Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Great Grads: Breanna Lawlor-MacDonald

An Artful Educator

Dave Dawson
Published July 19, 2013
Breanna Lawlor-MacDonald
Breanna Lawlor-MacDonald BASc/BEd'11

Breanna Lawlor-MacDonald has always loved to learn.

Fueled by this enthusiasm, and armed with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts from Fanshawe College, she began exploring how she could foster this passion for knowledge in others.

She decided to become a teacher. "Lakehead University in Orillia opened just after the birth of my daughter," says Lawlor-MacDonald. "I investigated its concurrent education program and thought it would be a great fit, especially because of the family support I have in Orillia."

With small classes and engaging professors, Lawlor-MacDonald found the academic setting challenging and welcoming. She graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences and Bachelor of Education degrees.

During her studies, Lawlor-MacDonald discovered that she wanted to venture outside the realm of traditional teaching. So she was excited when she landed the position of education program director with the Orillia Museum of Art and History.

"This position is perfect for me and takes advantage of all the education I have attained," she says of her unique role which includes equal components of education, history, and art. "Part of my job is to develop educational programs for school children who come to the Museum and to coordinate outreach education programs."

While most of the programming focuses on students in junior kindergarten through Grade 8, the Museum also targets adult students at local learning centres and prepares students in Georgian College's Early Childhood Education program to teach art.

Lawlor-MacDonald's job not only allows her to live and work in her home community, it has also reignited her educational ambitions. She is now considering pursuing a master's degree.

"I was inspired by my history professor Daphne Bonar, a great lecturer who was just so passionate," says Lawlor-MacDonald. "Bonar and Linda Rodenburg, an English professor, really expected their students to think more, to want to learn more… and that's something I am doing – in my career and my life."

A major renovation and restoration of the Museum is expanding her professional experience. "I've had the opportunity to be involved and learn about every step of the project," Lawlor-MacDonald says, "and I've found it fascinating."

This Lakehead grad has a busy summer ahead of her as she prepares for the Museum's grand re-opening and new programming, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

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