2022-2024 ASTA-OK Board
Jackie Skara, President
Betty Yuan, President-Elect
Michael Garland, Secretary
Sarah Chan, Treasurer
Thomas Dickey, Collegiate Chair (2021-2023)
Michele Contreras, Past President
Open seats: Private Studio Chair, School Orchestra Chair
Currently, Dr. Jacqueline Skara serves as Assistant Professor of Viola and Music Education (Strings) at Oklahoma State University's Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music. A native of Southern California, Jacqueline is a driven and focused string instrument educator and performer. A valued teacher who connects personally with her students, she designs innovative curricula and infuses modern technology into the classroom. Committed to community engagement, Jacqueline has worked with organizations such as Cheerful Heart Mission located in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Kabarek University in Kenya, and the Fairview Violin Project in Indiana, to create and develop string programs locally and internationally. Her global teaching experience includes proficiency in distance teaching and a commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy.
Jacqueline is a member of the ASTA Conference Planning Committee, the Advisory Board for the Music Educators Journal, and she currently serves as the Student Advisory Committee Chair for the National ASTA. Jacqueline has presented at the ASTA National Conference, the NAfME National Research Conference, Big Ten Academic Alliance Music Education Research Conference, and Desert Skies Research Symposium. Her research interests include pedagogical and descriptive analyses of string shifting, and the intersections of parental involvement, parent attitudes towards music in school curricula, and parent social/cultural capital.
An avid chamber musician, Jacqueline was a founding member of the Allium String Quartet and has always enjoyed participating in local groups that perform music outside of the Western art tradition. During her time in Chicago, she was principal violist of the Civic Orchestra and frequently performed with many regional ensembles.
Jacqueline received bachelor's degrees in viola performance and French from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, a master's degree in viola performance and chamber/orchestral literature from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, and a Ph.D. in music education with a minor in viola performance at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her primary viola teachers included Robert Becker, Pam Goldsmith, Roland Vamos, and Steve Wyrczynski. Dr. Brenda Brenner served as her dissertation chair and mentor throughout her Ph.D. studies.
Dr. Shaohong Yuan is currently the Viola Instructor at Oklahoma City University. She also is a member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra. Performed with local chamber music organizations, such as the Oklahoma City Bright Music Chamber Orchestra and the Oklahoma Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. In the spring of 2019, Dr. Yuan was the Adjunct Professor of Viola at the University of Oklahoma. She also teaches at the Oklahoma Conservatory of Music since 2017.
In the summer of 2018, Dr. Yuan was invited to give lecture recitals on her doctoral research and performance analysis document at Renmin University of China and Beijing Normal University. In early 2019, an open master class was offered at the invitation of the Beijing Normal University Strings Association. In March 2019, an academic lecture on traditional Chinese music was held at the invitation of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics of the University of Oklahoma.
During her career in the United States, Dr. Yuan served as the violist of the University of Oklahoma Crouse String Quartet, the Principal Violist of the University of Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, the Principal Violist of the Collegium Musicum Early Music Orchestra, and the Principal Violist of the University of Oklahoma Opera Orchestra. She also has traveled for touring performances of the University of Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra and the Crouse String Quartet. Notably, in the summer of 2016, as a representative of the School of Music, she visited Arezzo, Italy with the Crouse String Quartet.
During her studies in China, she participated in performances of the Central Opera Theatre Symphony Orchestra, the Chinese Opera Theatre Symphony Orchestra, the Chinese Film Orchestra and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in Beijing Bird's Nest, the National Grand Theatre, the Beijing Concert Hall and the National Assembly Hall. Both doctoral and master degrees were earned at the University of Oklahoma with a full scholarship from Dr. Mark Neumann. She graduated from Renmin University of China and was a student of Professor Wang Changhai during her time in Beijing.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
2021-2023 Collegiate Chair: Dr. Thomas Dickey
2021-2023 School Orchestra Chair: Open
2021-2023 Private Studio Chair: Open
Michele Contreras is the Orchestra Director at Classen School of Advanced Studies Middle School in Oklahoma City. Previously, Contreras taught at Stillwater Middle School where her students were recognized as the 2017 Middle Level Honor Orchestra for the State of Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association. Under her direction, students have consistently earned Outstanding Achievement Awards and Superior ratings at OSSAA contests and participate in the North Central Honor Orchestra. Contreras, an Oklahoma City University alum, graduated Magna Cum Laude and received OCU’s “Outstanding Student in Instrumental Music Education” award upon graduation. Contreras received her Master’s in Music Education degree at the University of North Texas School of Music. While at UNT, Contreras' studies allowed her to create compositional and improvisational activities for the Beginning Orchestra Classroom as part of a capstone project for teachers to use as a resource. Contreras’ desire to advocate for string programs, share the wealth of pedagogical knowledge that ASTA offers, and strengthen community among string teachers in the state of Oklahoma motivates her to serve on the board for The Oklahoma Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.