Melissa Penkava Koza is a costume designer and technician based in Wichita, Kansas. She is the Costume Shop Manager for the School of Performing Arts at Wichita State University, and she holds her MFA in Theatrical Design and Production from the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.
Melissa finds the most joy in bringing students of all ages the ability to apply their knowledge of technical theatre to real world problems. She encourages her students to take artistic risks and engage in self-evaluation. She has ten years of experience working in a collegiate costume shop environment where she has worked as stitcher, first hand, cutter/draper, and shop manager. She spent the 2013 summer season at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis working as a stitcher. She enjoys working backstage and figuring out the logistical puzzles of wardrobe work.
Recently, her costume design work has been seen at Saginaw Valley State University, Rhodes College, the BLUEBARN Theatre, Opera Memphis, Germantown Community Theatre and The University of Memphis. Some favorite past productions include designing hair and makeup for Opera Memphis's Third Annual Midtown Opera Festival, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead with director Paul Revaz and Sondheim's COMPANY with director Teddy Eck. She also had the privilege to design the workshop production of Donna Hoke's SAFE with director Dave Rzeszutek at SVSU prior to its March 2016 world premiere at Road Less Traveled Productions in Buffalo, New York.
Melissa holds a bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance with a minor in Theatre from Bowling Green State University. Because of her musical background, she particularly enjoys costuming for opera and musical theatre.