Student of the week: Cassandra Padilla ’17

Courtesy of Cassandra Padilla
Courtesy of Cassandra Padilla

Class Year: 2017
Major: Theater
Groups Involved in on Campus: Union Women’s Rugby Team, VP of Campus Life, Philanthropy Chair of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society

Q: How did you first get involved in student leadership on campus?

A: I applied for U-Program my winter term of freshman year and it introduced me to the skills and experiences I can gain from being involved in clubs/organizations. And it took off from there!


Q: How did you get involved in theater?

A: A few seniors at my high school started up a Drama Club during my sophomore year. I joined so I can have something to do after school. But the club opened up a new world for me. I did everything from acting to making props to building sets and more. When the seniors running the club needed someone to take over the club after they graduated, they personally asked me and did not have to think about it. I automatically said yes.


Q: What have been some of your past successes in the theater department here?

A: I discovered my love for directing when I took Directing with Professor William Finlay. He was also the first to tell me I have an “eye” for directing which pushed me to take on more theater opportunities at Union. It led to my next success, which was directing the Senior Thesis production “No Exit” last spring as a junior. Another success would have to be going outside of directing to learn about the technical aspect of theater, like lights, scenic design and sound, from Professor Robert Bovard and Professor Charles Steckler. A recent success would have to be being able to do a senior thesis that combines theater and film, thanks to my thesis advisor Professor Patricia Culbert!


Q: How has the process been of directing your own play?

A: Directing my own play has been a dream come true. It has helped me discover what kind of a director I am, experience new challenges coming into a new project, build my unique creative style and introduce myself to different exercises that can help me direct my actors.


Q: What are some of the challenges you faced while preparing your play?

A: Some challenges I faced were: the direction I wanted to go with the play, how I wanted to do the lights to support the emotion within the play, ALL THE PROPS I HAD and scheduling time for rehearsal with my actors.


Q: How has actively being involved in theater affected your experience?

A: To put it simply: without theater, my time here would be so dull and mundane. I have learned so much about myself and gained so many skills (like doing sound cues, setting up lights, building sets, breaking down scripts, etc.) from the opportunities the Department of Theater and Dance has given me that I will take with me after Union. And all I had to do was step into Yulman Theater and the amazing Theatre and Dance Department took care of the rest.


Q: If you could offer any advice to first-years looking to get involved, what would it be?

A: Do what you love. I know it is cliché, but that is what I did. I was a biology major and did science clubs, because my family wanted me to be a doctor. But all along I knew I wanted to do theater. And life is too short to be in your room all the time or do what others tell you to do. Go and do what you love!


Q: What is your favorite thing about Union?

A: My favorite thing about Union is the different support systems I have found in the AOP/HEOP program, Theater and Dance Department, Film Studies Department and more!


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat off-campus?

A: I would have to say La Mexicana Restaurant on State Street. Those tacos change lives.



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