Student Spotlight: Rachael Wisely

Hailing from Phoenixville, PA, senior Humanities major Rachael Wisely is to star in Shakespeare in Performance's Taming of the Shrew as the infamous Katharine. As a four year member of the Shakespeare troupe, Rachael has pursued her dreams of becoming a professional actress under the expert guidance of Dr. Curtright. She is the fifth child of ten, a Shakespearean costume designer, and a dynamic creator in various forms of the arts. In light of all she is, Rachael hopes that she can inspire others to live more optimistically and joyfully. We had the opportunity to delve into the performance arts through the perspective of one of SiP's very own and discover the exciting world that awaits Rachael as she continues to study the craft.


Hey, Rachael! Let's start out with something fun - what did you do last summer? 

Last summer I had the amazing opportunity and privilege to attend one of the acting programs at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NY, revered and renown for its excellence in training and success.

I spent a month living in NY, receiving training from working professionals. This was the highlight of my summer, as it greatly impacted my life as an actor and a person.

How did our experience at the Stella Alder Studio of Acting help you decide what you wanted to do post-graduation, or in further academic studies?

The experience really prepared me for the application process of graduate school, especially in the performance arts! I have always wanted to become a professional actress and have always loved Shakespeare, so participating in the program like that made me even more resolute in my path.

I decided to apply to Mary Baldwin University (which has a specific Shakespeare in Performance program and a bunch of AMU alumni!), Yale University's School of Drama, DePaul University, University of San Diego, and Florida State University.

Tell us about the application process of the graduate schools you're applying to. How long do they take, and what do they entail?

Since I'm applying for graduate MFA [Masters in Fine Arts] programs, the application process takes a whole year - with auditions in either January or February. I began in the fall, and started my search for graduate programs that were the right fit for me. Most programs have an application you have to fill out, along with a personal statement and a resume, like many other graduate schools. 

What differentiates the MFA process from other graduate school applications is that the resume must also include your acting, or performance, resume. In addition to that, I provided headshots and scheduled an audition with the school at one of their locations. Recently, I had to fly out to an audition site that one of my prospective graduate programs was hosting, and they then have the chance to invite you for an interview or visit to their campus. Finally, around March or April, applicants begin to hear back from their respective programs!

What inspired you to pursue acting?

My desire to perform started from a very young age. My siblings often participated in plays and musicals, so I was exposed to the arts early in that regard. I've always loved music, films, and literature - especially Shakespeare - and thought it was incredible that acting plays a role in all of them. When I entered into middle school, I began to act in plays and sing in musicals myself, and that's all she wrote!

I remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to be an actress: I was around 10 or 11 years old, and my mom was costuming the play at my sister's high school. I would tag along with her to sit and watch the rehearsals. I remember these three guys on stage, and they had to turn on a lighter in their performance. However, the flame wouldn't ignite like it was supposed to - and, instead of panicking or breaking the scene, the actors just went with it. Like, total improv until the lighter worked. The actors were so in the moment and committed to playing the scene, and it was incredibly inspiring. The scene was funny, memorable, and fit seamlessly into the play. From then on, I just knew I wanted to what they did that day.

You're playing the lead role of Katherine in Shakespeare in Performance's Taming of the Shrew. Tell us about your role, and what you are looking forward to the most in this year's performance.

Katherine is fiery, passionate, and aggressive - but incredibly misunderstood. Her character development throughout the play is incredible, and she only realizes a moment of self-acknowledgement in her relationship with Petruchio. The two of them are able to come to an understanding of one another, but Katherine is the most impacted by it due to her realizing how she treats others. She's a complex and multifaceted character, for sure!

I cannot wait to perform in the new theatre! It's a thrust stage, so we'll be giving the AMU community a real Shakespearean experience in our performance. The whole troupe was fortunate enough to get a tour of what will be our stage during the construction process, and the whole thing made it so real to us that we will be participating in AMU history. 

Any favorite memories from being a part of the Shakespeare in Performance troupe?

There are too many favorite memories from Shakespeare to count! The best are the moments of comradery between the cast members and Dr. Curtright, our director, especially when Dr. C helps a particular member shine by bringing out the best in him/her. It's hard to explain, but all of the sudden you see that actor at one of their best moments, and it's electric to witness.

What is your typical day like now, as both a student and an actress?

I don't think I really have a typical day. Each one is different and shaped by what God throws at me, although structure is still there.

I go to work, class, Mass, prayer (as best I can), try to get all my homework done, give some time to my friends (if I can), work on memorizing and perfecting monologues and lines, read, eat I suppose, write emails, and have rehearsal.

In the impossible nooks and crannies of time I find free I have started to pick up writing, mostly poems and dialogue. In every day though there are always moments of praise and thanksgiving for the life I can't believe I have been able to live here in Ave.

What advice have you received that has had an impact on your life?

