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Student Spotlight: Cambrie Gerdes

Cambrie Gerdes headshot

Class Rank: Senior

Major and Minor:

Hometown: Morgantown, WV

Why did you choose to attend WVU? Because I am from Morgantown, WVU has always been an important part of my life. I knew I wanted to pursue an artistic degree, and the scholarship opportunities along with the great faculty and experiences provided at WVU confirmed my decision to attend the university.

What do you like about your major and your WVU experience? My WVU experience encouraged me to create my own path. I went in as a Musical Theatre major, thinking that my goal was to pursue a career as a performer. The more classes I took and the more time I spent working with kids, I realized that I wanted nothing more than to inspire the next generation and to become an arts educator and business owner. I decided to major in Dance to spend more time learning from the excellent faculty members of the Dance program, all so I could teach my students the wealth of knowledge I gained from each of them. I was still able to indulge in my love of performing through the many performance opportunities provided by the WVU Dance concerts, but I continued to teach with both WVU dancers and other companies so that I could gain experience in all realms of art.

My time at WVU also inspired me to create my own business while still in college. I started NEVA Creative Arts Company in 2022 as a way to teach local youth in the arts, and raise awareness and money for childhood cancer patients and their families. The business is named after a family friend, Neva Grace Knight, who passed away from childhood cancer in 2020. We not only offer voice, dance, and acting lessons, but also are dedicated to giving a portion of proceeds to the WVU Children's Hospital in her honor. Without what I learned at WVU, I may never have took the leap and started my business so early on.

What advice would you give to prospective students considering attending WVU's College of Creative Arts?

Make your college experience your own. The preset schedules and timelines and preconceived ideas of a college education are only a suggestion. College is YOUR experience, and everyone is unique and has different needs and goals that need to be met. It's okay to change your original plan along the way, and to find new opportunities both within and outside of the university. WVU Mountaineers are a true community that will be supportive of you no matter what, before, during and after you graduate!

Have you recently received any awards or scholarships? Have you recently participated in any competitions, productions, performances or exhibitions?

Two of the dance pieces that I have choreographed, “The Deal” (2021) and “Cantina” (2022), were adjudicated and selected to be presented in WVU’s mainstage dance production, Dance Now! for 2022 and 2023. I was one of six students selected to visit with John Chambers to discuss my business and entrepreneurial endeavors. I have received a Creative Arts Scholarship for Dance, Scholarship of Distinction, the Promise Scholarship, and the Virginia Chittum Endowed Dance Scholarship (2022-2023). I have performed in four Dance Now!, four Celebration of Dance, and four Spring Showcase concerts for the WVU Dance Program.

Do you participate in any clubs or organizations?

In addition to being a member of the Student Dance Association at WVU, I have been an instructor and choreographer at many local organizations including Morgantown Theatre Company, Morgantown Dance Studio, Kat and Company, and Pizazz Dance Academy. I am the owner of NEVA Creative Arts Company, where I give private voice lessons, dance classes, and run summer intensives and workshops. NEVA Creative Arts Co. also hosts yearly donation drives for the WVU Children's Hospital.

Dance Major, Minors in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Social Media