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A study in moonlighting: WVU faculty take their talents outside the classroom


WVU faculty member Melissa Morris decorates a cake. 

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Between them, faculty at West Virginia University have hundreds of degrees and areas of expertise. Some of them also have “hidden talents” they use to engage others through community service and to create beauty in different ways.


Quotes and Comments 

“Cake decorating may seem like a peculiar hobby for an engineering professor, but there is something therapeutic about using the other side of my brain to create a product people enjoy.”— Melissa Morris, teaching assistant professor, Freshman Engineering Program, baker

Melissa Morris WVU Faculty Page


“I've always believed in giving back to the community in whatever way I can. I enjoy giving people the opportunity to share their talents—whether it's on the basketball court, on the ice or in readings of their work.” — Mark Brazaitis, director of the Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, deputy mayor of Morgantown, volunteer basketball coach, co-director learn-to-skate program

Mark Brazaitis WVU Faculty Page

“I enjoy playing and singing tunes from the great American song book. Although it's far removed from my day job in the department of Physics and Astronomy, I do get the same sense of enjoyment at discovering and learning new tunes as I do from discoveries and learning at work!”— Duncan Lorimer, astronomy professor, musician,

Duncan Lorimer WVU Faculty Page

Sugar Maple Facebook Page

Duncan Lorimer Solo Albums

Duncan Lorimer on YouTube

Duncan Lorimer Bio  

“I was a ballerina in my former life/career and I have a BFA in Dance. I started teaching ballet again a few years ago, so that I could train my own two daughters. I truly love all of my dancers and feel very blessed to have the ability to be involved in developing the arts here in Morgantown. For me, teaching ballet is returning to my roots and it feels like my life has come full circle...for me it gives me balance.” — Naomi Boyd, chair, Department of Finance, ballet instructor

Naomi Boyd WVU Faculty Page 

“As a History professor, I spend most of my time using my brain. Playing blues allows me to access a different part of myself - something less intellectual and more visceral. I’ve also always found community playing music, and have met so many great people over the years."—Joshua Arthurs, associate professor of history, musician

Joshua Arthurs WVU Faculty Page


Target Audience:
People with hobbies


People interested in public service

People interested in performing 



Melissa Morris

Mark Brazaitis

Duncan Lorimer

Naomi Boyd

Joshua Arthurs

University Relations