My experience as a first semester freshman at IUP could be best described as challenging, fulfilling and a ton of fun.
I chose IUP because, as an art student interested in many aspects of my craft, this school had the most opportunity to delve into many areas instead of just one concentration. I knew I could major in English and continue my journey as a writer, while still being a part of the theatre department. And I can say honestly, that is completely true!
Since arriving on campus in August, I have been lucky enough to be involved in many areas of theatre, even some I never thought I would end up in.
During welcome weekend, I auditioned for “Lizzie,” a musical written about the Lizzie Borden trial and was cast as her stepmother Abby Borden. It was here that I met the majority of the theatre and music professors right from the beginning, which I am still very grateful for because many freshmen do not get the opportunity to be in main stage productions, especially if they are not studying the major.
A bit after that, I began working as the student worker in Fisher Auditorium where I now get the opportunity to learn how to manage the tech aspect of theatre. I assist in setting up lights and sound for outside events, choral concerts and band concerts.
I also participated in a 24-hour theatre event where I wrote a play entitled “The Great Festive Holiday Christmas Baking Competition Extravaganza.” This process began at 8 p.m. on a Friday and ended with a performance at 8 p.m. the following day.
A week before returning to classes for the spring, I attended the Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival which IUP hosted this year. There, I auditioned in the MTI scholarship competition and participated in the National Playwriting Program as dramaturg, assistant director and stage manager to one of the 10-minute plays.
My advice for the current Wyoming Area seniors who will be going to college is to take each and every opportunity thrown at you, talk to your professors and make worthwhile connections. This will help you move forward in your career path. This semester was very challenging for me because I ventured out of my comfort zone, yet it was so rewarding. I am very fulfilled in the path I am taking and I am enjoying every minute of my learning process.
That all being said, none of this would be possible without the extreme generosity of the Prokop-Malsky family. If you are a senior at Wyoming Area who wants to pursue the arts, the best thing you could possibly do for yourself is apply for the Prokop-Malsky Scholarship. Not only do you receive support financially, you gain an entire support system in this incredible family.
Going into the arts for a career is always a risk and it’s not always encouraged. This scholarship is special because the donors reach out and stay in touch to see that you are working hard and to assist you in any way you could possibly need. It is rare to find people who want to see young artists thrive and have such care for the craft themselves.
I can genuinely say it has been so wonderful to have these amazing people to cheer me on in my growth as an artist.
This scholarship is giving me the opportunity to further my passion and, for that, I will always be grateful.