2023 Outstanding Graduates: CFPA

Design, Art and Art History, Dance, Music and Theatre

This year's Outstanding Graduates from the College of Fine and Performing Arts, selected by their faculty, include a graduate who helped launch the livestreaming program that kept CFPA performances going during the pandemic shutdown, and an artist whose study abroad in France gave them a new perspective on the accessibility of art.

WWU Communications reached out to all the 2023 Outstanding Graduates to share their stories and photos. We've been celebrating these grads on social media and here at WWU News. 

Meet the Outstanding Graduates from the College of Fine and Performing Arts: 

Wendy Dith


Wendy Dith, Design

Wendy, one of 12 students graduating from the design BFA program, maintained a 4.0 GPA in design, interned with Breville’s UX product design team, and created “Visionary,”  a publication recognizing the work of Asian-American designers. Wendy’s proud of how the publication turned out and valued the opportunity to explore her own identity as an Asian-American designer. Wendy’s professors also highlight her attention to detail and excellence when working on projects. Now, she’s excited to relax and enjoy some (well-deserved) time off after graduation before she launches her professional career.

Tesla Kawakami

Art and Art History

Tesla Kawakami, Art and Art History

Tesla’s BFA exhibition submission were three complex, multi-layered paintings that seemed to naturally build upon each other. Faculty were impressed, saying Tesla has “the drive, technical ability, and intelligence to become an innovator and leader in the arts.” They also studied art abroad in France, a transformative experience that helped them realize they want their artwork to be more accessible to a wider spectrum of people. Next, Tesla will intern at the Seattle Art Museum and prepare for a group show at the Northwest Museum of Art in La Conner, where their work will be displayed alongside their professors’. 

Bethany Lynch


Bethany Lynch, Dance

Bethany treasures the many communities she was part of at Western: the WWU Dance Team, SINI-HHA, and High Intensity. She also choreographed a piece for the department’s 2023 Winter Dances show and worked as a hip-hop dance teacher in the community. Dance faculty were impressed with Bethany’s excellence as a student, artist and arts activist, particularly her work creating a culture of inclusion in AS dance clubs, promoting body positivity, and honoring the legacy of Black dance styles. Bethany also studied abroad in South Korea for a year and interned with Bellingham TheatreWorks. 

Quin Wilder


Quin Wilder, Music

Quin was the power behind launching  Western’s student-built Music Live-Streaming Studio, which shares performances across the world and was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Quin was also the president of Western’s collegiate chapter of the Washington Music Educators Association and represented the Music Department on key campus committees. Next, Quin will continue to perform as a pianist and drummer while working as a substitute teacher for Bellingham Public Schools.

Avery Wisner


Avery Wisner, Theatre

Theatre faculty describe Avery as a natural leader, communicator and collaborator. Avery won a stage management fellowship through the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak and work with stage management professionals. They are also a stage manager at the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth in downtown Bellingham. Outside of his studies, Avery is a drag performer and a strong and active advocate for trans and queer youth, specifically in performance spaces. Avery is excited to spend time in Bellingham following graduation.

More 2023 Outstanding Grads


Coming Up:

  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Humanities Division
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division
  • College of Science and Engineering
  • Woodring College of Education
  • Interdisciplinary Programs
  • College of the Environment
  • Honors College