For me, theatre is all about connecting with audiences and with each other on stage. I think that’s a really powerful thing and I’ve been able to experience that power through being part of productions here. When I’m on stage, I get a feeling like nothing else in the world.

Photo by Brett Simpson, Division of Communications

During Commencement, Emily received the C. Willard Smith Award for creative imagination in the theatre.

Congratulations, Emily!

"Katie Janda '13 was my tour guide when I visited Bucknell in high school. When she started talking about the Bucknell Brigade, I was stunned. A lot of schools have service programs, but I hadn't found any  that were in Nicaragua, which held such a special place in my heart. I went on two service trips to Nicaragua during high school, and I sponsor two children there to this day. So I just thought, 'This is fate. I have to come to this school.' I also learned a lot more about the art scene here during my visit. I saw a performance of Pride and Prejudice that weekend, which is one of my favorite plays of all time — so I was extra sure it was fate — and I was blown away.

"Coming into my first year, I was very excited to be a part of Building on Foundations (BOF), a leadership and service pre-orientation program, where I got to meet 50 new friends before even getting onto campus. I looked up to my BOF counselors, so when I became one of those role models myself the next year, it was really rewarding. I was also one of the counselors for the Arts First pre-orientation program my junior and senior years. Each of us had different backgrounds within the arts, and I think the first-years benefitted from hearing our unique perspectives and advice on how to make their mark in the arts on campus. The pre-orientation programs have been great opportunities to connect with both faculty and students, but above all, to serve as a mentor. Being a mentor is what I love and I hope I have been a good one.

"There are so many life skills you gain from being a theatre major, especially people and communication skills. For me, theatre is all about connecting with audiences and with each other on stage. I think that's a really powerful thing and I've been able to experience that power through being part of productions here. When I'm on stage, I get a feeling like nothing else in the world.  

"Film/media studies is a great complement to theatre, since I'm also interested in film acting. I've taken both production and theory classes, so I've gotten varied perspectives on film and the different sides of the industry. To have an understanding of what goes on behind the camera and how films are criticized or interpreted in different ways is very valuable if you're going to be the actor in front of the camera. Same goes for theatre — in addition to acting in our productions, I've had the opportunity to work backstage doing costumes and makeup, and work on the department's public relations team. It's given me this great appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes, literally.

"Being on stage and performing has always been a huge part of my life and I hope to make it an even bigger part in the future. It's been my dream for a really long time, and there are some days when I wonder if I can do it, but at the end of the day I know I have to. All the time that I've spent working on the craft has proven to me that I love it more than anything else. I owe it to myself to follow my dream."

Emily is from Troy, N.Y.

Posted January 26, 2016

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