Was there a specific faculty member or peer who especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?
Patricia O’Toole, by far, was the most instrumental and inspirational instructor I had while attending the School of the Arts. She asked me one pointed question on the first day of the writing workshop during my first semester that set me on a path that ended in the publication of my book, Waiting Wives: The Story of Schilling Manor, Home Front to the Vietnam War. That first question led to many, many other guiding questions I needed to confront during the 5-year process of researching and writing. Over the course of my tenure at Columbia, Patty became the mentor, the coach, and the caring instructor that a student could ever hope for during the writing process. Her belief in my ability to write the story fueled me through times of insecurity, confusion, and brick walls that are all part of the mucky creative process. I am forever in her debt because what she gave me during my time at Columbia was priceless.
How did attending the School of the Arts impact your work and career as an artist?
I grew, I learned, I published!