A recent piece of advice I have received is that "routine is the death of love," meaning, when we get into a routine (be it in acting, prayer life, or relationships) the spontaneity is lost and the task bears no fruit in our hearts.

The encouragement is to ever approach those precious parts of our life with fresh eyes, intentionality, and humble receptivity to the Spirit.

One of the traps I fall into as an actor is routine, and I see how it can be a trap for me in other areas of my life. This little phrase has inspired me to head 'once more unto the breach' with new spirit and and joy!

The Art of Acing an Interview


Interviews, like taxes, are something no one can escape. 

As a young adult, the interview is a right of passage from college student to “employed adult”; and as if they weren’t scary enough, interviews are usually the first impression a potential employer has of you.  It is important to understand that interviews are not only about reviewing your resume or portfolio, but also presenting yourself in a desirable way to a hopeful employer. 

Even at 22, I have been to my fair share of interviews already, and to be completely honest, some have gone horribly.  However, with experience (both good and bad) comes insight, and I would like to share some of my personal habits before, during, and after each interview that I have found helpful and has resulted in job offers. 

I like to think of interviews as a three-step process in which the employer formulates an impression on you, but more importantly, where you formulate an impression on the company that you could potentially work for. 

The first, and arguably the most important step, is preparing for the interview.  Take some time (as in hours, not minutes) to look up the company’s website and find what initially stands out to you.  Personally, I look for specific words or phrases that are repeated or stand out, so that I can mention them during the interview when applicable.  For example, a company that I was interviewing with used the word “diverse” numerous times on their website, and I later found out that they were hosting a diversity summit at their headquarters (which I made sure to attend).  Mentioning what made me a diverse candidate was what ultimately set me apart from my peers, and I was able to attain an internship because of that one powerful little word.   You can never over-research a company, and by looking into the potential position, hiring staff, and company culture not only looks good, but helps you decide if you would make a good employee. 

The second step is actually pulling off the interview.  You researched for hours, you picked a tasteful outfit to wear (AND BATHED, please), and you’ve practiced potential questions in front of the mirror or with a friend.  Come a bit early, with a smile on your face, and greet everyone you come into contact with.  Remember, the interviewer isn’t there to make the interview hard or uncomfortable, and most likely wants to hire your just as much as you want to be hired.  All of the preparation you have done will make the interview seem less daunting, but it’s important to remember a couple of things:

·      Shake hands firmly and make eye contact.

·      Do your best to remember names. (This makes the third step easier!)

·      Show confidence in your answers. Employers are interested in how you say things just as much as the actual content of your answers.  

·      Be yourself.

It is always okay to ask for some time to formulate an answer to a tough question, or to ask the interviewer to repeat or reword a question, but it is NEVER okay to lie during an interview.  You want to display your authentic and capable self during this conversation, and lying will only hurt your chances in finding a good fit in the company. 

The third step is employed after your interview: be sure to thank the interviewer (by name) for his or her time, and exchange business cards or contacts. Give them some more of that direct eye contact that makes everyone uncomfortable and a nice firm handshake (make sure you don’t have super sweaty palms or else you will stay up till 3am wishing that you wiped your palm before you made physical contact with them, TRUST ME). 

This “after interview” step is all about going the extra mile to leave a good impression, so be ready to follow-up with a thank you letter, phone call, or e-mail.  I have always been told that nothing beats a hand-written letter, but if this is not possible, e-mail will work just fine. (Just make sure you are prompt in sending the thank you.)  Be sure to include something in the letter about your conversation with the interviewer, so that it seems more personal and that they are reminded of who you are. If all goes well, you should hear good news from them soon!

The best thing you can do for yourself, as a young adult, is to know your capabilities and articulate them well.  Having this skill set is what ultimately will get you your dream job, and will help you decide whether you are a good fit within a company. Happy interviewing! 

Student Spotlight: Emma George

Emma George, a junior Michigan native and Communications major, is going to be a part of the first class to graduate with the newly-introduced major. Her bubbly personality and attention to detail has helped her be an effective and friendly Writing tutor for Student Support Services, as well as a classmate that her peers naturally gravitate towards. She is a lover of literature, cats, tea, and her faith. She describes herself as a person with simple pleasures and one who tries to make the most impact in the littlest ways, as inspired by Saint Therese. We were able to sit down with Emma to find out just how much she is going to change our world.

Hi, Emma! What did you do last summer?

I worked for my family's business in concessions this past summer. I've done so for awhile now, actually! One of the best things about working for my family's business, and mainly the food industry, is the ability to talk to all different kinds of people on a daily basis.


In addition to that, I began working for a brewery, which has an even more sociable and active environment! It was rewarding because I learned to work outside of a family environment and had a more immersive experience in customer service. I definitely grew a lot as a person through working this summer, because both my jobs helped me gain more confidence in my ability to communicate with others.

Did your experiences this summer inspire you to declare the Communications major?

