"Our penguins may not be able to fly, but that does not prevent their spirits from soaring."

 

Our program is partially funded by grants from Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, 

Kiwanis Club of Normal & Town of Normal Harmon Arts Fund.

Meet our staff

We are so incredibly lucky to have all of these amazing people working together to create the best production possible.
 
President: Dee Wilson
Vice President/Treasurer: Barb Wells
 
Director: Jackie (Masters) Gunderson
Jackie is excited to be returning as Director again for the 2020 show, this will be her 7th season with the Penguin Project! Outside of Penguin Project, Jackie works at Illinois State University in the Purchasing Department, and volunteers her time with several local organizations. When she is not working or hanging out with the Penguin Project family, you can find her in her favorite pair of roller skates playing roller derby, enjoying Constitution Trail on the Healing Rides bike, or hanging out with her spouse, Cecil, and fur kids at home. Jackie attended Illinois Central College and Illinois State University, studying Special Education. She is currently attending Lincoln College in the ABE Program, studying Organizational Leadership.
 
Producer: Laurie Bederka
This is the 7th year Laurie has been working with the Penguin Project and she can't wait to get the 2020 show started!  When not hanging with the Penguin family, you might find Laurie running, biking, swimming, training for a triathalon or Ironman, or walking her adopted dog, Homer, on the Constitution Trail. Laurie is in the Marketing Department at Country Financial. She was an Early Intervention Service Coordinator for several years, and is still involved with the Crisis Nursery. Laurie graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences.
 
Music Director: Christina Angle
This is Christina's 3rd year on staff. She graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelors in Music Education and is the new music teacher at French STEM Academy in Decatur. Christina is also the head teacher of the rock band call Music JAM (Just Accessible Music) which uses a modified system to teach rock music to those of all abilities and experience levels. When she's not teaching, you can find her hiking, running, or curling up with a good book. She plans on getting her masters in Special Education in the near future as well. She is extremely excited for the 2019 season and can't wait to see everyone's bright, smiling faces!
 
Choreographer: Alex Lovel
This is Alex's 3rd year on staff as our choreographer. With an extensive background in dance, Alex brings a fun element to our team. Alex is a wizard with cosplay and also serves as the choreographer for the Normal Community High School musicals. 
 

Costume Designer: Katie Klotzbach
This is Katie’s 2nd year as a part of Penguin Project and she is so thrilled to be a part of an amazing company. She grew up in Bloomington through her high school years and participated in Normal Parks and Rec theatre for many summers.  She recently moved back to the Midwest from the East Coast to complete her computer science and genetics degree, at Heartland Community College and then Illinois State.  Outside of working retail and math tutoring, she can generally be found at Pepsi Ice Center in the goal crease trying to prevent her hockey friends from scoring.
 
 
 
Penguin Coordinator :  Paula Collins
This will be Paula’s 11th year with the Penguin Project. She has worked as a volunteer coordinator,assistant music advisor, Mentor Coordinator, and is returning again as Penguin Coordinator. Paula is a Job Coach for the VTAP program which is apart of the Unit 5 School District 18-21 program. She is also involved with the Seedling Theatre for the Young at heart as their Music Director. Paula likes to spend time at Church, time with her daughter, and teach voice. She graduated from Illinois State University with a B.M.E. in Music.
 
 
Mentor Coordinators: Summer Dehm and Ashtin Edwards
Summer:
This is the 5th year Summer has worked with the McLean County Penguin Project. She has been a volunteer as well as a mentor. Summer is so excited to take on her new roll as co-mentor coordinator for the 2019 season with her best friend Ashtin! In May 2018, Summer graduated from Illinois State University with her Bachelors in Social Work and is now perusing her MSW with a focus in gerontology. After graduation she hopes to start a career in hospice or nursing home social work. Outside of work and school, Summer enjoys spending time with her family, friends and long time boyfriend. Her favorite title she holds is “Rescue Mom” to her cat and dog, Rhea and Reggie. 
Ashtin:
Ashtin has been with McLean County Penguin Project for 4 years, as a volunteer. Ashtin is excited to return for her 5th year in a new roll as Co-mentor coordinator with her friend Summer for the 2019 season.  Ashtin graduated from Illinois State University with her Special Education degree in December, 2018. She is currently a High School Math Special Education teacher. When she is not teaching or at Penguin Project, Ashtin can be found coaching Junior High volleyball, nannying for 4 little girls and traveling with family and friends.
 
 
 
 
Stage Manager: Judy Stroh 
Judy has been involved with the Penguin Project since the beginning. She enjoys each and every production and the people she gets to work with. She is a former special education teacher who is now working as an optometric assistant.