Student Ambassador Program
Nominations are open through January 31.
For all students interested in international theatre, the Student Ambassador Program is an exceptional opportunity to meet and greet renowned international guests attending the annual conference. Student USITT members may apply to be paired with a visiting international guests based on their shared areas of focus, a conference connection that encourages international networking.
Students are selected based on fields of study, compelling application, and letter of recommendation from a mentor. Students may be nominated by a faculty member or mentor, or may self-nominate. All nominations should be made at the link above. Student Ambassadors receive conference registration and are invited to a luncheon with the four international guests.
The deadline for applications is Jan. 31, 2023. Winners will be announced by February 15, 2023.
Here are our four guests for St. Louis in 2023: for their full files, check out the USITT website at the above link
Simona Rybakova, a Czech costume designer, has consistently designed innovative costumes, often reinventing them through upcycling. She has designed for the Opera Mozart, State Opera, and the National Theatre Prague, Brno, and Ostrava as well as for television and film.
Faiz Zahir is a seasoned cultural activist working in Bangladesh in diverse areas of theatre, space design, film-making, performance and direction. A prominent director and set, light, and costume designer for stage plays, Faiz has a range of experience in the theater and performance environment in Bangladesh, the political and practical issues in preparing a performance, as well as the popular performance genres, dance, songs, folk tales, puppets, and other cultural traditional performances.
Joanne Popinska, the co-founder of Infinite Frame Media, is a documentarian and sociologist with a Ph.D. in Film Directing, specializing in Virtual Reality, from the Polish National Film School. Her expertise is focused in film, rather than theatre, so this is your opportunity to explore this emerging technology.
Amethist First Rider, a member of the Blood Tribe, born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Amethyst is an instructor at Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry and is is a major proponent in buffalo restoration, being one of the original organizers of Iinii Initiative, an ongoing buffalo restoration project that has resulted in the signing of a Buffalo Treaty by First Nations on both sides of the Canada – USA border.
Student Ambassador, Grzegorz Labuda, a Costume Design graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, shared his experience to encourage students to apply this year.
When I read the information about the Student Ambassador program my first thought was: "Great, but I am sure I will never get it". But when I found out who the guest designers were I just knew I had to try. I felt I needed to meet Fruzsina Nagy as her work and style were incredibly inspiring to me.
So I tried. And a few months later, there we were, walking around Baltimore among hundreds of theatre artists. It will sound cliche when I say that this event was life-changing for me, but it really was. The meeting with Fruzsina happened at the right place and time. We both had a great time together during the conference. Besides the advisory meeting with her and talking about a professional career (which was very helpful and encouraging for me) we ended up spending more time together, attending different events and getting to know each other. We discovered our approach to design was very similar and I knew I could learn from her a great deal.
Soon she offered for me to join a big, international project in Budapest that she was creating in the summer as her assistant. I went there for a couple of weeks and became part of the Hungarian-Czech-Slovakian-Polish team, observing other artists in their creation process and assisting Fruzsina. Not only learning from these amazing designers was important but most of all establishing new, international connections. I had a chance to work by Fruzsina's side and observe her genius in action. I am very grateful for this opportunity.
If there is anyone still thinking "should I apply to Student Ambassador?" I say - YES. This program can really help young professionals spread their wings.
APPLICATION INFORMATION AND PROCESS:
Instructors/Mentors submit nomination and letter of recommendation. Please include the following information:
Your name, title, position, and contact information
Name of your institution
Student’s name and contact information
Student’s grade level
Student’s area of interest
Student’s unique qualifications
Students will receive a link to complete the rest of their application, including an essay of up to 500 words:
Why are you seeking this opportunity?
Which international guest would you like to meet?
How could your studies be enriched by this opportunity?
Submit at least three questions you would like to ask of your prospective guest.
Name and contact information, email, cell phone
USITT membership number
Sample copies of student’s work (photos, drawing, renderings)