It definitely helped! I was actually a Literature major prior to switching to Communications, and I did so because the major was more in line with what I'm hoping to do career-wise. 

What are your plans post-graduation?

I would love to get involved with Catholic media, especially writing or filming videos for a Catholic website or network like EWTN. I found an amazing Catholic website based in Michigan that I'm hoping to intern for in the future, so I'm sure that experience will provide me with a more certain direction in what I'd like to do after graduation.

Why did you choose to come to Ave? What made you decide that this was the right university for you?

I came to Ave because the people here seemed really great: they were smart, nice, Catholic, but still down-to-earth, and I wanted to be like that. I wanted a Catholic liberal arts school, and Ave had the benefit of being warm! When I came to visit during my senior year of high school, it just felt right.

What do you love about being a student at Ave?  

It is a beautiful place. Walking around in the warm sun and seeing the beautiful plants and statues really lift my mind and spirits. I love how everyone is so passionate about their faith, and how it is integrated into the classes.

What would you say your best character trait is? How has it helped you in your life, especially academically?

I am a very organized person and I like to stay ahead on things. This sometimes means I miss out on fun things to do homework early, and then have free time when everyone else is busy, so I need to be careful to achieve a balance and not overwork myself.

However, this trait has overall made it easier for me to do well in my studies and important work. It also helps me to be much less stressed and be able to enjoy myself when there are events I want to attend.

What things are most important to you now, and why are they important?

Definitely academia, as I always strive to receive the best grades I can in my classes. I believe my work is a reflection of who I am as a person, so I try to apply myself in that way. 

Of course, my family and friends are the most obvious important things in my life, because they support me and help keep my spirit light. This year, I developed deeper friendships with others due to it being a better semester schedule-wise. I'm incredibly thankful for the time I'm able to spend with them and they really brighten up my life.

What does a day in the life of Emma George look like?

I usually attend morning mass, head over to breakfast, do some homework, and have class. I also tutor in the afternoon and work in the phone center in the evening. When I have free time, I often opt to hang out with friends, study a bit more, and go to the many events that are going on at Ave.

On the weekends, I like to sleep in! However, I have a Holy Hour I attend that makes me get out of bed and start the day in prayer.

How would you like to help out our world?

I like to follow St. Therese’s model of doing little things. Though sometimes I feel like it really isn’t enough, I think that I can make an impact with prayer.

I believe that little things like helping my siblings or friends with homework, going to volunteer once in a while, or listening to and supporting a friend in need can change the world around me more than I could imagine. 

The Vocation of Work: How to Find Your God-Given Purpose

Last fall, I was confused. 

 I had two majors - Psychology and Health Science - and no idea what I wanted to do after graduation! I was hoping to find myself in a career that was mentally stimulating enough to keep me engaged, but not so vexing that I would become exhausted at the very thought of it. 

 I am pleased to tell you all I did find a path that I love, but only after major self-reflection. My problem was that I was choosing a career objectively, focusing on income and effort. It was not until I started thinking about what talents I possess, and where I felt God was calling me to be, did I find the right fit for me. 


When considering possible career paths, many of us tend to focus on what we want to do and not where God is calling us to be. I know this sounds cliché, but we are blessed with a variety of talents, gifts, and other dynamics that are vital to the workforce and the overall betterment of our world. We were given these talents for a reason - and few of us know why - but we do know what we are good at and how to use those skills. God gave us our skills for a reason, and it is our job to use those skills to help others in any way we can, and maybe somehow along the way determine what it is that God is calling us to do.  

Throughout my entire life, I was told to pray for my vocation. You know what I mean: lay person, married, religious, and so on. People tend to focus so much on these callings and completely disregard our vocation to work. Just as God has called us to marriage or religious life, he has called us to our work and careers. This may not seem as serious since it is possible to change careers, but no matter what path we choose, we still possess the ability to effect other people in immeasurable ways.  

God created all of us for a purpose, and it is our duty to uncover that purpose. He gifted each of us with our own special talents to help others. I think we can all agree that no matter what we do choose for a career it will contribute to society in some way, therefore, what we do is important. Each job was created due to some societal need, and often when choosing a career path, we choose based on our awareness of a need in conjunction with our skills. These needs are not always dramatic, like discovering the cure to cancer (but could be for some!), but seeing a need for educating children, helping the sick, raising your own children, or even helping people with their finances (I need this!).  

All jobs are important, and without one of the aforementioned roles filled, society would not be able to function. Since every position important, it is vital for us to consider God’s call when choosing a career path and plan, because he desires for us to aid others using our unique talents.  

 Through providence, we are tasked with answering God’s call and using our talents in the way He desires. The Holy Spirit Guides and empowers people to a life and work to which God leads them, and through answering the God’s call to the workplace a person is capable of helping others and discovering true happiness. This is so, because in answering God’s call and maintaining Christ in all aspects of our lives we are capable of finding true happiness.