Photo of Laura Kelly

Laura Kelly

Associate Professor, Department Chair of Journalism & Mass Communication
American University in Bulgaria

I see myself as a catalyst, an educator and a storyteller.

I became smitten with the power of the written word when I was in third grade and won a poetry contest for my entry about the color green. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter, radio talk show host, magazine editor, travel writer. I have taught journalism at a handful of American universities—Florida International University, American University, University of Florida, Northern Arizona University—and worked for 10 years as the faculty director of the European Journalism Institute in Prague, Czech Republic.

At the turn of this century I lived in Eastern Europe for eight years, working with young journalists and media outlets in Armenia, Slovakia, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria and further afield. My book, Dispatches From the Republic of Otherness, is a collection of essays about that time of teaching and learning.

I wandered away from academia for a spell. I needed the distance, needed to gauge its gravitational forces. During that time I managed a symphony orchestra, created a business school for artists and ran a performing arts high school.

In 2014 a Fulbright award took me to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for a year and reignited my passion for teaching. I have returned to it with clear, animating purpose and a strong commitment to contribute to imaginative innovation inside and outside the classroom,

I teach storytelling at the American University in Bulgaria, write a monthly column for an Arizona-based arts magazine and feel most engaged when I make things with my students. I like what Virginia Woolf had so say about this profession that I find so deeply satisfying: To teach without zest is a crime.

Personal pronouns: she/her


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