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Meet the Faculty: Dr. Joyce Easter

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Meet the Faculty: Dr. Joyce EasterA scientist and Jersey girl, this professor of chemistry enjoys playing handbells outside of the science lab.

By Maura Bradley '11December 18, 2009

Joyce Easter, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

altDr. Joyce Easter, originally a Jersey girl, has moved from state to state for her education and teaching positions.  But one thing has remained the same: her passion for playing handbells.

During graduate school at Duke University, Easter became the director of the handbell choir.

“I’ve always been interested in music,” she said.

Her first instrument was flute in fifth grade.  In junior high, Easter played the oboe.  In high school she tried the bassoon.  In grad school she picked up handbells, a hobby that has stuck with her.

She has directed handbell choirs in three different states at four different churches, and in 2002, she began ringing with the Virginia Handbell Consort.

“I enjoy working with the ensemble because it’s a challenge,” said Easter. “Timing and musicality must be perfect among all the different ringers in order to play a perfect piece.”

Ph.D., Duke University
B.S., Cornell University
Although she still performs with the ensemble on Saturday mornings, in 2005 Easter relinquished her handbell directorship at her church to assume the director position of the Honors and Scholars Program at Virginia Wesleyan.

With her leadership, the program has grown and encompasses a wide variety of students. For the fall of 2009, Honors and Scholars boasted 170 students, quadrupling membership in just four years.

“The Honors and Scholars program provides a great way to stimulate and encourage students to go beyond what they thought they were capable of,” said Easter. “The program provides an opportunity for scholars to challenge their leadership, academic scholarship and service involvement.”

“The Honors and Scholars program provides a great way to stimulate and encourage students to go beyond what they thought they were capable of.” The program also provides opportunities for scholars to meet one another through free receptions, luncheons and extracurricular events. One of the more popular fieldtrips is to Hunt Club Farms for haunted hayrides and corn mazes during the Halloween season.

An avid sports fan, Easter enjoys watching hockey, football and college basketball, but she’s not just a spectator. She also enjoys playing volleyball, and plans to join a co-ed church league.

During her down time in the summer, Easter travels to Arizona and Illinois to spend time with her children and four grandchildren.  Although the summer vacation gives her a nice break from her busy schedule, she always enjoys coming back to Virginia Wesleyan in the fall.

“This is my ideal job,” she said.

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