Meet UCI Drama alumna Andrea Caban
Question and Answer with Certificate in Presentation Design Lead Faculty Andrea CabanAndrea Caban, lead faculty of the new Certificate in Presentation Design program (CPD), traverses the fields of business, medicine and art making in a way that lends a unique perspective to presentation design, a creative practice that combines storytelling, public speaking and graphic design. With strong ties to UC Irvine, Caban holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and is a medical researcher in the Department of Neurology. Currently, Caban is a Master Teacher and Co-Director of Knight-Thompson Speechwork, an organization that trains speech and accent coaches internationally, and an Associate Professor at CSU Long Beach, serving as the Head of Voice and Speech in the Theatre Arts department.
Q. What are the benefits of having presentation design skills, and how has it helped you in your career?
AC: Presentation design skills are ubiquitously applicable to any field. There are methods of connecting to yourself, your material, your technology, to story and to your audience that can create a meaningful, lasting impression on your audience, regardless of subject matter. I have been able to help a wide variety of professionals (top Google executives, Presidents of universities, CEOs, medical researchers and business leaders) deliver their presentations from a more thoughtful perspective and enhanced skill-level by considering the needs of the audience in a way that brings the speaker’s material in closer alignment to their desired intent.
Q. If you could give advice to professionals looking to take their career to the next level, what would you tell them?
AC: Learn how to cut through the barriers that technology creates to connect to your audience in an engaging, human way. In this pandemic, professionals are struggling to maximize their strengths in a digitally driven workspace. While the rest of the world has rushed to convert courses to the online format, The Certificate of Presentation Design is designed for the online format and provides professionals with the skill-sets to work both in an in-person or digital format.
Q. CPD is CTSA’s second collaboration with Merage-what is unique about this partnership?
AC: When the practicalities of the business world meet the creative problem-solving methods of art making, you get a synergistic merging of expertise that is unique to the field of Presentation Design. Additionally, my experience as a medical researcher at UC Irvine bridges the gap into medical research presentation.
Q. As a CTSA alum, how did the M.F.A. acting program prepare you personally and professionally?
AC: My acting degree trained me to feel comfortable speaking about something meaningful to me, regardless of the context. I used to do this in character. Now I present myself as the character and help others do the same.
Q. Do you have a favorite memory or production from your time as a CTSA graduate student?
AC: Yes! I played the lead in a French farce called A Flea in Her Ear, directed by Eli Simon, Artistic Director of the New Swan Shakespeare Festival on the UCI campus. In A Flea in Her Ear, I spoke in a French accent, donned an amazing period-style wig, and wore a hobble skirt that only allowed me to take steps about 6 inches in length. That skirt got me a lot of laughs!