PhD Student, Psychology
Psychology, Theater minor, 2006
Graduate student in Psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia
Immediately after graduating from Emory, I was in an intensive year-long internship program at Actor's Express in Atlanta, with co-Theater Emory alums, Melissa Roy and Preston Goodson. I worked in restaurants to make ends meet and took some small theatrical roles (e.g., being "Doc Broc" – the life-size broccoli mascot for Kaiser Permanente, acting out illnesses for Emory Medical students, and performing in local readings for play festivals and workshops). I was also heavily involved in a local program called "Playmaking for Girls," which allows Atlanta-based female theater artists to go into juvenile detention centers and conduct two-day playwriting workshops with adolescent girls. That was the best.
About two years after graduation I realized I wasn't going to pursue theater professionally, and I reignited my interest in the field of psychology. I began working at an inpatient rehabilitation center for people with substance use disorders, and serving as a research assistant in a psychology lab at Emory. I applied to graduate schools to study addiction, and then moved to Costa Rica to work on a farm until it was time for school to start. I moved to Columbia, Missouri in the summer of 2009, and am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Psychological Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It's a lot of work, but I managed to be in a play –Smudge – during my second year in the program. I played a woman in a love triangle with two brothers who gives birth to mutant. We performed on a stage in a dive bar and it was very well received!
Ashamed to say it, but not many outside of school. Does playing soccer on the weekends count?
Highlights at Emory
The most notable highlight was working with professional actors Chris Kaiser, Bryan Mercer, and others, and director Matt Huff on the Theater Emory production of The Skin of Our Teeth in the spring of 2006. I learned an incredible amount about the theater and myself during the many long rehearsals, and I felt bolder and more powerful than I ever had. Janice Akers was my acting coach and she spent so much time with me trying to get me to be "just the right amount of seductive" – and I think it really worked! That cast and crew became so close, so fast – the best part of being in any play, in my opinion. Other highlights include working with the student group Starving Artist Productions, and helping put on an outdoor collection of Samuel Beckett plays (each performed at different locations across campus!), taking two acting courses from the talented and kind Lisa Paulsen, and having to tell my family that my final for John Ammerman's class required me to juggle and have an invisible sword fight.
An appreciation for all the non-actor theater folk – the designers, the set builders, the directors, the coaches: the faculty and staff really instill a high level of mutual respect among all contributors. There is no feeling better than performing in front of a room full of people. Except for the minute it's over. Even if you think you want to be in theater for the rest of your life, and then you change your mind and begin a career elsewhere, it doesn't mean you have to quit theater. The process of putting on a play with a group of talented people will go unrivaled for the rest of my years!