When COVID-19 shut down the world, Katelyn Limber found herself with extra time on her hands.
“It was an interesting adventure,” she said. “I do a lot of sound design and stage management for the theatre industry. When the pandemic began, theatre shut down. I thought, ‘What can I do during this time to help my career and get to where I want to be?'”
Limber found the answer in the online Master of Music in Music Technology – Studio Technology Emphasis program at Southern Utah University (SUU). She completed the program with a 4.0 GPA in August 2021.
“I didn’t want to stay stagnant, and I always wanted to go get more education — specifically for music technology and audio, in general,” she said. “My undergrad degree was in theatre performance, which is a different world than sound design and audio.”
SUU also came highly recommended by a friend who sent Limber some information about the university’s music programs in 2019.
“Once the pandemic hit, it was the perfect time,” Limber said. “I thought that I might as well do it. Now things have finally started moving again with live entertainment, which has been nice for me.”
The flexibility of the online format helped Limber stay focused on school while the pandemic made her return to the proscenium arch uncertain.
“I was still working as a freelance audio professional, so it was easy to do the program on my own time,” she said. “If I was busy Tuesday and Thursday one week, I could get my schoolwork done on Monday and Wednesday. For the time, it was very doable.”
Limber grew up in Boise, Idaho, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Westminster College in 2017. She parlayed her thespian talents before switching gears to backstage support.
“Acting helped me with my communication skills and being personable,” she said. “I love that I got that education, but I especially love the technical and organization side of it.”
In addition to working part time with Salt Lake City area theaters, Limber held a temporary position at the Utah Division of Arts & Museums as a community programs coordinator for six months. She has also done freelance post-production sound for more than six years.
“A friend brought me in as a sound designer for one of his school game development projects,” she said. “I have always been a huge gaming person. It was fun. Something clicked. I could see myself doing this for a while.
“When you’re little, playing a video game, you don’t see it as a job. You don’t see the people behind it. Once I helped with that game development project, I had to learn more about game audio.” she said. “I have done a couple of post-production audio freelance projects since I started the master’s degree. What I learned in the program has translated over to helping me with my career.”
Audio for Interactive Entertainment and Electronic Sequencing/Score for Pictures were Limber’s favorite courses in the online Master of Music in Music Technology program.
Triangle, Circle, X, Square
Limber, who enjoys spending her free time with her dog, Spyro, is the first person in her immediate family to earn a master’s degree. During her 12 months in the program, she had plenty of encouragement from her family and friends.
“They were excited for me,” she said. “My parents always knew that I would go back to get a master’s degree. They were very supportive.”
The key to success as an online student for Limber was checking into her options before she enrolled in her first course.
“It’s important to do your research for the program you want to go into,” she said. “SUU provides a lot of good information on its website. When I asked for more information, a recruiter contacted me and talked me through it.
“I liked this program because it was more personal,” Limber said. She found the faculty invested in her success as an online student. “They always got back to me quickly when I had questions.”
With the master’s degree under her belt, Limber is gearing up to start a three-month internship in a dialogue coordinator position at PlayStation for Sony Interactive Entertainment in Los Angeles in May 2022.
“The SUU degree put me on this path,” she said. “I realized how much I enjoy dialogue and editing, where it’s more project management-oriented with some audio. This program helped me build skills toward doing the work.”
Not a bad way to spend some unplanned downtime.