What do you do all day?

Bonnie Alger

Stop by Sampson House, and you’ll see that a fresh new face has been added to President Jill Beck’s office. The name that goes with that face is Jasmine Yep, who arrived at Lawrence on October 28. Yep will be staying here over the course of the next two years to assist with the ArtsBridge program.
Yep became an ArtsBridge Scholar during the 1999-2000 school year, while she was a student at University of California-Irvine. The program had been founded only three short years earlier by Beck, who was, at that time, the dean of the School of the Arts. Yep cites Beck as being “a mentor for many years … she works you to your potential. There are so many great things … [she’s] inspirational, encouraging … has a vision that is attainable.” Yep climbed the ladder, rising from mentor, to administrative assistant, to program coordinator at the regional and state levels, and finally to program coordinator at the national level.
So, what exactly is ArtsBridge? “Bringing the visual and performing arts into K-12 classes … [we] make it a part of the school day,” said Yep. Currently, the program is established at 19 universities, all across the country and on the other side of the ocean in Northern Ireland.
University students with an interest in the arts can apply to be a scholar. Scholars are responsible for coming up with a project proposal, meeting regularly with a faculty mentor, and then presenting their proposed project in a local school, under the supervision of a cooperating teacher, through 25 hours of teaching between Jan.18 and June 10. By the time the student has written lesson plans, and included prep and cleanup time, they have put in well beyond 25 hours of time.
ArtsBridge seeks not only to integrate arts into other areas of a student’s school curriculum, but also to encourage university students to become “teaching artists.”
“You learn how to be patient, improvise, answer silly questions,” said Yep. For her first ArtsBridge project, Yep worked with a third grade class that was English and Hispanic. Many of the students were bilingual in English and Spanish, while others spoke little or no English. She taught them about Chinese culture through music, theater and a variety of arts projects.
Yep was initially drawn to ArtsBridge by an interest in arts administration. She holds degrees in dance and business management, and a minor in East Asian studies. While a student at Irvine, she studied musical theater in New York City, and business commerce in England. She enjoys working with the community and being involved with events that are geared towards younger children.
Originally from Sacramento, Calif., Yep is enjoying Lawrence and Wisconsin so far, despite the chilly and often unpredictable weather. “I really look forward to working here,” she said with a smile, amidst chuckles about having to buy warmer clothing.
Stop by Jasmine Yep’s office on the first floor of Sampson House with question about ArtsBridge or to pick up an application.