2023 Student Performing Arts Awards
Congratulations to the Class of 2023!
Join us at the
Student Performing Arts Awards Celebration:
Saturday, May 13th @ 2pm,
Platt House Lobby
Announcing the winner of the Stephen Goff Award:
Jess Lin, C’23
PAC Executive Board, iNtuitons Experimental Theatre, Front Row Theatre Company, Penn Glee Club, Penn Players
The Stephen Goff Award for Student Performing Arts is awarded to a graduating senior demonstrating commitment and leadership in the student performing arts. The 2023 Award goes to Jessica Lin, marking 4 years of impactful contributions through and beyond board roles within iNtuitons Experimental Theatre the Penn Glee Club, two terms as Tech Chair for the Performing Arts Council, and initiator of the DEI Chair Coordinator Position within PAC-Exec.
We congratulate Jess on the deep and meaningful impact she has had on the student performing arts community, not only in her work with individuals and groups seeking support but for the structural changes her work has initiated.
Announcing the winner of the Fresnel Award:
Walli Chen, C’23
Bloomers Comedy; PAC Tech
The Moller Fresnel Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Tech Community is awarded to highlight and elevate the contributions of a technician in the senior class who selflessly supports, builds, and elevates the tech community. The 2023 Award goes to Walli Chen. as Tech Director of Bloomers Comedy and a lighting and sound technician whose creative and technical expertise has been a gift to at least a dozen student performances across campus.
In addition to work in the Shop and behind the booth, Walli has served as Bloomers’ External Social Chair, a tutor in the ASAP After School program, and drumline section leader in the Penn Band.
Announcing the winner of the Baton Award:
The Penn Band
Singers, Musicians, and Comedians (SMAC); The Performing Arts Council
The Francis Johnson Baton Award recognizes a student performing arts group demonstrating meaningful and consistent community service. The 2023 Award goes to The Penn Band, whose members engaged in exceptional outreach to bridge the gap between campus and the wider Philadelphia community, working with children and underrepresented communities, and bringing visibility through music and energy to social justice events on campus.
Announcing the winner of inaugural Impact Award:
Tommy Christaldi, C’23
PAC Executive Board, Penn Players, ASAP After School Program, PennArts, Kite & Key
This year marks our first ever Impact Award, recognizing a positive and supportive connector for the student performing arts and the larger community. We are honored to present this award to Tommy Christaldi, whose work as an enthusiastic tour guide and mentor, willingness to talk to anyone at anytime about performing arts, and ability to connect with peers made him a friendly face of the community and a true ambassador for the student performing arts on campus.
Announcing the winners of the Wallace and Whinnery Summer Internship Awards:
Evan Golinsky, C’24
Undergraduate Media & Entertainment, Cinema & Media Studies
The George & Jane Wallace Summer Performing Arts Internship Award provides one Penn undergraduate with funds to support a summer internship in a professional performing arts or related entertainment organization. The 2023 Award goes to Junior Evan Golinsky, who travels to Los Angeles this summer to join the Motion Picture Talent department at Creative Artists Agency.
Avery Bloomberg, C’25, W’25
Penn Records, Penn Music Mentoring, Penn Symphony Orchestra, Samba Ensemble
The Peter Whinnery Summer Arts Internship Award provides The Whinnery Award provides one Penn undergraduate with funds to support a summer internship in a theatre arts related field. The 2023 Award goes to Sophomore Avery Bloomberg, seeking positions this summer in a nonprofit music mentoring organization, in songwriting and music production, and music licensing.
Congratulations to these two students embarking on new journeys! We look forward to hearing from them in the fall about their experiences.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023!
Senior Spotlight Awards
These Seniors are awarded a Spotlight by their peers, in gratitude for their vision, creative excellence, and impact on the performing arts community. You inspire us. We can’t wait to see you shining your light out in the world beyond Penn!
Click on each image below to read testimonies from the peers who nominated these seniors.
Kalyne Coleman, C’14
Alumni Spotlight on Kalyne Coleman, C’14
Kalyne at Career Mentorship event hosted by Platt House, Makuu, and UMOJA – February 2023
Get to know our Alumni Spotlight: Kalyne Coleman, a Penn alum who was heavily involved in the arts as a student and still is today. Originally from Richmond, VA, Kalyne is very close to her family, including her parents, three siblings, and ten nieces and nephews. She loves being their “Super Auntie.” Even before making her way to Philadelphia, Kalyne always knew that she wanted to act. She got involved with community theatre in Richmond and spent free time reenacting scenes from Sister, Sister; Twitches; and Even Stevens, but was not sure how to pursue acting as a career. Rather than throw herself into an arts school for college, she decided to go to Penn to get a solid educational foundation in the liberal arts. Kalyne kicked off her time at Penn in PennArts, a pre-orientation program that brings together incoming students interested in the arts in school and in Philadelphia. In the overwhelming transition from high school to college and moving to a new state, PennArts showed her from day one that she could find her people. Through this program, she met her best friend to this day, collaborated on a multi-media poetic art piece, and became a student leader and coordinator, helping mentor future peers interested in pursuing their creative passions.
Before sharing her extracurricular pursuits at Penn, Kalyne first sends well wishes to current students, encouraging all to first, take care of themselves. While at Penn, Kalyne realized that the arts make her “light up inside.” She joined the African American Arts Alliance (4A) and fondly remembers acting as Beneatha Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, her first acting experience in a play written by a Black artist and surrounded by Black creatives. She reminisces on dreading the long hours of load-ins and load-outs, but actually remembering the community, the late night pizzas, and a stage management mishap during which she accidentally brought a set piece on during another student’s solo – a tough moment at the time that all involved laugh about today. Now a proud “5A” alum, Kalyne’s involvement then extended into other parts of campus as well: she minored in Theatre Arts; joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., ultimately becoming President; served at the Student Outreach Chair for the Black Student League; participated in the Vagina Monologues, helping her to own her womanhood and sexuality; and was inducted into the Onyx Senior Society.
Kalyne says her experiences at Penn, particularly those in 4A, PennArts, and as a Theatre Arts minor, were instrumental in helping her find her voice, especially as a Black artist. During her senior year, she also had a great job working with a wonderful supervisor at Gap, Inc., which opened a pathway into a corporate career, but with the support of her parents, and the light inside, Kalyne decided to go all in on acting. She made her way up the east coast, spending some time in New York, and ultimately completed her MFA at Brown in 2020 amidst the backdrop of the pandemic. When thinking back on her experience as a Black woman in the arts at Penn, Kalyne says: “As much joy as there was, there was also challenge. There were a lot of highs; there were a lot of lows. And I learned from it all, and those experiences shaped who I am today. As a Black person, let alone a Black artist, it is important you know who you are, your worth, where you come from, what makes you smile, what makes you find balance. [It is important that] you have a community around you that supports you, so when those challenges come up, you’re able to meet them, you’re able to fight for what you believe in, and you’re able to push through. I think at Penn, there were times that both of those things happened. Always try to live in the joy, but there is a lot of work to be done in educational spaces, in different structures, the theatre community, the tv/film industry, and it takes artists like us to make our imprint and to be authentic, and to fight for what we believe in.”
