Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Pitt?
I chose to go to Pitt when I took my first tour. It was definitely love at first sight, even thought I had initially been determined to go out of state for college. I was excited about being in a city after growing up in a very rural area for most of my life. I chose theatre tech after doing an 0880 in the paint shop the fall of my sophomore year. By this point, I’d changed my major approximately one thousand times already, but I always made sure to keep a theatre class in my schedule for some stress relief and fun. It was that semester learning to paint that I decided that I wanted the rest of my life to be full of stress relief and fun. I also listened to some sage advice my brother got at a college fair: choose the major you’re going to finish. I knew I could finish strong as long as I was enjoying myself, and I did both of those things!
How did the program help prepare you for life after graduation? What is your current position and how did you get it?
My Pitt theatre degree has been worth every penny so far. I’m currently serving with Americorps in the City Year program, where I work with a group of 6th graders to improve their ELA skills. Contrary to popular belief, I use my theatre degree every day! The BA program required me to learn a variety of skills that I’m able to use with students. Acting warmup games are a huge hit, my design knowledge helps me make effective presentations for learning and graphics for my company, and my stagecraft skills help me fix all the things that middle schoolers break! My time with Pitt Theatre introduced me to so many amazing artists, but it really put me in touch with expert educators and mentors, and I’ve realized that I want to be an educator and a mentor as well as an artist. Gianni Downs and MK Hughes in particular were (and are still) amazing mentors to me and those relationships have made me a great mentor for my kids. I’ll be moving on from City Year in June, but I feel like my Pitt Theatre degree made me a very well-rounded individual with a variety of skills, so who knows where I’ll go next!
Do you have any thoughts or advice for current students?
My best advice is to form as many relationships as possible, both with staff and students! I’m so grateful to still be in touch with my mentors and classmates and I still feel comfortable reaching out to all of them and that’s extremely helpful! I also recommend trying as much as you can: my biggest regret is that I never did any sound work and I never learned how to work a light board. Not because I currently need those skills, but because I easily could have gotten them and I didn’t! I’m following the department’s work and I’m so excited to see what everyone does!