Mary Katherine Scott
University of Wyoming
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
Earning my Ph.D. overseas! I was a doctoral student in World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia, so I was very fortunate to live, study and work in England for several years. After I graduated, I brought my experiences and new global perspectives back to Wyoming and found new ways to contribute to UW and my community. A proud UW alumna myself, I began as a faculty member in 2013 and then had the opportunity to lead the International Programs Office a couple of years later. In this role I met many inspirational leaders from around the world and worked on some important global initiatives at UW that have myriad beneficial impacts for the Laramie community. I’m so grateful to have served in that capacity.
What is your primary personal development goal/business goal for the next 5 years?
The goal that drives me each day, both personally and professionally, is helping grow Laramie’s art and cultural opportunities. Laramie has some amazing talents and resources in these areas, and many dedicated individuals working to strengthen programming, promotion and interconnectivity. In 2015 I started working with the Laramie Main Street Alliance, the Laramie Mural Project, Laramie Public Art Coalition and a number of UW departments to strengthen the connection and collaborative efforts between “town and gown,” that is, between the university and Laramie communities. We’ve got some cool public art and community engagement projects in the pipeline that will really change the way folks think about their community and their connections to it.
What is your biggest philanthropic achievement?
What’s happening with the Laramie Mural Project right now is really motivating. I’ve been volunteering with the program administration side for a couple of years and have helped coordinate several new mural projects, promote them and seek new sources of financial support through fundraising and grant writing. It’s amazing what we can do with just a few hundred dollars! Understanding the financial side of the program has helped me be more successful in promoting the ways it enhances our community to people who could make a huge difference by supporting it.
What action or event that you've been a part of, that you believe has made the biggest difference in Laramie? Or are you most proud of?
Our collaboration with the internationally renowned artist duo Sans façon (Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees) has the potential to make a huge impact on the Laramie community. Sans façon first visited Laramie in 2015, and from that point a unique community-university partnership emerged made up of individuals who are passionate about public art and community engagement. Our collaboration with Sans façon has resulted in a multi-year research and public art project that will help connect Laramie residents in new ways. I’ve had the honor to lead the logistical side of this steering committee and keep us moving forward with our promotion, partnership, and fundraising goals.
What excites you most about the future of Laramie?
I believe Laramie can be the Art and Cultural Capital of Wyoming. All of the elements are here already: a thriving arts community and strong and regular arts programming at UW and through different cultural organizations, museums, theatres, and other local venues. Perhaps most importantly, we have broad support for enhancing this part of our community identity even further, from grass roots groups through to high-level city, university and private industry support. It’s an exciting time to be living in Laramie!
What do you think has helped make you successful in your endeavors?
Being responsive, organized and following through on my commitments have helped me be successful. Too often people get busy and become overwhelmed with responsibilities that good ideas fall through the cracks. If you can help others advance those ideas, then everybody wins.
What advice would you give to other young professionals in Laramie?
Be kind and generous. Even when you’re busy or tired, take the time to listen to what other people have to tell you. Not all of it may be helpful or relevant 100% of the time, but people appreciate being heard. And be open-minded about unsolicited advice. You never know where it might lead you.