Graduation year: 2018
Major: Theatre arts, English
Minor: Studio art
Activities: Alpha Psi Omega (theatre), theatre department (every production since my first term here), Phi Beta Kappa
Internship: Technical direction internship at Circa ’21 in Rock Island
Post-grad plans: Stay in the area and continue working in local theatre as a scenic designer, painter and technical director
Augustana allowed me to be involved in theatre whether or not I majored in it (which I hadn't decided to do at the time). It also seemed like a welcoming community that values the fine arts, and I felt like I'd be comfortable here.
Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?
I’m happy with where I am, but when I started out, I had no thoughts about what senior year or graduation would bring for me.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
My professors in English and theatre helped me get where I am now. Dr. McDowell in the English department was my advisor and a huge help to me; he supported me and helped me navigate the system and graduate early.
Dr. Popple in the theatre department was also immensely helpful to me and constantly fostered my creativity and encouraged me to reach further in my art and my thinking.
Andy Gutshall in the theatre department has made me the technician I am and helped me gain confidence with my design and technical direction abilities.
The entire theatre department has become a second home to me, and all of the staff and faculty have helped me become who I am today.
A peak experience was designing Just a Dream in the new Brunner Theatre Center my junior year. I have designed three children’s shows at Augie but that was especially amazing because it was the first show in the new space. I’m still so honored that I got to be the first scenic designer to design for Brunner.
What surprised you?
I learned how resilient I am. I've taken on more than I ever expected in terms of classwork, theatre obligations and social commitments, and I’ve handled it all. I have thrived off of being busy and stretching myself as far as possible, and now I know that I can handle anything life throws at me.
How did you use Augie Choice?
I used Augie Choice to pay my rent while doing my internship at Circa '21.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the environment of a college campus. Campus life is so vibrant and active, and I've loved being part of it. I'll also miss Alpha Psi Omega. My theatre fraternity has been a family to me and helped me grow and feel comfortable with myself.
Advice for the Class of 2022?
Take good care of yourself and your mental health; push yourself but not so hard that you get hurt. There are many paths to success, and you'll always find a way to get where you want to be.
“Emma is an amazing combination of intellect, artistic talent, curiosity and drive. It is hard to describe all of the different areas she has contributed to in the theatre department, but her artistic mark has been made in playwriting, props, scenic painting, makeup and scene design since her first year here. She is a prime example of the sort of impact one student can make in a small liberal arts college environment.”