To those interested in pursuing the arts beyond college, Kalyne shares that although it is challenging, and the journey is long, one must never ever ever give up on oneself: “You are worthy. You are more than enough. Your life, your story, your experiences, your pain, your vulnerability, your heart, the darkness, the light – this is the thing that people want to see, and this is the thing that will make you shine.” She recommends that folks surround themselves with the people who lift them up, who will help you make an audition tape at midnight, who will come to your shows, who will be there both when you get the job and when you do not. She reminds us that artists are emotional creatures, and she advises that we build up our mental, emotional, and spiritual health, in order to stay balanced.
You can check out Kalyne’s work in her first television show as Grace in Interview with a Vampire (2022) on AMC Plus. You can also catch her in So Help Me Todd and Evil, both on CBS. She says that shooting the show was a wild, beautiful journey. Kalyne has also been participating in a bunch of readings, a great way to get to know artists and playwrights. She recently did a reading of “Good Bones” written by Philadelphia-based playwright James Ijames and another with Harrison David Rivers in conjunction with Roundabout Theatre. Kalyne says that auditioning is the job, and she keeps the faith that the next job is always coming soon. Someone once told her that in considering a role, look at “the art, the part, and the pay.” Kalyne does a lot of research into projects and partnerships, seeing if an opportunity aligns with her values before committing to it. She also reminds us that, as an actor, there is so much out of your control, but you can always offer good work. The grind can be frustrating, but it is also a blessing when you have the opportunity to try. Kalyne says she loves what she does: “If anyone ever doubted the role of the artist, Covid reminds us that we are the lifeblood of society. What we do is so essential. I want to be a part of stories that change minds, that spark conversations, and make people feel seen.” In particular, giving Black people a space of joy, healing, and complicated versions of themselves is a major goal of her work, her calling, and she shows no sign of stopping: “I am in it for life.”
This interview was conducted by Jordyn Harris, ENG’25.
Wallace Award Winner Tejaswi Bhavaraju shares his summer highlights
Our winner of the 2022 George & Jane Wallace Summer Performing Arts Internship Award shared a peek at his summer experience interning with Jumpcut Media!
Teju is the recipient of a $3000 stipend to fund his summer internship experience, which for past awardees has been used to cover transportation, wardrobe, or living expenses for paid and unpaid work in the performing arts and entertainment industries.
Black Arts in the Spotlight
We’re reaching across Philadelphia to gather up some of the Black joy, Black experiences, and Black art happening near you! The Black Arts Series is a platform for artists at Penn to connect, inspire each other, and perhaps – collaborate! This effort centers on supporting and spotlighting student performing arts groups, particularly those who have been hard hit by membership drops during virtual and remote activities of the pandemic. Visit the Black Arts Series page to learn more.
SPAN returns to the stage
After two years of virtual presentation, the annual Student Performing Arts Night returned to the Zellerbach stage this fall! Our students held on to the benefits of digital accessibility by livestreaming to show to over 600 screens across the globe, reaching audiences from Peru to Malaysia. The show kicked off an energetic audition season for our 60+ PAC and Independent student performing arts clubs.
Missed the show? Watch this recording of SPAN 2022, courtesy of Penn Live Arts and University Life.
2022 Senior Awards
Nikole Bonillas Félix, C’22
“Nikole has found a way to share her love of song and dance with the Penn community in necessary and important ways. [She helped start] Penn’s first and only Latinx music group, which has championed Latinx cultural traditions across Penn’s campus and the Philadelphia community.”
Charlotte Cecarelli, C’22, GNU’23
“Charlotte joined our ~140-person undergraduate organization in the Fall of 2018 as a flautist and has been a member in good standing during her entire time at Penn. She is an outstanding flautist who has performed in several ensembles at Penn including the Band. Her personal qualities, including her affable nature, warm personality, deep empathy, and her calm demeanor have earned her the highest regard with her many diverse peers and its alumni base. Our organization is among the most active university programs in the country, assembling over ~100 times between August and May each year, including performances, weekly rehearsals, and leadership meetings. Charlotte has elegantly balanced her commitment in various roles within our organization (Recruitment and Retention Chair, and now Secretary on the Executive Board) and its frenetic schedule, against the backdrop of a rigorous academic course load and her other co-curricular obligations. Her academic accomplishments are exceptional, and her time management skills are outstanding. She is a member of the Band’s Honor Society, “Fanfare,” which is a distinction conferred upon members by their peers for their service to the organization and their example. In these many ways, Charlotte represents and serves our organization and Penn in the highest fashion, leading by an example I will most certainly cite for many years to come. Leadership roles in student-led groups like ours provide rigorous learning opportunities for real world experiences, including managing and communicating with large groups of diverse individuals and the day-to-day operation of a complex organization. As a leader with the Penn Band, Charlotte has flourished and excelled. In the middle of her freshman year, she became a Recruitment and Retention co-chair, leading our ongoing efforts to recruit and retain new members. A year ago, she chose to challenge herself in a higher fashion: she ran for and was elected Secretary of our organization by her peers. Over the past two years, I have witnessed how well Charlotte functions in a team and organizational environment. As part of our Executive Board over two years, Charlotte oversaw the day-to-day operations of a busy undergraduate organization with multiple layers of leadership. With the arrival of the COVID-19 crisis, Charlotte leaned in: she only grew and elevated her efforts as a leader. Charlotte has always enthusiastically championed our organization’s most cherished values, including inclusivity and community (family). With the arrival of March 2020, our organization had been caught in an incredibly challenging and unprecedented situation: the full virtual reality where the group cannot assemble and perform in the first person, instead only meeting online. As a board member, Charlotte worked intently with her peers and the directorship to program the organization week-to-week. In this role, she had been fearless and dynamic in her ongoing pursuit of building and maintain community among our membership. For example, she stepped in and learned how to use video editing software like Adobe Premiere to help the group publish its virtual ensemble video performances online. Even most recently in her last semester, she has driven the production of another video celebrating the 120th anniversary of the song, â€œThe University of Pennsylvania Band March. Charlotte’s interest in public health and the greater good is genuine, broad, and is impressively well-developed by her coursework, volunteer work, and research. An interest that has influenced her peers within the performing arts community. She is currently a peer-advising chair with SNAP (Student Nurses at Penn), where she works with another board of peer leaders and faculty to help plan and implement activities between students and their peers in the School of Nursing. In perhaps what is the most compelling evidence of her commitment to helping others: in 2020 she started an online video blog on Youtube called “The Nurse Next Door,” where she provides tips and discussion for peers on topics like college life, academics, self-care, and mental health. Charlotte is the perfect candidate for the Steve Goff Award for her body of work over the past four years, including exemplary leadership on the peer level, her work ethic, and commitment to the greater good. In spirit and in practice, Charlotte embodies everything that is ‘Red and Blue,’ and represents all the best qualities of Penn and its performing arts community: spirit, pride, and excellence.”
