The Center for Career and Professional Development is hosting a Creative Careers Panel and Networking event Thursday, Sept. 9 from 4-6 p.m in the Illusions room on the third floor of the UC.

Creative Careers is a panel with professionals that use their creative skills during their daily work life.  Panelists will come from a variety of backgrounds in creative fields.

After the panel, students will have the opportunity to network with the panelists. This is the perfect time to ask questions and get some great insight into how you can use your creative talents in your career and find creative careers.

The following is a list of the panelists for the event as well as some information on their professional backgrounds:

Cory Vaillancourt, Print and Broadcast Journalist

Cory is a popular print and broadcast journalist in Western North Carolina.  Some of his work has been featured by the Associated Press and viewed all over the country.  He currently serves as the Politics Editor for Smokey Mountain News.

 Teresa Pennington, Colored Pencil Artist & Owner of TPannington Art Gallery

Teresa is known as the “Artist of the Blue Ridge.”  Teresa is a self-taught colored pencil artist with a talent she says is God-given. Often spending as much as 3 or 4 months on one drawing, she meticulously renders the scenery of Western North Carolina, the Smoky Mountain National Park, and the Biltmore Estate.

Brian Allen, Musician/Music Producer & Photographer/Videographer

Brian is a former student at Western Carolina University who never completed his degree.  His life journey took several twists and turns until he picked up a guitar and changed his life one day.  As a music producer, Brian owns his own studio and works with popular artists on their music production and sound mixing.  He also owns and manages a photography/videography company that works with large businesses across the country.

Laura Paap, Interior Designer

Laura is an interior designer and owner of the Designer’s Market, Inc.  She is a Western Carolina University alum and received her bachelor’s in interior design.  She’s worked in her field for over 10 years and loves working collaboratively with other designers to meet the growing needs of customizable space and innovation in business design.

Angela Kim, Fashion Designer

Angela is a popular fashion designer who operates out of Asheville, NC, but serves clients worldwide.  As a South Korean-born New Zealander, Angela integrates her international experiences and tastes into her designs.  She specializes in custom wedding dress designs and loves incorporating her clients’ inspirations, style, and story into each dress.

For more information, contact Courtney Gauthier, Associate Director of Career Integrated Learning, at

The Creative Careers panel is also a DegreePlus Professionalism event.