Theatre (Performance as Public Practice) Doctoral Student
Beliza Torres Narvez
I met Haydee last semester during the weeklong Cohen New Works Festival our department organizes every two years. I was performing/directing one of the plays and she was a costume designer and part of the festival's organizing committee. Her presence, leadership, friendliness, intelligence and appearance called my attention. It is just a few of us Latinas in the department! After a few casual conversations, one day I found her in distress, so I approached her and she told me she was frustrated. Even though she loved performing, because she was successfully developing her skills as a costume designer, she could not be both. That is when our IE Pre Grad Internship started.
The IE Pre Grad Internship has been about learning how, like me, my intern (also a Latina student-one of the few in the department) can make her own path as a multifaceted, multidisciplinary artist. When Haydee realized she did not have to choose between one of her two passions she made an immediate shift and proactively - with a few tips I gave her-took steps to become the artist she wants to be.
She started auditioning, networking, and looking for opportunities like a job at the Texas Performing Arts Center. Our first project was to work on her application for the Fulbright International Exchange scholarship. I encouraged her to apply, since besides being a fantastic experience, being a Fulbright scholar will make her a stronger candidate when applying to graduate school. I also helped her navigate her Fulbright consultant's feedback, and with my own experience in grant and grad school application writing, help her clarify her project and develop a strong submission.
Haydee has also attended lectures and guest artist talks organized by the Performance as Public Practice graduate program of which I am a part. Thus, she has been introduced to another dimension of the Theatre and Dance disciplines she was not familiar with: academic scholarship. She has also attended my classes, in order to see me teaching. Probably our favorite activity have been going together to see plays, and engage in an in-depth discussion and analysis of the play and production choices afterwards over food. We also meet regularly to follow-up how she is doing in school, her goals after she graduates this May, and the steps to accomplish those goals. I am confident that soon she will be an outstanding student in any graduate program she chooses to attend. Haydee is the third student who I have mentored, and just like my other mentees, working with her has been as much about introducing her to graduate school life as it has been about creating a beautiful unlikely friendship with someone almost half my age.