Anyka Chan, ENG’22
Disney A Cappella
“As Disney’s President, Anyka always goes above and beyond to keep the group on track. Whether it’s by arranging inventive Disney-pop mashups, knowing every section’s part, or coordinating the dozens of things that need to happen for our shows. Everyone in the group appreciates her commitment to all things Disney. Outside of rehearsal, she’s a great friend and mentor. Everyone appreciates her bubbly personality which lights up any room.”
Hannah Chan, W’22
TAC-e, Glee Club
“[Hannah] has always been someone that our community would turn to for guidance and insight, whether we were older than her or not. Her love for the arts was something that extended far beyond herself as an individual and the accolades that it might bring her.”
Shivani Chatterjee, C’22
“Shivani Chatterjee was co-Music Director of Penn Atma this year, and has been in service of the group long before that. She joined her freshman year, and straightaway showed a tremendous dedication and tenacity to supporting the group, both with her amazing vocal talent and kind heart. Under her leadership, Atma has flourished into a vibrant, successful community, where all members feel safe and comfortable to be themselves (this is something we champion in Atma, a core value). This can be measured not only through the number of gigs and musical opportunities we have had this year, but also the number of meaningful internal events we’ve had with the group (+ the memories shared). The South Asian music community at Penn would not be the same without Shivani, and it is why I proudly recognize her for a Senior Spotlight.”
Penn Chinese Theater
“Bob is one of the most highly applauded actors from PCT’s 2019 fall production, The Village. He then continued to offer his talent as a writer and editor as our Marketing VP in the following year.”
Jaden Cloobeck, C’22
STIM, TAC-e, PennArts Leader
“Jaden is quite possibly the single most committed artist I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. He approaches every project with a level of both care and enthusiasm that I find extremely admirable. I have really appreciated the way in which Jaden is constantly seeking to better the arts community at Penn, and I’m grateful not just for his talent but for his friendship as well. He’s a great artist, but an even greater person.”
Anna Collins, C’22
“Everyone knows Anna Collins! She is known as the best person to ask any question, the most missionary in tac-e recruitment (she’s probably responsible for half of the people who are currently involved in the organization), and by far the most personable, as she knows everyone’s name. Anna is involved in every production that goes up during the academic year and dedicates her passion and skill set to each of them equally. She is the draw for every student going to see One Acts and probably Patience, too. It would not be an exaggeration to say that no tac-e show would go on without her. I certainly would have been unable to do anything without her.”
“Anna Collins is perhaps the most dedicated TAC-e member to have ever existed. She is involved in every single TAC-e show in some way, and is the techie we all turn to when we are a group in need. She never fails to pull through and help fill out your production staff. I swear, she must have more hours in a day than the rest of us.”
Jadel Contreras, C’22
Counterparts, OASIS, Onda Latina, PennArts Leader
“Jadel has been active member of the Penn Arts community from the beginning of his time on campus. However his impact spans farther than his artistic excellence, but also in his kindness in welcoming new members with open arms, and being a leader and choreographer in the Onda Latina community. His talent, both in music and dance has well as his compassion and love of the arts will be greatly missed.”
Jessica Conway, C’22
“Jessica Conway is an invaluable member of the Penn Band. Secretary in 2019, President in 2020, a Clarinet Sleader in 2021 and Fanfare Honor Society Chair this year, her dedication and commitment to the Band make her super well known and loved by all. Jessica has done so much for the Band over her four years and embodies the spirit of someone in the Penn Band; fun and easy going yet hardworking and diligent in her leadership positions. (And she’s a great clarinetist too!)”
Marina Dauer, C’22
Glee Club, Penn Sirens
“Marina’s dedication to the performing arts community is palpable, and this has shone in all of her arts-related endeavors during her time at Penn. She was instrumental in creating the successful merger plan for Glee and Sirens, and she has followed through by serving as an exemplar in both groups. I was impressed by Marina’s passion for music the moment I met her, which was before I had even auditioned for Sirens. She spoke with such a joyous tone about the group and her experience, and her expression is always genuine. Marina strikes an admirable balance between being a dedicated performing member and serving in various leadership roles in both groups, and she always prioritizes the wellbeing of her fellow friends in the arts. Without Marina, I can easily that neither my Penn experience nor the Penn performing arts community would be the same.”
“Marina Dauer is an incredibly dedicated performing arts leader at Penn. As president of Penn Sirens during the 2021 year, Marina worked tirelessly to expand opportunities for all Penn students in the performing arts. She was a major leader in the merger process between Sirens and Glee Club, dedicating an incredible amount of her time and effort during the height of the pandemic to ensure that the process was smooth for everyone involved and that all members in the newly merged group felt welcomed and included. Along with her incredible work on the merger, Marina has also been an amazing leader internally within Sirens over the years through her contributions as Webmaster/Historian, Assistant Music Director, Music Director, and President. This year following the merger, she has also become a dedicated member of Glee Club as the first Alto and Alto 2 section leader of the group, a member of the Music Team, and always leading by example as a devoted singer. With her dedication, hard work, and kind spirit, Marina is truly an incredible leader in the performing arts at Penn and on campus as a whole. I am constantly in awe of her talent and commitment to everything that she does and am so grateful to call her one of my closest friends.”
Jacob Denenberg, C’22
“Jacob has been a dedicated member of the performing arts community since transferring to Penn his sophomore year. He contributed so much to Counterparts as alumni relations manager and a very talented arranger. Beyond that, he always puts his friends before himself. Having a moment at 2 AM and need someone to talk to? Jacob’s ready to pick up your FaceTime. Have a craving for Thai Singha? He’s already submitted the Snackpass order. Need a laugh to get through finals week? He already has 10 videos he can’t wait to show you. His presence will certainly be missed in and outside of the CP rehearsal room, and we can’t wait to see everything he does in the future.”
Natalie Doppelt, C’22
ASAP, TAC-e, PAC-Exec
“As PAC Community Service Chair this year, Natalie has made such a positive impact on the performing arts community not just at Penn, but across West Philadelphia. She successfully returned ASAP to its traditional in-person format, which is an accomplishment in its own right, but more importantly, she showed up every single week with a smile on her face and clear, genuine enthusiasm for the program. Natalie’s kindness made ASAP a safe space for the students to try new things and express themselves from the minute they walked down the steps into Platt, and this continued all the way through to her waving goodbye at the end of the program. It’s one thing to be a talented artist (and Natalie certainly is), but it’s another thing entirely to use that talent to spread a love of art throughout a community. I’m grateful to call Natalie a friend and mentor, and I’m really going to miss having her around next year!”
Siani Ellis, C’22
West Philly Swingers
“Siani is one of the dancers who has taught beyond the troupe for the larger West Philadelphia community through her instructor series for the Ragtag Dance Classes. Additionally, she has been a role model for our troupe by being one of the best performers who infuses grace into our danceform.”
