to cultivate connections which her students may gain from in the future. The excitement of alumni networking as we emerge from the pandemic is another responsibility Negus takes on for the betterment of the program.
Negus didn’t fail to mention the amazing faculty and staff she works with who make the fine arts programs run successfully. Many of her colleagues have also won awards for excellence in their own category, demonstrating why the acting and musical theatre in the College of Fine Arts at the UA ranks 15 in the top 25 BFA theatre programs in the country, Negus explained.
As Negus continues her work with students, she hopes to offer more connections and internships due to the changes in tax policies for production in Arizona. Productions in Arizona will receive a refundable tax credit of up to 20%, leading to a boom in film within the area. Students may no longer have to travel for their industry.
Negus explained the joy of getting to give back to an industry that she worked in for many years. She was a part of a multitude of festivals across the world and received many awards for her own productions. Her excellence in service is well deserved as she continues to inspire her students.
Follow Ellen Nangia on Twitter