Spotlight on Alumni: Liz Skibiski Healey ’97

LIZ Skibiski HEALEY ‘97, Lansing (KS)

Children’s book author, illustrator, and MOMpreneur

Current status?

Active duty military family, married to Corey Healey, and mother to 2-year-old son Mikey and 4-year-old daughter Addy

What was your academic journey after BMA?

Initially, I declared myself as an English major/Art minor but buckled under the stigma of “a starving artist.” I graduated from UMass Amherst in Hospitality Management.

What is your current role and company/organization/project in the realm of the arts?

I am a MOMpreneur; charmed by working from home as a children’s book author and illustrator, and active member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

How did you get into this field of work?

Honestly, I have been a writer and artist my whole life. It is incredible to be living my purpose and finally getting my work out in the world.

What is most exciting about your work?

Letting my personality shine through impactful storytelling. I am an introvert with innate motives to entertain and inspire; my art lets me do just that.

Do you pursue personal passions in the arts as well? If yes, what are those passions? Talents?

With 2 kiddos under 4, options for creativity are endless. Past times at our house are “not so ordinary” meals such as spiders contrived from meatballs, and “nature art” derived from sticks, rocks, leaves and just about anything found on our walks. My current personal project is participating in NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and INKTOBER 2018, (which is 31 ink drawings in 31 days.) Check out my ink,  skihealey.com!

Was art always in your life from a young age? How did you foster that passion while at BMA?

My earliest memories are drawing sketches from the Scandinavian folklore, Baba Yaga. I would render countless impressions of the witch’s chicken house (oh and I would crush dozens of Hidden Picture Books on family commutes to ski Killington!) My childhood favorite author is Roald Dahl whose idea of children smelling of “dog droppings” (The Witches) still provokes my inner-child chuckle. (I didn’t realize it before, but apparently, I have a thing for witches.)

One of my fondest memories as a student was hiking the mountain with trusted journal in hand. I would get lost and found at the same time and with descend to campus a stronger student, athlete, and person.

What did you learn at BMA that has helped you in your work or life in general?

Honestly, that you have to look inward, to project outward. I believe all Burke students have an aura about us… we dig deeper, push harder, take risks and do differently. Most of my stories and characters possess the underpinnings of situational empowerment, health and emotional intelligence (all strong Burkie attributes.)

I believe that curiosity is the key to unlocking the best versions of ourselves and our world, and focus on building characters that learn to embrace their curiosities and the impact of their choices.

What do you miss the most about BMA?

The friendships. We were and are unique individuals who shared a truly extraordinary adolescence. It’s not often I am with Burkie-kin, but know that I am never without them either (…our recent reunion is proof of prevailing friendships.)