Joanna Battles is the new assistant professor in voice and speech at Webster University. She has been living her dream in the arts for 30 years, motivated by her grandfather Anthony DiIorio.
“He was so animated and theatrical. He worked as an actor as well as in construction on the side,” Battles said. “He dreamed of one day becoming financially stable in his craft.”
Following his footsteps, at five-years-old, Battles started performing at a community theater where she learned ballet. After high school, Battles stopped practicing ballet and shifted her focus to perfecting her acting skills.
She obtained a bachelor of fine arts in acting from New York University. After that she received her master of fine arts in acting from Brown University (RI) and a certificate in voice work. At Brown University, she met Drew Battles who later became her husband and the father of their three-year-old son.
When Battles found out she was selected for the position at Webster, she said she was ecstatic. She packed up her family and moved from Baton Rouge, La.
“I wanted to work at Webster because the reputation of the conservatory was amazing, and I felt like this was the next step in my career,” Battles said.
Battles said voice and speech are where acting begins. She said she hopes to help students improve their acting skills with the voice and speech techniques she has learned.
“I want students to gain a greater awareness in their vocal instruments,” Battles said. “It’s important that my students leave my class being aware of how they sound. This will be important in their future career.”
Battles said she is incredibly blessed to go to work every day and do what she loves.