UW Rocks ASTR

Reflection by Professor Odai Johnson

The PhD program was represented in full force, once again, at this year’s American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) conference: faculty, emeritus faculty, graduate students, and alumni all made a strong presence in this prestigious event. Current student Jyana Browne won the Thomas Marshall travel award, while recent UW graduate Gibson Cima, PhD ’12, won the Targeted Research Fellowship.  Two other recent graduates, Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, PhD ’10, and Jeanmarie Higgins, PhD ’11, jointly won the Collaborative Research Award.  Among the other points of visibility: Associate Professor Scott Magelssen served as conference program co-chair;  Professor Emeritus Barry Witham delivered a moving memorial for distinguished scholar and former UW professor Herb Blau; Gib Cima and Professor Odai Johnson delivered plenary papers; and two current graduate students, Bahar Karlidag and Chris Goodson, delivered papers in the working sessions.

Present at the conference were Scott Magelssen, Stefka Mihaylova, Odai Johnson, Barry Witham, Angela Weaver (School of Drama Librarian, Theatre Library Association); current students included Jyana Brown, Bahar Karlidag, Chris Goodson; and recent graduates Samer Al Sabor, Lezlie Cross, Gib Cima, Michelle Granshaw, Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, Jeanmarie Higgins, Michael Chemers, and Ken Cerniglia.

The conference was a busy three days of working sessions, seminar, plenary papers, and career and professionalization workshops. Students met the editors of journals, acquisition editors for university book presses, and attended workshops such as ‘Surviving the Dissertation’ and ‘Publish, don’t Perish.’

The culminating event for our cohort was the traditional UW dinner, in which current students united with returning students. Sixteen of us gathered this year to meet and re-connect with UW family. The table represented the full range of the profession: from first time conference-goers to seasoned graduate students, recent graduates who are now junior faculty, senior scholars, and emeritus faculty. We discussed, from our unique career stage vantage points, the best parts of the profession.