Hometown: East Hartford, Conn.
Major: Theatre Arts Management
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts Management
Internships: Summer administrative intern working under the AGM at The Hartford Stage
Honors and Awards: Deans List every semester, graduating Cum Laude
Abigail Riss was active in drama and music at her middle school in East Hartford, but focused on developing other interests as a high school student. As a senior in high school, she realized that she wanted to be involved in theatre again, which led her to enroll at Western.
"I decided to come to Western because I started my WCSU career as a performance major," she says. "WCSU has a fantastic musical theatre and theatre performance program; however, I decided after performing in 'Sweeney Todd' that performance wasn't for me and I would rather play a behind-the-scenes role in the theatre." She decided to major in theatre arts management because "I want to be able to work in the entertainment industry (preferably theater), while having the stability of a managerial position."
Riss was able to obtain all the credits she needed to graduate in six semesters — a testament to both her determination and the guidance she received from the theatre arts department's faculty. "I don't really believe I had one specific mentor here — all of the professors in the department are so supportive and throughout my college career, I went to all of them for guidance and advice."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Riss says, "I had the opportunity through the university to attend the Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in 2012 when the theatre department was one of five schools picked in our region to perform our version of "Sweeney Todd" at the festival in Fitchburg, Mass."
After graduation, Riss says, "I would like to work toward a general management position in a hotel or theatrical establishment, then possibly go back to school for my master's degree in business management."
Riss' advice to new students entering WCSU is: "College is a lot of fun but also requires a lot of work. It's OK to want to change your major or not know what you want to do right away. You'll find what you're passionate about, but work hard in whatever you do."