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Employee Of The Month: Stephanie Losleben

Published: March 1, 2015

Stephanie Losleben, a Performing Arts Technician II in CSULB’s Theater Arts Department, was recently named by her co-workers as employee of the month.

Losleben was honored in a special ceremony that renamed Friendship Walk near the University Student Union as Stephanie Losleben Lane.

“Being named employee of the month leaves me feeling overwhelmed, honored and grateful for being commended by peers,” said Losleben, who came to the university after a successful career in local theater.

“Stephanie is a highly accomplished technician who manages to not only do her job but to help others in learning her craft,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “Stephanie is a champion for student needs and learning opportunities. She has a positive and professional approach to problem solving and is a respected colleague and leader in the department.”

Her responsibilities as a Performing Arts Technician II cover all aspects of technical theater at CSULB including lighting, sound and video. “I like to joke that, if it plugs in, it’s my responsibility,” said Losleben, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in technical theater from CSU Northridge in 1994. She oversees the department’s theatrical inventory as well as managing the training of students.

It was while working in local theater that Losleben first noticed an education gap in the young people she interviewed for jobs.

“They came straight out of university with a gap in dealing with the nuts and bolts of theatrical production,” she said. “I always have enjoyed teaching and mentoring. I take great pleasure in seeing the light bulb going off over students’ heads. When the opportunity came to join CSULB, I jumped at it and it has been incredibly rewarding.”

Losleben says her biggest source of pride is her students’ success. “The moment they get that first job, many come back to tell me this was where they learned what got them that really cool job,” she said. “It is rewarding to know you’re making a difference.”

Experiments keep things interesting. “I like to think of myself as a safety net for the students,” she said. “Students can feel like they can metaphorically leap from building to building because of my safety net. It frees them to take risks and to fail. Failure, I think, is just another way to learn to succeed and we can offer that to them in the safety and security of a learning environment. I enjoy giving them the room to grow and helping to nurture them in the theatrical process.”

Losleben thinks of herself as a pragmatic and practical person which, she feels, is a big reason why she is so often the one to be asked how much something will cost and how much time it will take.

“Sometimes we have to make a difficult decision not to do one thing but to figure out an alternative,” she said. “In fact, that may be my most valued skill, to give options, rather than stymie a plan outright.”

Losleben has been involved in the theater since the age of 7. She first arrived in California with the dream of becoming an actress but she found herself as a CSU Northridge undergraduate who saw a chance to turn her hobby of technical theater into a career. She began to involve myself in lighting and scenery but worked on everything she could to gain knowledge related to the field. Upon graduating, she immediately found work in local theaters and I have continued to work locally as both a designer and a technician.

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PHOTO BY IAN GOEGEBUER
Stephanie Losleben (l) with President Jane Close Conoley.

Her professional career has allowed her the chance to perform just about every facet of technical theatre.

“I like to describe myself as a `Jean of all trades,’” she joked. “I want to instill the idea to my students that they can do anything they want if they set their mind to it.”

Losleben is glad she made the choice to join CSULB. “A career in the theater can be brutal for a family,” she explained, “but here, I found an extension of family. I found a department where people take care of each other and are excited by each other’s achievements. Coming to CSULB has given me a chance to do what I love, combining education and artistry, while never being too distant from my own family.”

The phrase “never a dull moment” might have been coined for the Theater Arts Department.

“Here, creative, emotional and passionate individuals are thrown together for days that can be either incredibly explosive or emotionally cathartic, all of it based on love, respect and empathy,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like a surrogate mother. For many of our students, CSULB is their first experience away from home. Helping these students adapt has been incredibly rewarding for me. It has been such a pleasure, I hope I can do it for another 20 years.”

Losleben received several gifts as employee of the month including a framed picture with President Conoley, a CSULB sweatshirt, two tickets to the performance of Bettman and Halpin at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, dinner for two at Naples Rib Company and two certificates for Tommy’s original World Famous Hamburgers.