Campus News

Who is Josh Teaster?

March 17, 2022

Yvonne Gay

A picture of a man wearing scuba diving gear.
Josh Teaster in scuba diving gear.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Teaster

Josh Teaster, associate director of Conservatory of Music Admissions, is always up for exploring a reef, but it’s the shipwrecks in the depths of the Great Lakes that he finds most exhilarating. Learn more about Teaster in this installment of Who Am I?


Full Name: Joshua Lee Teaster

Department and location on campus: Conservatory of Music Admissions located in the Conservatory Annex

Job title? Associate Director of Admissions

How many years at Oberlin? Nine

What does your job entail? Our office is responsible for managing recruitment efforts of prospective conservatory students, providing a welcoming and informative campus visit experience, creating a process for students to apply and audition, reviewing student applications in collaboration with our faculty, and making admission decisions. As a small office with a big charge, we’re all involved in each of those steps in some way, but I’d say my work focuses primarily on the back-of-house responsibilities—coordination of our office’s efforts, project management, and process implementation.  

What do you enjoy most about your job? Two things come to mind when I think about what I enjoy most. The first is variety—there is such a wide variety of things that we need to accomplish, no two days are the same. It keeps things very interesting and challenging. The second would be interacting with prospective students. They are the reason we do this work, to find those students most excited about and capable of joining the Oberlin community. It gives you pride in the institution and your work to see their excitement, and it feels wonderful to help such bright and gifted students realize Oberlin is a good fit for them.

What do you think most people would be surprised to learn about the Oberlin Conservatory of Music? Possibly the focus on undergraduate students, as that’s pretty rare in our field, especially for institutions of this caliber. But also, possibly its history as the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the country. I say that because nothing about Oberlin feels dated.

Year after year I am amazed by Oberlin's talented student body. Is it the same for you? Absolutely. They are an incredible group of people. If anyone needs reminding of that, just attend a concert, performance, or presentation.

What events, places, classes, etc. do you encourage new conservatory students to take advantage of during their time at Oberlin? The bike path is such a great asset on a sunny day. The reservoir and nature trail are beautiful places for a run. Go see a movie at the Apollo—I still remember the glow of the neon sign outside my hotel window when I visited campus as a prospective student. Take a language class. Learn to scuba dive for Winter Term, or do something else unexpected and amazing.

What was the most memorable Oberlin performance you attended? Probably the performance a few years ago of Dvořák Serenade for Winds. It’s one of my favorite pieces, and it was great to see it performed together by both faculty and students.

Do you have any hidden talents? I can recall song lyrics a very long time after learning them. Kind of like a vocalist, but without the ability to sing them.

Do you have a favorite movie? Anything with Goldie Hawn.

What's your favorite place in Oberlin? Home, it’s where the heart is.

Favorite childhood memory? The time spent with my family in the Outer Banks—bike rides with my siblings to the corner store for candy, hanging out at the fish docks, fishing for crab with a chicken neck, reading about pirates, and learning to love the ocean.

Hobbies? It feels like my hobby is collecting hobbies—reef keeping, disc golf, Legos. But my real hobby is scuba diving. Everything from here on out is scuba.

Best vacation ever? Bonaire. The reef is healthy, the diving is easy and spectacular, and the pace moves wonderfully slow.

Any recent achievements you would like to tell us about? I recently completed training in the use of a more advanced diving technology: closed circuit rebreather. It seems more akin to space travel than scuba equipment and provides the ability to stay underwater longer at deeper depths. As much as I love diving the reef, it’s the shipwrecks in the cold depths of the Great Lakes that are most exhilarating. I have some goals in mind in those waters and I’m looking forward to the journey.

Nickname(s)? Scuba Josh, of course. There are a lot of Josh’s around and sometimes you need a way to identify.

Favorite food? Bacon…covered in maple syrup.

Favorite Quote? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it,” by Ferris Bueller.

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