She then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Iowa State University in 2012. After one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, she moved to Ada, OK where she now lives and works as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at East Central University. While most of her career in higher education has focused on mathematics, Lastrina also has a background in art and particularly enjoys the beauty and interdisciplinary nature of mathematical art. As a student, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to take a Math Sculpture course at Smith College in Northampton, MA and as a professor, she enjoys incorporating artistic visualizations into the various mathematics courses that she teaches to university students. As a board member of the Ada Arts Council, Lastrina hopes to spread her passion for art throughout the Ada community and she is very excited to be involved with the Council's new Art Box project for area schools.
Deanna Piercy grew up in Southern California and moved to Oklahoma in 1980. She attended East Central University where she received her B.A. in English with a minor in Journalism. She later received a B.S. in Nursing from ECU and worked as charge nurse and assistant nurse manager in the Rehab Unit at Valley View then as a case manager for Community Hospice. She then homeschooled her two children for almost a decade while also serving as contributing editors of both a homeschooling magazine and a religious publication. Deanna, along with her husband David, founded Happyland Music Alliance in 2014 and the nonprofit, HMA Foundation, in 2016. They are both active in the community, serving on various arts and music-related boards and committees and were the recipients of the 2014 Outstanding Adans in the Arts award. Deanna has blogged since 2006, currently blogging at Life With Dee. She also administers the popular Facebook group, "What's Happening, Ada?".
Jamie Pittman earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with a Minor in Art from East Central University. Pittman has served on many creative teams in the role of project manager for both print and digital delivery in a corporate setting since earning her degree. She graduated from the local university and attained a career in her field of study in her home town. She feels very fortunate. She is a working artist in her spare time working in acrylics and multi-media collage. As a board member of Ada Arts Council Pittman serves on the scholarship committee and the events planning committee. I think art affects our lives every day, from the billboards we pass on the way to work, the clothes we wear and to the magazines, we flip through in our downtime. All must be created by an artist. Working in the corporate setting provides an opportunity to work with talented artists share in the innovations and direction of the projects.
Maria Ruiz-Blanco is a 3rd-grade teacher at Washington Grade Center. She has lived in Ada for 10 years with her husband Steve Benton and their three children. Maria was born in Colombia, grew up in Argentina, and graduated from high school in Spain. She then entered Pontificia Comillas University in Madrid, where she earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Education. She met her husband in Madrid, and after getting married, they moved to China, where they taught English for four years. In 1998, they moved to Chicago where Maria taught in three different elementary schools and completed her National Board Certification. She was nominated for the Drive Award and the Golden Apple award and was also a featured teacher in an Annenberg Media documentary about using Book Club pedagogy in the classroom. Growing up, Maria was surrounded by art and music and was encouraged to take art and music lessons, but she never felt that she was herself an artist. She doesn’t want her students to feel that way, though, so she always tells them “everyone is an artist,” and she strives to create lessons that integrate science and art in her reading classes.
Destiny Rosato holds a BS in Visual Merchandising and Marketing from Metropolitan State University (2014) and an MS in Human Resource Administration from EastCentral University (2017). Destiny currently serves as the Membership Development Manager for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. Her service for the council includes the promotion of growth and leadership opportunities for volunteers and young woman.
Destiny was born and raised in Ada, OK. It is here in Pontotoc County where she developed her love for the arts. Her personal philosophy is “Life is a piece of work. There will be themes of colors and concepts just as there are seasons in life. Sometimes we need to connect or capture the world around us. While some moments are meant purely to recover. I hope to inspire others to never give up on a dream or passion. Do what you love and love yourself for who you are”.
Destiny is also a member of Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, the Ada Artist Association, and the Holdenville Society of Painters and Sculptors.
Kellie Cooper-Turner is originally from southern Arkansas, moved to Oklahoma in 2002. She and her husband, Nate, a local blacksmith, came to Ada in 2010 for Kellie to pursue a degree in Graphic Arts at East Central University. In 2014 she became a Graphic Designer for the Chickasaw Nation and decided to make Ada her permanent home. Since coming to Ada, she has witnessed first-hand the growing involvement of the community in local art, music, and theater which, in turn, has moved her to become more involved, herself. She soon started participating in local music shows and even acted for the first time with the Chickasaw Nation Theater Company in 2016. “With the local passion for the arts continuing to grow, it’s a great time to be an Adan Artist.