Sabrina Elson, C’22
Off the Beat
“Sabrina has been the driving force of Off The Beat for the past four years, but particularly for her past year as Music Director. She led the group in both a virtual and in-person setting, working to carry on OTB’s 35-year legacy in a post-pandemic world. She led rehearsal with a kind-hearted and passionate spirit, committed to not only the group’s music but its members. She is a role model to all in the group – particularly the underclassmen -, serving as a mentor both in and out of rehearsal. She has an undeniable drive and musical talent which made for an incredibly successful fall show and year of Off The Beat. She is an incredible singer, an even better leader, and will be missed immensely in the years to come.”
“Whether it’s been serving as three different board positions as a freshman, or leading the group through a pandemic and a return back to campus, Sabrina Elson has quite literally done it all for Off The Beat. Her musical excellence was tangible from the very first rehearsal I stepped into, and she has spent countless hours perfecting dozens of arrangements that quite literally rock out on stage. But more importantly, Sabrina is one of the strongest and most dedicated people I have ever met. She’s treated each and every member with the upmost kindness, encouraged us all to be our best even when we didn’t want to, and most importantly she created a feeling of family even when she lost her own father. I know that Off The Beat would not be the group that it is today without Sabrina, and more importantly, she is quite literally one of the biggest blessings PAC has ever received.”
Jazmín Estevez-Rosas, C’22
“Jazmin brought back to life a troupe that was not allowed to practice during the pandemic. She is also currently a third semester president, and gave up her senior spring to do so. She is a champion of Ondaâ€™s values- spreading love and education of Latinx culture through dance. She is found on locust encouraging everyone to dance and spends countless hours outside of her rehearsals helping those who are struggling. She always checks in on people and advocates for them personally.”
Peter Fera, C’22
“Peter Fera is one of the most talented performers I have ever met, yet somehow is also one of the most humble. I met him working on Freaky Friday together and have gotten to work on a couple productions since then – most recently Bring It On. He is a fierce and fair leader, the sweetest friend, and an immeasurable talent. Every time I hear his voice, I can’t help but smile. I am going to miss him dearly, and I know the performing arts community will miss him as well.”
Luca Fontes, C’22
Penn Singers, TAC-e
“Luca is someone who has truly done it all in theatre, and who inspires all of his peers to do the same. Heâ€™s a producer, a director, an actor, an electrics designer, a props designer, a stage managerâ€¦ and thatâ€™s just what I can recall off the top of my head. More than anything, heâ€™s the kind of compassionate and hardworking leader that anyone would be lucky to work under. As Singers President, Luca struck an incredible balance between pushing his team to do their best and making them feel comfortable prioritizing their health and well-being above all. He has also been instrumental in transforming the Singers culture into one that prioritizes DEI, not just in name but in practice. Luca is an advocate for not only good theater but good treatment of people. For him, in a lot of ways, those are the same thing.”
Erin Hayes, C’22, G’22
Arts House Dance Company, PAC-Exec
“Erin Hayes is both an inspirational member of Arts House Dance Company and an incredible leader as Dance Arts Council Chair. She is a critical member of Arts House as you can always spot her in class bringing her full energy and passion to the room. She persistently volunteers and offers to help with anything Arts House needs, whether it’s to lead a dance workshop or aid a member with learning choreography. You can always count on Erin to be prepared and on time for class, and members are constantly seen asking her for guidance to refresh choreography. Additionally, Erin Hayes has the most beautiful and graceful contemporary choreographing that is bound to give you the chills! Her style is unique since she came in with a ballet background, but has since continued to push herself outside of her comfort zones to excel in contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and anything she puts her mind to. Alongside Arts House, Erin can be seen planning and organizing for DAC to ensure every dance group succeeds and to help build dance community ties. Furthermore, over her four years at Penn, Erin has helped lead the Emily Sachs Dance Benefit which gives proceeds to the Community Asthma Prevention Program +. Finally, Erin Hayes is both an inspirational individual inside and outside the dance studio, as she is an incredibly accomplished individual who was awarded the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship this year to pursue a Ph.D. in Astronomy.”
Penn Chinese Theater
“Zhexuan Huang is passionate about theatrical performances. He joined Penn Chinese Theater in the fall of 2018 as a freshman, and he has been active in PCT’s productions ever since. He has played both leading and supporting roles in “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land”, “The Wind”, “The Village”, “The Visit” and “Goodbye, Mr. Loser!”. He was also the producer of “The Visit” and “Goodbye, Mr. Loser!”. Zhexuan loves theatrical performances for the simple fact that he could experience the lives of different characters he has played. But most importantly, Zhexuan is truly grateful for the PCT family for all the love and warmth he met there throughout the journey.”
Christina Kim, ENG’22
Penn Six, TAC-e
“Christina has been a strong force of leadership, not just for Penn Six, but also in the TAC-e community. They are a dedicated individual, committed to inclusive practices. Due to their real impact, Christina will be missed very much next year.”
Chris Kwok, C’22
Glee Club, Counterparts
“Chris and I came into Counterparts together as the sole newbs during the COVID year. Even so, his warm personality and hilarious jokes easily came through the screen as we got to know each other. He has stage presence and riffs for days, and his musicianship is off the charts. He also slays in Glee Club and has performed in lead roles for their shows. Even though he was in CP for a short time, Chris surely left his mark on the people around him. We love him so much!!”
Eloise L’Her, C’22, G’22
Arts House Dance Company
“Eloise is one of the most caring, selfless and dedicated people I have ever met. She has the unique ability to light up every room she enters, as her positivity and genuine love for what she does is apparent to everyone she meets. Not only is Eloise extremely academically successful and a stunning dancer, she is someone who will always put others before herself. Eloise never fails to provide Arts House with the best meals on campus, and our group would not be the same without her love and enthusiasm. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from and dance alongside someone I have looked up to since I first joined Arts House. I can not wait to see all the amazing things Eloise will accomplish, as I know she will be successful in anything she does. Arts House loves you Elo!”
Qinlin Li, C’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“Super idol’s smile is not as sweet as hers. In her first PCT show, she wow-ed the audience with her pink hair and shiny costume. After serving the club as a tech director for a year, she returned to acting in her final year at Penn while also serving as the club’s co-president.”
Kewen Ashley Lin, C’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“Ashley started and ended her years at Penn on stage, as a female lead in both cases. Her passion for acting is always inspiring. Her talent and dedication made her an invaluable addition to the PCT family.”
Cole Marshall, C’22
Dischord, Mask & Wig
“Cole exemplifies what it means to be a collaborative, supportive, and engaged PAC member. As a member of two high-commitment PAC groups, he astutely balances his time and energy to honor his commitments. Furthermore, he acts as a leader in both groups, serving as Mask and Wig’s Floor Show Coordinator and Dischord’s president, a position that allowed him to integrate Dischord into the PAC community with grace. His engagement in tandem with his support of other groups has inspired him to pursue entertainment post-graduation, which I think is a testament to how talented/involved/creative he is.”
