Hometown: East Lyme, Conn.
Major: Theatre performance
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Theatre Performance
Internships: I was able to perform in Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was also able to travel to Kentucky to attend the Humana Theater Festival. Both were excellent opportunities.
Activities: Work occasionally at a restaurant in East Lyme called The Shack
Honors and Awards: Received national award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for role of Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd," Dean’s list, 3.5 GPA
When Jessica Stark takes the stage, she owns it. That fact was confirmed when the talented actress was awarded a national honor by the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. "I have always had passion for performing — it's what I love most," she says.
Why she chose to pursue that passion at Western was a well-thought-out decision. "I knew that out of the state schools, it had the best theatre program," she says. "It gave me a well-rounded education that was also not going to bury me with student loans after I graduated."
The bonus for Jessica were the performance opportunities she had at Western. "Going here only helped my passion grow with the wonderful encouragement from the faculty," she says. "I definitely think the entire theatre staff have been my mentors: Sal Trapani, Frank Herbert, Elizabeth Popiel , Pam McDaniel and Amy Jones. All of them always went our of their way to help, and weren’t just concerned with academics but also how I was doing on a personal level. It was so nice to always be able to talk to them, and have their encouragement and support."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Stark says, "Definitely performing 'Sweeney Todd' at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region I in Fitchburg, Mass. That experience was amazing and really life-changing in a way. To be able to perform in a different space for 1,000 people and have them receive the show as well as they did — it was incredible."
After graduation, Stark says, "I plan to move to New York City and really try to make it as an actress."
Stark’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "College is really what you make of it. If you keep a positive attitude and work as hard as you can, it will really pay off."