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Student Spotlight: Maria Elena Maddy

Maria Maddy Headshot Name: Maria Elena Maddy

Class Rank: Junior

Major and Minor: BFA Musical Theatre and BA Dance

Hometown: Peterstown, WV

Why did you choose to attend WVU? 
Both my parents attended WVU's School of Music as graduate students, and they actually got engaged during my mother's final recital at the CAC in Bloch Hall, so to say WVU holds a special place in my family's heart is a bit of an understatement! While I may have visited WVU for this reason, I made the decision to attend once I got on campus and explored my degree program in person. I fell in love with WVU's atmosphere, and the close-knit, yet professional, community of the School of Theatre and Dance. I knew this was a place that would push me to explore my abilities, as well as guide me on how to do that successfully.

What do you like about your major and your WVU experience? 
I love how my majors allow me to explore so many aspects of theatre and dance. It is part of the musical theatre curriculum to take classes outside of performance, like costuming and set building, and the dance program allows you to study all different styles, as well as other aspects of dance, like choreography and dance education. Above all, my favorite part of my majors are my teachers. Because these programs have a smaller number of students, I get to know my professors very well, and they are able to help me in my classes in a very individualized way. The mentors I have found in them make me feel confident in exploring my craft and trying new things on and off stage!

What advice would you give to prospective students considering attending WVU's College of Creative Arts? 
WVU might seem like a big place, but the people of the College of Creative Arts aren't going to let you get lost! The professors genuinely care about their students and root for their success. On top of that, these programs foster the creation of creative ensembles, and your fellow students will support you onstage and off. I have found mentors and friends here that I know I will be able to count on for years to come, all while discovering a version of myself that I didn't even know existed.

Have you recently received any awards or scholarships? Have you recently participated in any competitions, productions, performances or exhibitions?
In the spring 2022 semester, I was given the amazing opportunities to play "Frenchy" in Sweet Charity and perform and choreograph in the Spring Dance Showcase. Both performances were incredibly fun, and I got to explore so many characters and styles of dance, as well as my own choreographic process, all while getting to perform with my friends! I was also honored to win in the Performing Arts Category for the 2022 Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium, along with my co-creator Becca Hyde, for our work Why Don't You Smile More? a choreography project that examines societal rules placed on women and how they affect their lives. Becca and I are developing this project under the guidance of our mentor, Dr. Yoav Kaddar, and the Honors EXCEL program. We can't wait to share the completed work and see where it takes us! I am also finishing out this semester by preparing to start my summer contract with Missoula Children's Theatre, the group that gave me my start in acting, and I cannot wait to be a part of this amazing organization for the summer!

Do you participate in any clubs or organizations?
I am a member of the Student Dance Association.