Ryan McLaughlin, C’22
Off the Beat
“Ryan has continually demonstrated his love for music and his care for others. He was the very first person to welcome me to Penn my freshman year, and he helped me grow more comfortable with myself on campus. He always meets people where they are at, whether that means being a shoulder to cry on or a person to laugh with. His dedication to making himself and everyone around him better is a legacy that will inspire current and future members of Off The Beat for years to come.”
Morgan McLees, ENG’22
“Morgan is the face of the Penn Band. Whether it’s conducting on Franklin Field or in the Palestra, she is always there, present, and committing her all to make the Penn Band sound its best. The Band would not be the same without Morgan, she is kind, witty, fun, caring, and stands out among seniors for her extreme dedication and time put in as Drum Major. As Fanfare Honor Society Vice Chair this school year, she has gone above and beyond all expectations of a Penn Band member.”
Rowana Miller, C’22
Penn Singers, SMAC
“Rowana Miller has been one of the kindest, most welcoming, and most hard-working members of the PAC community I have ever met. Whenever there is someone who feels unsure about their place at Penn, whether it be not knowing where to meet people or find their place to belong, Rowana is quick to welcome them and help them find a home either in theatre or the Kelly Writer’s House. And, as someone coming out of the Pandemic and fearing I will have to make all new connections all over again, she helped my transition back to in-person life so much easier. As the Tech Director for Penn Singers, she has done an exceptional job at making sure our sets are finished on time and that everyone knows what to do at all times, whether they are experienced to tech or are completely new. We couldn’t have done our last few shows without her. Everyone, from Singers to the Writer’s House to all the freshmen she has mentored, will miss her when she’s gone.”
Daryn Naiburg-Smith, C’22
Bloomers, Penn Singers, TAC-e, ASAP
“Daryn’s personality is outgoing and her good humor infectious. She is a natural leader who motivates by creating a space in which others can grow and nurture their artistic ideas.”
Dixon O’Banion, C’22
Penn Glee Club, Penn Pipers
“Dixon, as my mentor (big) in the Glee Club, transformed my college experience by motivating, guiding, and inspiring me to perform, lead, and excite others in the performing arts at Penn. Dixon has been a member of the Penn Glee Club and Penn Pipers since his freshman year and has taken leadership positions in the Glee Club as Assistant Operations Manager, Secretary-Librarian, Section Leader, Dance Captain, and Vice President. Especially this year, Dixon has inspired the Glee Club to move forward, be better, and be proud of who we are as we move through our first year of a fully gender-inclusive club. I am incredibly proud of Dixon “Mach” O’Banion and could not imagine the Glee Club without him.”
Damola Ogunlade, C’22
“Damola is an amazing individual. Not only is she a wonderful singer (her low notes are AHH~), arranger (SO COOL!!), and great group member, she has always been so kind and supportive. She is willing to listen to whatever you have to say, and has so many facets of herself that I love discovering, such as her love of neuroscience or listening to her talk about her favorite genre of books to read. She has never ceased to put a smile on my face or encourage me in my music. When she compliments you, you know that it comes from the heart, and she says is so sincerely that she makes you feel really special too. Damola is one of those people that, the moment you meet them, you know they’re special. And I’m so grateful to have known her.”
Angie Pajares, C’22
“Since she first got to Penn, Angie’s love for theatre shined through in every rehearsal and performance she was in. Angie can make anyone smile, laugh and have such a fun time while rehearsing, but knows how to be serious and grounded when needed to keep everyone on track. She was such a light to work with for the past few years and will be missed so greatly by the theatre community, especially Q.”
Yifei Pei, C’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“Yifei joined PCT in her second semester at Penn and has actively participated in various aspect of theater arts within the group. After she had made her debut as the female lead in a suspenseful drama, she continued to devote herself to theater as an actor, a stage manager, a director, and the club’s co-president.”
Jenna Pollack, C’22
“Jenna has been one of the most loyal and consistent band members. She started taking on leadership roles as a freshman, being Music Manager, then Flute sleader, Treasurer and, as if that wasn’t enough, Drum Major for two years! The Band would not sound as good as it does now without her leadership and constant effort. She is kind, encouraging, caring and one of the sweetest band members around. Beloved by all, Jenna is truly an incredible bando and person.”
Yuhong Mary Qin, EE’22, W’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“Mary is super dependable and organized. As one of the assistant directors for PCT’s 2021 fall production, The Visit, she took beautiful notes and kept everyone on track.”
Selinda Qiu, C’22
Arts House Dance Company
“Selinda has a really unique ability to make everyone feel comfortable and at home. She is the first to wrap you up in a comforting hug after a long day. She organizes a post-show dinner for dancers whose parents could not fly in for show. She provides hype-woman commentary in the background of all our rehearsal videos. Selinda is the type of person that ensures you don’t answer the typical “how are you?” with a simple “good”. She wants to know how you are actually feeling and it shows. On top of these wonderful qualities, Selinda brings an incredible movement quality to the stage. She is constantly pushing the limits with her breathtaking choreography and even brought live saxophone music to the stage for our show this fall. We will miss her greatly but cannot wait to see her share her talents with the world!”
Srinidhi Ramakrishna, C’22
Counterparts, PennArts Coordinator
“Srinidhi is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. The tone and agility of her voice, incredible arrangements, and INSANE beatboxing skills are unmatched. A true triple threat!! She’s also the coolest person and constantly caring for everyone around her. She’s able to develop relationships with anyone, regardless of their age, background, interests, or otherwise. Srin has been a true asset to CP and we’ll miss her more than she knows <3”
Divya Ramamurthy, W’22
Penn Masti, Dischord A Cappella, Osiris Senior Society, Penn Autism Alliance
“Divya Ramamurthy has a true passion for the arts that I have never seen before in my life. She is the 2-year president of Penn Masti, an amazing soloist on Dischord A Cappella, the dance instructor for children with Autism for Penn Autism Alliance, and a member of the Osiris Senior Society. Not only does she love to sing, act, and dance, but her goal at Penn is to share this love with others and get others involved in the arts. I can speak to her time on Penn Masti has a finance chair and as president for two years. She has made such a large impact on the team by making many changes and straying away from old, inefficient precedents. After her presidency, the team has become more close-knit like a family, efficient, creative, and successful (we started out our 2022 season with second place at the UIUC competition). Divya’s goal for Penn Masti is to include every single dancer in the choreography and logistics of show and competitions so they can have ownership of the activities we do. Overall, she is meticulous and always on-time with her action items and shows every person on the team respect, kindness, and love.”
“Divya serves as the current president of Penn Masti and has served as an exceptional leader for the past two years. She is not only a gifted dancer, but an amazing friend and inspiration to everyone in the Masti community. She consistently puts the team and others before herself as has shown a devotion to the performing arts. She also serves as a member of Penn Dischord and performed a show-stopping solo at the recent performance.”
