This story is part of a series following University of Findlay alumni who have gone on to have meaningful lives and productive careers right here in the local Findlay community. Their stories provide a glimpse of the difference UF students and graduates make in the lives and businesses of our immediate area, and of the impact a UF education can have right here at home.
Creative folks often take creative paths. They find ways to do what they love to do in the places in which they feel they’ll have the most impact. For Megan (Cleve) Talbert ’16 ’17, that place ended up being right here in Hancock County, and, according to her, Findlay has been a great place to start out post-college life.
Talbert initially came to University of Findlay for UF’s celebrated pre-vet program, and was content for a bit being on her way to a career as a vet; however, after her freshman year and “a long and fascinating summer” spent learning a little about who she was and thinking about the future she saw for herself, she returned to campus for her sophomore year and sought out some major counseling with director of career planning and instructor of academic support and university-wide courses at UF, Janet Taylor and the Oiler Success Center. Thanks to that, the encouragement of late English professor Marianna Hofer, UF art professor Valerie Escobedo, and taking into consideration her creative side, Talbert decided she would become an art major, and graduated first with a bachelor’s degree in fine/studio arts and a minor in writing.
It’s readily apparent that Talbert, who returned to UF in 2017 to earn a second Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and a minor in art history, found the best route she could have traversed; and she wasn’t alone in her navigating. In addition to the classes taken, the extracurriculars experienced, and the friends made, Talbert explained that a large part of what made her time as an Oiler such a valuable and successful period of growth was the faculty that surrounded her, guiding her toward the best opportunities. “I could have gone elsewhere for my art degree when I changed my major, but it was the investment my advisors – Marianna (Hofer), Val (Escobedo), (Janet) Taylor, and Alexis (Currie) Binder – put into me that kept me there. When you’re at that incredibly formative point in your life that is figuring out what it is you want to do with the rest of it, or at least where to start, having people like this pouring into you is invaluable.”
Many students with aspirations of a career in the art field look toward a traditional Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art, but Talbert saw the advantage in pursuing her degree from UF. As the University seeks to turn out graduates who are well-rounded and who can offer much more than the “average” college graduate, she cited her UF experience delving into cross-disciplines as a benefit, both for her and the employers who would seek to hire her. The variety of courses and focuses she endeavored to take, she said, created a “curious and ambitious graduate” who was both equipped and eager to prove herself. Her first job out of college was for a local advertising company, AR Marketing, and it proved to be an excellent opportunity and primer for her to learn the ins and outs of art, design, and communication.
Today, Talbert is the marketing coordinator at Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay. With a host of responsibilities, such as developing, organizing and directing communications, marketing, sales and public relations; the recruitment, retention and cultivation of loyal patrons, particularly in support of the Center’s presentation of touring artists and fund development efforts; and serving as the Center photographer, webmaster, keeper of the marquees, social media manager and graphic designer. “I love what I do,” Talbert confessed. “I tell people all the time that I’m an art student working for an arts nonprofit, and a presenting theater at that! MCPA is a beautiful culmination of the arts and celebrates them in all their unique expressions/disciplines.”
Virtually nothing could have prepared Talbert for the time when COVID-19 entered the picture a few months back. But, with an appreciative community surrounding both her and MCPA, she said that there is more than just a glimmer of hope for the future. “It was shared in a webinar way back in March to remember the adage, ‘The most human company wins,’” Talbert said, “and that’s been a very honest place to work from. The support from our community has been not just encouraging, but vital in our mission.”
By transplanting herself here, first as a student at UF, and then as a permanent resident working in the local area, Talbert realized that the support and love for the city that is reflected in its citizens has created an equal abundance of those things from her. The place she now calls home, where she’s put down roots, has put her in position for a meaningful life and productive career right here in the immediate area. “Downtown is my very favorite,” she said. “I love that I work there and we can walk there from our home. I’ve gotten married and bought a house, I have my husband Tyler ‘15, my cat, Nova, and even now my horse, Lenny, all at home here in Findlay.”