When Bryan Buttler isn't teaching English and communication courses at Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC), he spends some of his free time interviewing celebrities for Philadelphia Magazine.
Buttler has enjoyed interviewing internationally-recognized opera singers, such as Susan Graham, Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez. He has also been fortunate to interview two well-known celebrities: actress and Broadway veteran Kristin Chenoweth and musical legend Melissa Etheridge.
For RCGC students, knowing that their professor not only teaches the art of writing but also is published in a renowned magazine adds credibility to the quality of education they are receiving.
Buttler, a full-time assistant professor, enjoys sharing his experiences and knowledge with students as a way to inspire them. He believes it is important for them to see the real-world application of what they are learning in class. Using both traditional and online instruction, he teaches Argument and Persuasive Writing, Business Communications, English Composition I and II, Mass Media, Survey of World Literature and Technical and Scientific Writing.
"You have to know how to write to be employed in this industry," said Buttler. "You have to be well-rounded, know how to ask ethical questions and present yourself well."
Buttler, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Rutgers University, was offered the amazing opportunity to become a freelance writer in January 2014, after freelancing for two years as a blogger. Since then many doors have opened in his career. He currently writes for two sections of the online version: G Philly, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and Ticket, arts and entertainment. In addition, a few of his editorial articles have also been published online. Knowing that his writing resonates with readers from all over the country, and not just the Philadelphia community, is an incredibly humbling feeling for him.
"I think writing— freelance or not— is just such a thrill for me," said Buttler. "It gives me such a rush and I'm constantly on my toes. That's what is rewarding."
When Live Nation began doing press calls to promote Etheridge's "This Is M.E." tour, Buttler quickly sought out the opportunity. He successfully pitched his idea to the editor and then got moving. Buttler admitted that at first he was very nervous when it came to talking to the star, but in retrospect unnecessary since the interview went well.
"Melissa called me on the phone for the interview and casually said, 'This is Melissa Etheridge,'" said Buttler. "She had such a great sense of humor and was so down-to-earth."
Along with discussing Etheridge's music and tour, also covered were topics such as the importance of healthy eating habits, her winning-battle against cancer, and her role as a gay icon.
"When you peel back the layers of these celebrities, they are normal people just trying to make their dreams happen and be happy," said Buttler.