“Divya Ramamurthy is the 2-year president of Penn Masti, a singer on Dischord A Cappella, the dance chair (exec board) of Penn Autism Alliance, and a member of Osiris Senior Society. She is very committed to her role in all of these performing arts roles and devotes almost all of her time at Penn to the arts. She has been dancing and singing since she was 5 years old, so it is and always will be an important part of her life. On Penn Masti, as the president, she has changed the way the team is run – making it more efficient, close-knit, and more successful. She has already helped Masti place 2nd at the competition we had on January 29th, 2022.”
“She is the current co-president of Penn Masti and has put her full heart and soul into running this team.”
Ashley Robinson, C’22
iNtuitons, PennArts Leader
“Ashley is deserving of a Senior Spotlight Award for a few reasons. To begin with, she is incredibly talented. It doesn’t matter what role Ashley holds on a given production staff– you know hers will be the job that gets done right, on time, and with impeccable attention to detail. She’s also a part of Penn’s inaugural class of design majors, helping to bridge the gap between visual and performing artists at Penn. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Ashley is a kind and genuine person. Anyone she talks to is sure to leave the conversation with a smile on their face, and I know I’ll be one of the many who will miss those conversations next year.”
Sophie Roling, C’22
Glee Club, Penn Sirens
“Sophie is an amazing leader in the student performing arts community. Having served as Vice President of Sirens, a section leader in Glee Club, and just generally being a wonderful presence to be around, Sophie is always looking for ways to bring her community of peers closer together and make everyone feel included as well as proud of their performances and hard work singing! She is so much fun to perform with and a true friend in the truest sense.”
Zoe Roman, C’22
Arts House Dance Company
“Zoe Roman was the heart and soul of arts house. She was the chair of arts house during our transition from covid back to in person. She alone revived the energy of the company to what it was before spring 2020. Additionally, she served as our costuming and marketing director. She cares so much about the future of the company and put everything into making arts house a positive and safe space for all those involved over the past four years.”
Adam Rose, C’22
“Adam has been an extremely dedicated member of the Penn Band for four years. He served as a Section Leader, Vice President, and President for the organization. His hard work and passion helped get us through the pandemic while maintaining our spirit and traditions. The Penn Band was always one of his top priorities and he put so much behind the scenes work into making it an enjoyable experience for everyone. Penn Band wouldn’t have been the same without Adam!”
“Adam has gone above and beyond any other band member in his four years. His dedication and leadership is unparalleled, he successfully led the Penn Band through and out of Covid, all while maintaining an exuberant attitude and a high spirit unmatched. He served as Low Brass sleader in 2019, Vice President in 2020 and President in 2021, all difficult roles that require an extreme amount of time and effort. His fun loving personality combined with his brilliant leadership skills make him one of the most loved and well respected seniors in the Penn Band.”
Simran Sawhney, W’22
“Simran has been an active member of CP since her freshman year. She’s also been a huge asset to our board as former president and business manager. Her incredible leadership carried Counterparts through a pandemic, virtual series, and return to in-person shows. But beyond that, Simran is a light that brings joy to anyone fortunate enough to know her. She’s always there for her friends, in and outside the rehearsal room. Her pop goddess voice is (and should be!!) known by many, but her kind heart is what makes her truly special. CP, and the arts community as a whole, won’t be the same without her. We love you Simi!!”
Analyn Sil, C’22
Disney A Cappella, Glee Club, Penn Sirens
“Analyn always goes above and beyond in our rehearsals to create a welcoming space for our members. She serves as our music director and thinks of many ways to train new members, whether it be through unique exercises or leveraging the knowledge of our veteran members for support. She always keeps a positive attitude, even in spots where most music directors would turn sour, such as when members forget their notes during tech week. In these situations, she guides the group with a firm, yet encouraging tone that ensures we reach our full potential. Analyn also cares for her underclassmen members outside of rehearsal, where she checks in on how they’re doing and helps them find their place socially. She goes above and beyond for Disney A Cappella both in and out of rehearsal. Analyn is also an active member of Penn Sirens and the Glee Club where she has been cast as the lead in their Spring show. Analyn always makes everyone’s day better and is truly deserving of this recognition.”
Sara Kate Silva, C’22
“Sara Kate is a musical genius. She took on the role of Assistant Music Director as a freshman, held it for two years, and then moved up to music director during the 2021 calendar year. She led us through a virtual semester and a return to in-person shows, which is a feat in and of itself. Sara Kate pushes us to be the best we can be and is constantly reminding us why we love music. She also supplies us with endless pictures of her smushie cat Wallace, which are MUCH needed. We love her and will miss her so much next year!!”
Kristen Smith, C’22
Off the Beat
“As a sophomore in spring of 2020, Kristen was an incredibly dedicated young member of her a capella group, Off The Beat, looking forward to her spring show. When covid quarantine began in March, her love and dedication for OTB did not in any way diminish. Instead, halfway through her junior year, she took on the role as President, despite not having had more than three in person shows throughout her career. Nevertheless, Kristen flourished as a leader, constantly boosterish the morale of the group and instilling the same sense of dedication to OTB that she possesses in all of us. I believe that Kristen in the perfect candidate for this award.”
Simon Stephanos, C’22
Without a Net
“Simon has been a part of Without A Net for all 4 years of his time here at Penn. He currently serves as the Assistant Director, though in the past he has also served as the Communications Chair and Producer. Simon has created an inclusive, fun, and incredible learning environment within the improv troupe. He has truly made himself an indispensable member.”
Rachel Swym, C’22
Stimulus Children’s Theatre
“Rachel Swym has been a member of Stimulus all eight semesters of her Penn career, and she has never not given her all to the work she does for the group. Even before she was on the Board, she arranged a special community show with the Girl Scouts at Penn in her very first semester, which has led to a years-long community partnership that puts on shows attended by over one hundred children of West Philadelphia. She exemplifies Stim’s commitment to creating meaningful art for all ages and to community service. She helped found Stim’s volunteer workshop series in her sophomore year, above and beyond the existing community show programming, and during the pandemic, started a virtual picture book reading series to continue Stim’s activism online. She hasn’t just served the West Philadelphia community; she has served the Penn performing arts community, too. After becoming a costume designer her freshman year, she immediately became the TAC-e wide costume mentor and has held this role for over two years, training and supporting many aspiring designers. She taught herself to sew, build puppets, make sugar glass, and do many other things during her time at Penn just to serve the needs of the shows which she worked on. She approached every designer’s meeting with a thoughtful plan and an attention to the subtle symbolism of costume design. She was also incredibly organized, attentive to detail, and still compassionate and considerate in her mentorship as a senior member of StimBoard and producer of James and the Giant Peach. And somehow, between all her commitments, she finds time to be a shoulder to cry on, to fly to the need of other shows and the PAC Shop itself – showing up last-minute to load-outs and shop hours – and if she can’t help, to find someone who can. When something needs done fast and well, Rachel is the person to ask. Rachel is someone who often lets her skilled work speak for her, but she wholeheartedly deserves the spotlight after four years with Stim.”
