Laura has been teaching, designing and directing theatre in the Shawnee area since 1992. Her most recent appointment is as Associate Professor of Lighting and Sound Design in the Department of Theatre at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Laura developed the Theatre for Young Audiences at Oklahoma Baptist University that presented quality productions for children for nearly twenty years. Laura co-founded and is the Executive Artistic Director for the Scissortail Children’s Theatre Company located in Shawnee. Not only has Laura created award-winning scenic and lighting designs for numerous collegiate, community and professional theatres (most recently lighting the award winning show Your’s Isabel at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival), she has also designed make-up and costumes as well as directed numerous productions. She has an MFA in Drama from The University of Oklahoma and a MA in Speech/Drama from Oklahoma State University, and a BA in Theatre, Theatre Education, and Special Education from Hiram College. Laura recently served as the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region VI (NM, OK, TX, MO, LA, AR) Oklahoma State Chair. Awards include several KCACTF awards for Excellence in Scenic Design, The Director’s Choice Award from the Regional VI Regional Festival, Commendation from the National Selection Team from KCACTF Region VI for directing, The University of Oklahoma's School of Drama award for Outstanding Lighting Design and the Outstanding Young College Educator from the Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communication Association. Laura and her husband, Dr. David Byland, have three daughters, one son-in-law, and one beautiful grandson.