Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2014 scholar Elise Collins

Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2014 scholar Elise Collins

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova.

Elise Collins as Judith in Equivocation at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Scholar Year: 2014
Hometown: Highlands Ranch
College(s), Degree(s), and Graduation Year(s):
University of Colorado Boulder, BFA Performance Major and Leadership Minor, and (hopefully) graduating in 2018

What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating?

After college, I would like to perform theatre professionally and utilize theatre to create social change. I would like to start a theatre group that tells the stories of underrepresented groups and utilizes interactive methods to discuss social justice topics through performance. I hope to hold the mirror up to nature and provide audiences with the opportunity to rehearse how they would deal with various subjects in real life.

Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them.

In college I have been part of the Interactive Theatre Project, the Presidents Leadership Class, CU OnStage, salsa, blues,and swing. The Interactive Theatre Project is a group that utilizes techniques from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to start dialogues about complex social issues and create positive social change. I joined this organization because I am passionate about social justice and theatre. The President’s Leadership Class has been a wonderful opportunity to study leadership, both in the classroom and in the real world. I have been president and secretary for CU OnStage, an organization that creates performance opportunities for students by organizing the annual CU Fringe Festival, a weekend full of free student performance art. I wanted to give students an opportunity to pursue their passion in an environment where it was safe to take risks and fail. I enjoy dancing salsa, blues, and swing because it gives me a chance to listen to good music, move freely, and spend time with friends.

Tell us about an important mentor you have had.

Angela Thieman Dino, my professor for multi-level issues in leadership, greatly influenced the way that I lead and approach new challenges. She helped me learn how to approach challenges from a mindset of abundance rather than a mindset of scarcity. Her guidance has taught me how to research, given me the tools to become an expert on any subject within a month, and showed me how to view every concept through a variety of lenses – an individual lens, an interpersonal lens, and an institutional lens. She has given me confidence, perspective, and the courage to create positive social change.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I received the best advice in the form of a phrase from a director’s pre-show ritual. Before every show, the entire cast would recite the following phrase: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This quote always gives me perspective and strength in times of stress. It has shaped the way that I view the world and overcome obstacles in my life.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?

I would like to have dinner with William Shakespeare, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosalind Franklin. I would ask Shakespeare about his writing process and the details about his life, ask Gandhi about his leadership style and finding a worthwhile cause to pursue, ask Eleanor Roosevelt for social activism advice, and ask Rosalind Franklin about how she maintained such an incredible work ethic and overcame adversity within the male-dominated scientific community.

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