“Rachel was one of the most helpful and calming presences during Waiting For Lefty, and her producing work with STIM shows how dedicated she is to her group and the show. She’s such a lovely presence to have at any show.”
Zhiyao Tang, EE’22, GEE’23
Penn Chinese Theater
“Applying his Peking Opera and Kungfu skills on stage, Zhiyao has won himself a large fan base. PCT is also grateful for his engineering skills for constructing large sets.”
Bre Trainor, N’22, GNU’24
Bloomers, Penn Singers
“Bre truly exemplifies a leader within the performing arts. She was the first member of Bloomers to truly welcome me into the group and make me feel comfortable. No matter what Bre is juggling (between her nursing workload, clinical, a THRIVING social media account, rehearsal) she is always first and foremost a friend to all. She makes sure to check in on everyone in cast and is always there to offer important and wise advice. Everyone looks up to her in the rehearsal room because of her strong personality and especially because she is downright hilarious. We will all miss Bre!”
Homer Wang, GEN’22, W’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“ “Super good! But…” As a director and president, Homer always proceeded with unreserved compliments. In the fall semester of his junior year, we further saw his passion for theater on stage as an actor.”
Hansheng Hanson Wang
Penn Chinese Theater
“Hanson always knew what he wanted. He waited for this role since freshman year, and this semester he finally found the opportunity. Everyone enjoyed his lay-back attitude, unintentionally funny moments, and incredible physique during rehearsals.”
Yihan Wang, W’22
Penn Chinese Theater, Penn EnChord
“Yihan Wang has been an active member of the performing arts community since freshman year. As an actress, she demonstrated her exceptional skills and energy both on stage and on screen through roles like Dongmei Ma from Goodbye, Mr. Loser (PCT 2022 Spring Production), Huilan Ma (Claire Zachanassian) from The Visit (PCT 2021 Fall Production), Pozzo from Waiting for Godot (PCT 2021 Spring Production), and The Ghost from Before the Coffee Gets Cold (PCT 2020 Fall Production). On stage, she could also be spotted singing with her a cappella group Penn Enchord where she arranged and soloed Haus of Gaga (Lady Gaga medley) and Omar Sharif, helped arranging Dear Theodosia for two other members in the group. Aside from performing, Yihan showcased her talent as a hair and makeup artist with her work in The Village (PCT 2019 Fall Production) and The Prince and The Wooglefoof (Stim 2018 Fall Production), and assisted in publicity for Well! (Front Row 2018-2019 Winter Production).”
Yingfan Christina Wang, C’22, LPS’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“Christina has the voice that is destined for theater. Her warmth and caring during rehearsals made her an invaluable addition to the PCT family this semester.”
Amanda Watson, N’22, GR’25
“Amanda is an extremely dedicated musician, vocalist, and artist. Serving as music director for Quaker Notes, she was formative in creating a group passionate about music and engaging in music as a community. In our group she always encouraged and inspired greatness. For many of the Quaker Notes, Amanda made the performing arts community at Penn feel like home, a place where we love to be and make music together.”
Yuwen Wong, C’22
West Philly Swingers
“She inspired me and the whole troupe with her knowledge and passion for lindy hop to learn the dance form without leaving any gaps. Her attention to detail has always inspired me to understand the value of every single step and count in any performance or social dance experience.”
“Yuwen lead the dance troupe as captain during the pandemic, an incredibly difficult feat for a dance troupe that centers on a partnered dance. Nonetheless, she fostered community and helped the troupe grow in depth and understanding of the history of Lindy Hop, one of the dances we practice, through solo jazz dance, African American history/present, and a study of jazz music itself. She has continued to push our troupe to honor the history and past from which the dance emerged, allowing for greater understanding and respect throughout our dance troupe at Penn as well as the greater swing dance community around Philadelphia!”
“Yu Wen has been a member of West Philly Swingers since her Freshman fall, and since the beginning, has showcased her dedication and care for the community we have built together. After her first semester, she was elected to be social chair, which is a crucial role focused on binding us together as a group by integrating new members, while also fostering a community within the troupe and in the PAC community overall. I and many other members personally experienced her doing exactly this, making us feel welcome, included, and safe from the very beginning. In her tenure as social chair, she worked tirelessly to ensure an involved and diverse dance troupe by organizing outreach events, like our tradition of dancing along Locust Walk, to ensure that all members of the Penn community had an opportunity to interact with this art form and its rich history. During these events, she wasnâ€™t afraid to talk to anyone and everyone who was interested in dancing and jazz, and made a particular effort to reach out to communities that were traditionally underrepresented in our troupe; as a result, we invited one of the strongest and most diverse newbie classes in our troupeâ€™s history, with an unprecedented 0% drop rate after their first semester. After being social chair for a year, she was elected to be Captain-President of the Troupe starting the spring of her Sophomore year, where she continued to exhibit her values for diversity, cultural competency, compassion, and dance. However, a few months in, we were all blindsided by the COVID-19 pandemic. She quickly shifted gears, and handled it with all of the grace, care, and wisdom that had led us to electing her to the position. She helped troupe members who were stranded in Philly after Pennâ€™s decision to evict on-campus students by utilizing our robust alumni and community networks to find emergency accommodations and storage for studentsâ€™ belongings, all while working closely with DAC and PAC to ensure that members of the performing arts community were being taken care of. She continued to preserve our community when we went virtual – we were even able to put on a virtual show in the fall and maintain the ties of community and dance that held us together, only because of her inspired leadership. When it came time to elect the next board, we chose to elect her again and she accepted the responsibility, wanting to do the best she could to guide us out of the pandemic and hopefully back towards in-person events. Her leadership was instrumental in helping us return to in-person shows and rehearsals safely and responsibly, while also helping us get back to the things that we all missed about getting to see each other in person. However, there are many leaders on campus, and they do not all quite represent the spirit of a performing arts community despite their inspiring leadership or other qualities. Yu Wen, however, does. Perhaps more remarkable to me than her leadership is her complete dedication to Lindy Hop, the swing dance that our troupe practices and was founded with, as not just an art form, but a piece of Black history and a gift that we cannot practice without appreciation. She has always brought the unique history of Lindy into her dancing, as long as I have known her, and that appreciation and respect for the art form is something that I look up to and hope to emulate. She worked extensively to build new community connections and strengthen existing ones within Philadelphia and the Northeast, particularly with communities of color, working with Black artists and dancers when arranging events like Jazz Attack and Fish Fry, venues where members of the greater Philadelphia community are invited to learn and dance with us and each other. In her every action for this troupe, in every choreography she has done, in every late-night conversation about dance she has had, her insight and love and respect for the dance in all its forms has shone through.”
