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     Central to Boundaries and Bridges was community involvement and community projects. The true facilitators of this project were the people who work, live or study in Chester who provided their stories during walking tours, expanded their existing initiatives, created new projects and/or held events that fostered collaboration between Widener and the community. The co-primary investigators were Devon Walls and Sharon M. Meagher.

Devon Walls

Previous Artist in Residence,

Widener University

Artist & Proprietor, The Artist Warehouse


Devon Walls leads a local creative firm and artist collective at The Artist Warehouse.  Here he's provided production services for local and national clients, which include building sets and producing photo shoots, music videos, films and fashion shows. Collaborating artists include Search+Rescue, who repurposes discards into furniture and clothing found at pop-up shops and West Elm.  At Walls'  new gallery and performing space, the MJ Freed Performing Arts Center, at 515 Avenue of the States, he provides artistic and educational direction and facilitates collaborations with the Widener Main Campus; the City; the PA Humanities Council; and artists, businesses, community leaders, educators and nonprofits in Chester and the region.


To stay up to date with events happening at MJ Freed Theater, visit their Facebook page here, .




Stephanie L. Ottino, M.Ed.

Project Manager, Boundaries and Bridges 

Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Widener University

Stephanie Ottino first became involved in the Chester community through her master’s practicum, working with Sharon Meagher as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on a project called Chester Made. During her practicum, she assisted with student recruitment, event planning, assessment and evaluation, curated resources about public scholarship, and compiled information about potential grant and funding opportunities for future projects.

Ottino became the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Widener University in August 2015 and took on the role of Project Manager of Boundaries and Bridges at the start of the project in October 2015. As Project Manager, Stephanie facilitated the weekly Core Team meetings, oversaw the budget and invoice processing, managed all social media, communications and web presence. Stephanie supervised all of the seed money projects and supported the facilitators as needed, and coordinated all events for Boundaries and Bridges. 

Sharon M. Meagher, Ph.D.

Former Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Widener University, Chester, PA


During the Boundaries and Bridges project, Sharon M. Meagher was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Humanities at Widener University in Chester, PA. As of July 2017, Sharon became Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. In her role as dean at Widener, Sharon M. Meagher oversaw the faculty, curriculum, budget  and strategic planning for the College. She also played a key role in fundraising. Recently she developed a grant project awarded by the AAC&U to study how first-year students develop a sense of well-being that connects to community and motivates civic engagement. Meagher facilitates a number of multi-disciplinary collaborative projects that involve Widener faculty and students and partners in the greater Chester community.


Meagher’s recent teaching and research focuses on interdisciplinary connections in three areas:   1) philosophy and the city; 2) feminist theory and women and development in the global South; 3) university social responsibility and civic engagement. What integrates these studies is a focus on ethics, public policy and social justice.


Meagher is currently the VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Marymount Manhattan College.  She has been involved in creative place-making activities in Scranton, Pa. and Chester. Working collaboratively with theater artists Hank Willenbrink and Aaron Landsman, she helped develop the Our City project in Scranton. More recently, Meagher served on the Core Team of Chester Made, a project that utilized storytelling and performance to do participatory urban planning for a Culture and Arts Corridor in Chester.

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