Alumnus Tyrone Beach Finds Fulfillment Working at Muse Knoxville
Tyrone Beach (‘11) was on a mission trip to Haiti seven years ago when he realized how much he wanted to work with kids.
Beach was a radio DJ in Knoxville at the time, but decided to begin volunteering at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) after his morning shifts at the station. He spent hours in the NICU cuddling babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
Beach eventually started looking for a full-time executive role where he could sharpen his leadership skills while still working with children.
He applied for a job at Muse Knoxville, a children’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math museum in Chilhowee Park. He was hired in October 2021 as director of marketing and organizational development.
“It was right after the pandemic and things were closed and the museum was just really trying to get back on its feet after the shutdown,” Beach said. “Now, we have just been trying to show our impact and really working on our story and our brand awareness so people know exactly what we are doing.”
Beach graduated with a degree from the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While there, he tried to get involved in as many activities as possible on campus. He was an orientation leader, a resident’s advisor, and part of Ignite Team Leaders.
“It made me believe that if I put my mind to it and if it’s something my heart desires, I can go out and do it,” Beach said. “That is where the Volunteer spirit comes in and being able to not only connect with people, but also have personal relationships. I’ve met a lot of people from all the positions I’ve had in college and in my professional life and I keep those connections and they have helped me navigate me to where I am today.”
Beach first began dabbling in radio while at UT as the hip-hop director for WUTK 90.3-FM. It was an experience that launched his first career out of college and continues to benefit him in his current role.
“I had never been on air before or cracked open a microphone. To be able to talk in front of people and to have those skills to push a mission and talk about things, UT prepared me for that,” Beach said. “I can walk into a room, smile brightly and say, ‘This is what we are doing and this is how we are impacting these kids in the community. We would love your support. We would love your help.’”
In Beach’s role at Muse Knoxville, he oversees communications, writes grant proposals, and helps with fundraising efforts. He loves the variety in his job and the chance to interact with so many people for a good cause.
“I just want to support our mission to inspire and empower all children through transformative and engaging experiences, whether that is science-related, technology-related or engineering design,” he said. “We really want to expose kids to those things so they can see what careers there are and dive into them.”
John L. Billings (‘02), a CCI advertising alumnus, is on the Board of Directors for Muse Knoxville. He has witnessed how much Beach’s addition to the staff has helped the museum grow and continue to evolve.
“Tyrone communicates positive energy through his Volunteer spirit every day,” said Billings, vice president of client administration and managing officer for TCV Trust & Wealth Management in its Knoxville office. “He truly sees the good in everyone and his passion and joy in helping others shows from his servant leadership in the community. I am fortunate to work with him through my board service with Muse Knoxville. It is uplifting to see his creativity, empathy and clarity skills deploy Muse’s messaging to stakeholders whether it is in-person, on the radio or in front of the camera.”
Seeing kids walk through the museum and touch things, play with all the exhibits, and watch shows in Knoxville’s only public access planetarium brings Beach great joy. The Muse has tried to foster deeper relationships in the community by also hosting events that involve the entire family.
Muse Knoxville, Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, and Friends of Literacy recently collaborated together on a bilingual play area at Muse Knoxville that aims to improve mental health among small children by reaching them through their own languages.
Muse Knoxville and Centro Hispano also partnered to create STEM kits to distribute to help families care for their mental health.
“I want all kids to feel like they belong,” Beach said. “That is one of our core values. Muse welcomes everybody from every facet of life, whether it’s economical, religious, race of wherever you may live. Anyone is welcome to come to Muse Knoxville and enjoy everything we have to offer.”
During his time at UT, Beach interacted with numerous professors, administrators, and staff members who greatly influenced him. But some of his most memorable moments came when he was a practice squad player for the Lady Vols basketball team in his freshman and sophomore years. It was near the end of legendary head coach Pat Summitt’s career.
“It’s not like we got a lot of face time with Pat Summitt, but the face time we did get, she made me feel like I was a basketball player and was on the team and was repping Tennessee on my chest,” Beach said. “Just to be around her and to get that true Volunteer spirit from her was amazing. I was like a saucer on a tea cup. She wasn’t really talking to me, but I took a lot of what she was saying to her team to heart and used that to my advantage whenever I was trying to conquer things.”
Despite switching into a full-time career around kids, Beach still returns to ETCH to cuddle babies one night a week. They may grow up to one day visit Muse Knoxville, and Beach hopes it’s expanded in size by the time they arrive.
“Our current goal is to find a bigger space so we can host more kids,” Beach said. “I would love to be able to walk away from this position one day knowing that I helped Muse Knoxville get a bigger building and impact more kids year round. I don’t ever want to have to turn kids or classes away.”
Written by Rhiannon Potkey