Madison Woods, C’22
“Madison is the main character. There’s literally no question about it. She is the perfect combination of beauty, brains, talent, and star power. She’s the type of person that lights up a room just by walking into it with her smile and certified dad jokes. Personally, I’ll never forget meeting Madison over Zoom during my CP audition. She taught me my part during group round and immediately made me feel at ease during a very stressful week. The performing arts community, let alone the entirety of Penn, won’t be the same without her infectious energy and kind heart. I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with her and look forward to having her as a friend for the rest of my life.”
Wenyi Xu, C’22
Penn Chinese Theater
“She is PCT’s little penguin. Her cuteness goes without saying. In addition to being a great actor, she is also on PCT’s marketing team, capturing memorable moments for everyone.”
Kevin Zhao, ENG’22
Disney A Cappella, Glee Club
“Kevin has been as committed to the performing arts space as one could be. As the Vice President of Disney, a four-year member of the Glee Club, and the music director for the UPGRADE Game Development club, he uses his perfect pitch to be a leader and mentor to others. He has a specific talent for teaching music to others, as he’s taken multiple singers without any formal musical background, and brought them up to snuff with music theory concepts in just a semester. He also dabbles in his own creative musical composing. He can often be seen running around to do whatever’s necessary for the show, such as grabbing snacks for tech week or bringing dinner/gifts to members who are in quarantine.”
“I would like the Platt House to recognize and honor Kevin Zhou for his three-and-a-half years performing in Disney A Cappella and four years performing in the Penn Glee Club. Kevin is an amazing musician, mentor, and friend. Combining his music theory knowledge with his superb musicianship, Kevin sings pieces with profound understanding and heartfelt emotion. Plus, he routinely uses his perfect pitch to keep the group in key. Those who have been fortunate enough to receive guidance, musical or otherwise, from Kevin have become better musicians, students, and people for it. On a personal level, he has been a superb mentor and “big” to me, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to learn from him, sing with him, and goof around with him every so often. I wish my friend all the best in his future endeavors, and would like to remind him that, even after he crosses the threshold of graduation, he’s got friends on the other side.”
Penn Chinese Theater
“Yixin is relatively new to PCT and acting in general, but he gave a refreshing twist to a crucial character in a well-known Chinese comedy. His dedication to acting and the club set a good role model for everyone.”
Daina Troy, W’98
Alumni Spotlight on Daina Troy, W’98
Daina Troy is a Penn alum as well as a proud Philly native! When applying to school, she originally wanted to go into Engineering and applied for the M&T program. She was ultimately admitted to the Wharton School and spent the entire summer before matriculating studying the fields of management and marketing. Upon arriving on campus, Daina knew that she wanted to have a good Black experience at Penn. She had a busy extra-curricular schedule after joining the Black Student League, Black Wharton Undergraduate Alliance, and the African American Arts Alliance (4A). For her senior year, she also joined Friars, and she was present for the beginnings of UMOJA, though it had not quite started in its formal capacity while she was a student. While enjoying life at the University, Daina found Wharton challenging, and the arts, specifically theatre, gave her something to dream about. She would wake up in the morning excited to pursue theatre, and she applied the consumer experience skills she learned at Wharton to her passions in the performing arts.
After graduating, Daina married her interests working in entertainment, management, and marketing in New York City. She spent time working at Bad Boy Records, J Records, and Interscope, and she even spent time working on Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls’ posthumous album! After a while, Daina realized that she wanted to pivot out of the entertainment and management industries, and she joined the staff team at Makuu: The Black Cultural Center, right here at Penn. Working at Makuu gave her space to explore the crossover between artistry and student development. This experience also helped her develop a new perspective both about the entertainment industry and about the University. In addition to her work, Daina is also a proud mother of twin sons. Between 2013 and 2019, she took a break to focus on family. She returned to Makuu in 2019 and noted how students’ needs have changed over time. Daina shares that she loves her role of framing the journey for students: “They know what they want to do. I am giving them permission to pursue those dreams.” Daina now works with the Penn Spectrum team in Alumni Relations at Penn, where she continues to help University community members follow their dreams.
Daina shares her favorite memory of the arts at Penn: she had her first lighting job in the 1996 production of A Soldier’s Play! The play featured a full Black male cast, and Daina fondly recalls everyone really growing into their roles. Today, Daina feels fortunate to work with so many alumni who are leaving their mark on the arts world. She is also a co-lecturer in the Africana Studies department, and she is working on a modern archive of Black art. The arts are important to Daina because they provide a good creative release. To students interested in pursuing the arts beyond college, Daina reminds them to be patient: “Consider your integrity and the sacrifices you’re willing to make. There is net capital in the long run, and you need to be passionate enough about it to be willing to wait. The reward is not immediate. Don’t give up art.” Wise words to lead us all.
This interview was conducted by Jordyn Harris, ENG’25.
Masking Exemption Rules for Performances
As of February 15, a limited Masking Exemption for performances, film projects, and photo shoots has been approved. See our COVID Safety page for the full protocols.
COVID Safety for Audiences
Mandates for Student Performances at the University of Pennsylvania
COVID Safety Measures for Audiences
Audience members must comply with COVID Safety Measures put in place by the University of Pennsylvania and Platt Student Performing Arts House, the University’s advisory structure for student-run performing arts clubs. These mandates include a day-of health screening survey, and providing information for contact tracing.
Please note that visitors may not be allowed backstage, and additional protocols may be determined by the producing groups or by venue management. Please come prepared!
1. Symptom Screening
Before arriving on campus, all audience members must complete a day-of health screening and vaccine attestation, administered via the PennOpen system. This screening is confidential, and will be presented at the door before entering the seating area.
For audience members within the Penn Community (including students, postdocs, employees, vendors and contractors): use PennOpen Pass
For audience members outside the Penn Community: use PennOpen Campus
(PennOpen Campus screening can also be administered verbally for those who do not have a smartphone or device available.)
2. Contact Information
All attending members will be required to provide their names, phone numbers, and email addresses at the door. This information will be used for contact tracing in the event of a reported exposure.
Before buying your ticket to a show, please also review the University Visitor Guidelines and University Travel Guidances offered by Penn Global.
Visitors and audience members are welcome to use a well-fitting mask for additional protection. However, given low rates of transmission, Penn campus buildings do not currently require audience members to wear masks.
For students, staff, faculty, and members of the Penn community:
PennOpen Pass is a daily symptom tracker designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the Penn community. PennOpen Pass requires a Pennkey for access.
For visitors and audience members without a PennKey:
PennOpen Campus is a required, pre-arrival, daily screening for all University of Pennsylvania event participants, day visitors, vendors, and non-badged contractors. The screening will generate either a Green Pass required to enter University buildings, or a Red Pass which advises the individual to seek care from a health care provider.
The University of Pennsylvania also requires visitors to follow public health guidelines for vaccination, wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing, and helping keep our campus safe. For the University Public Health Guidance visit public health guidance.