Hometown: Camp Hill, PA
Majors: Theater and English
- Mindbending Student Productions
- 540 productions
- Wednesday Night Live
- Leyburn Library Work Study
- the occasional MUSE piece
- Stella Adler Summer Conservatory Class of 2013
- Studying Abroad in Spring 2015 (London)
Post-Graduation Plans: Mill Mountain Theater Company. For the summer, anyway.
Favorite W&L Memory: Too many. Staying up to watch the sunrise. Reading one of my stranger pieces at last year's MUSE launch party (and getting photographed by THE Tom Wolff '14). Eating a Kenny burger. The Shannon-Clark English Major retreats. WNL sketches that were hard to perform with a straight face (Sexist SJC, The Tunnel of Friendship, Voices of the Puzzle). Max Chapnick's hearty laugh. Meeting Theater and Dance Department Head Owen Collins in his painting jumpsuit. Hearing Chauncey Baker's sexy car poem. Acting with Grant Aleksander '12. Walking out of Payne Hall after submitting my final project for Professor Gavaler's Superheroes course. Stage managing Rob Mish's production of Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference and watching Betty Taylor perform. Throwing myself into two fantastic mainstage shows this year (Night of the Iguana and SPAMALOT).
Favorite Class: I took Doctor Desjardin's and Professor Abry's Disorder and Chaos because of Jurassic Park (thank you, Dr. Malcolm). I've forgotten nearly everything I learned in the class, but my entire perception of order shifted because of their witty and patient approach. Tied for third are Professor Gavaler's Superheroes and the three poetry classes I've taken with Professor Wheeler (230, Mid-20th Century American Poetry, and African-American Poetry). These two professors connected with me on a personal level that I treasured in my high school English teachers, and their multifaceted approaches to education prevented me from becoming too cynical. By this logic, it seems the Professor makes the class. Take note of this, people.
Favorite W&L Activity: Cloud-gazing by the Colonnade has become a nice pastime of mine lately. I enjoy seeking out the Free Advice, when there are people at the Free Advice table. Acting is a thing I do a lot. (Never let it be said I'm not eloquent about my favorites.)
Favorite Campus Landmark: The bridge leading from the main parking deck to Commons. When the trees are full of leaves, when the fog has descended on Lexington, or when it's late at night; turn towards the east and watch as civilization vanishes from your eyes. For five feet, anyhow.
What's your passion? Making people laugh? I'll settle for a smile.
What's something people wouldn't guess about you? I've been re-reading the Dhammapada, which is a small book of sayings from the Buddha. There's no way to make it not sound pretentious.
Why did you choose W&L? Gorgeous campus, the Honor System, the liberal arts: these are the big three. Growing up in a small town with trees in spacious front yards meant a lot to me, and taking a wide array of classes with self-scheduled exams was an added bonus. Remember, true believers, with great power comes great responsibility!
Why did you choose your major? Growing up, my two passions were reading and acting, and it's what I've spent a large portion of my time here doing. I've grown the most as a human being through textual analysis and performing.
What professor has inspired you? It's a cop-out answer, but they all do, in their own ways. If we were going by origins of inspirations, however, Professor Gavaler takes the cake. I became an English major after taking three of his classes. I've worked with both Professors Martinez and Mish on more than a half-dozen shows, readings and classes, so it's safe to say they're the Theater uncles I never had. Frankly, everyone in the Theater department serves as a testament to how much fun theater can be and I do consider them nearly family. I've had brief conversations with Professor Delaney, whose kindness and style exemplify how warm and well-dressed Professors here can be.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? I'm going to quote Chauncey Baker on this: "Take the free things." Spending four years of your life in a town swaddled by nature and local businesses is a gift. During the summer it's a balmy and bug-populated gift, but there's so much to do, so little time. I was something of a Mr. Bemis my freshman year (what, no love for The Twilight Zone?), but eked out into the world through little experiences. Check out the Bookery (and say hi to Mary Sue Ellen for me), walk/jog the Woods Creek trail, smell at least two of the numerous scents in Sunday's Child, sit underneath a tree on the main lawn (sans texts, sans music, sans eyes, sans everything) and breathe.
What do you wish you'd known before you came to campus? 1) That someone would never grab me by the lapels (or sew lapels onto my t-shirt just for the grabbing) and shout, "STOP TAKING YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY." Not that I would've listened to them, but I certainly would've come around to that conclusion more quickly. 2) Quotes go outside the period. Right, English Majors? 3) Seriously, though. There will be days (weeks, even) when the impossible will become a reality. For better or for worse. You'll have some essays, short reflective writings, and a class project to complete by tomorrow when all of a sudden you'll remember that you're supposed to meet with your advisor to talk about scheduling things. Just then, your phone buzzes. It's your father — are you free to talk? And in the midst of all this, a small beautiful something will occur. A fat squirrel will scurry past. Some sweet seasonal scent may waft by. That charming person will walk by and smile at you. Enjoy the little things.