May 07, 2015

Theater department recognizes students

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Theater recognized several of its outstanding students recently at the College of Liberal Arts Honors Day. 

Samantha Forehand, Edwardsville, received the Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of her dedication to the department. Forehand said she’s grateful for “the opportunities that have allowed me to flourish in my field of study.” Forehand will work in staff operations for Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer, and will return to SIU in the fall for her senior year. 

Jaclyn Grogan, Evansville, Ind., received the Christian H. Moe Playwriting Award for Best Long Play for “Last Seen Alice.” She also received the Eugene Jackson Outstanding Graduate Student Award for outstanding scholarship and service. “I was humbled to receive the Outstanding Graduate Student Award because I know how hard all of the graduate students in our department work,” she said. She graduates with a master’s degree in theater this spring. 

Several other students also received Christian H. Moe Playwriting Awards. They are:

Rory Leahy, Evanston, graduate student, Best Long Play Honorable Mention for “Response Scenario.”

Greg Aldrich, Fairbanks, Alaska, doctoral student in communication studies, Best Short Play for “An Exercise in Miscommunication.”

Myah Gary, Carbondale, doctoral student in health education, Best Short Play Honorable Mention for “Spread My Legs and Bring the Camera.” 

Daniel Heise, Columbia received the Archibald McLeod Award for Academic Excellence for his course work and overall GPA. “Honors Day is a great affirmation for the hard work the students put in,” he said. The award comes with a partial tuition waiver, a gift from McLeod’s children, Anne and Peter Koletzke. 

Katelin Coursey, Henderson, Ky., received the Award for Excellence in Performance for her repeatedly stellar work in the Department of Theater’s productions. She said SIU’s faculty helped her grow as a performer, and that she is “beyond grateful for the numerous opportunities I have in this department.”  She is a junior musical theater major. 

Jasmine Wiley, Milwaukee, Wis., received the Ira Aldridge Award, which the department presents to an African-American student who has demonstrated excellence as a theater practitioner and scholar. Wiley is currently working on SIU’s web series “Lucky 7.”  She appeared in the thesis film “Please Hold,” and she is a writer, actor and director for the Africana Theatre Lab. She is a senior. 

Lauren Josef, Phoenix, Ariz., received the Eelin Steward-Harrison Award for Excellence in Costume Design. “It was incredibly rewarding to receive my award, and it was a perfect capstone to three years of hard work,” she said. After graduating this spring, Josef will design costumes for Sideshow Theater Company’s production of “Chalk” at Victory Gardens in Chicago. 

Logan Reagan, Jacksonville, Ark., received the Mordecai Gorelik Award for Excellence in Scenic Design. Graduating this May with a master’s degree in theater, Reagan will serve as technical director for the Market House Theater in Paducah, Ky. 

Graduate student Delaney McKenzie, Kansas City, Mo., received the James Moody Award for Excellence in Lighting. “I’m a big fan of Jim Moody’s work, so it was thrilling to get an award in his name,” she said. This summer, McKenzie will serve as lead lighting technician at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. 

Graduate student Jonathan Semanski, Carterville, received the Award for Excellence in Technical Production for demonstrating skill as a technical director with SIU theater productions. He said he was surprised to receive the award. “You get so wrapped up with the work on a project, you don’t consider how it will be received,” he said. 

In addition to those awards, nine students received tuition waivers from the College of Liberal Arts based on their scholarship and performance. They are (listed by hometown): 


Carterville – Andrew K. X. Beyke

Columbia – Christopher L. Ceradsky

Du Quoin – Hayden C. Schubert

Glen Carbon – Audrey R. Foland

Herrin – Kristen E. Doty

Lincoln – Justin V. Broom

Rockford – Lana Z. Jensen


Monrovia – Taylor L. Jelley


Thomas – Clayton J. Bathiany 

The Department of Theater presented several other students with scholarships based on performance auditions or technical interviews and a scholarship application. They are (listed by hometown):


Broadview – Da’Veon C. Burtin

Carbondale – Stephanie Chavez

Carlinville – Braden T. Downs

Carterville – Zachary S. Bollman

Chicago – Modupe M. Ogunyemi, Shantesia K. Jordan

Des Plaines – Samuel M. Costello

Edwardsville – Conner J. Jones

Evanston – Abigail T. Warhus

Hebron – Matlyn M. Rybak

Milan – Jordan N. Ray

Vernon Hills – Patrick M. Hernandez


Jeffersonville – Noah J. Kelso

Newburgh – Nathaniel J. Washington


San Antonio – Chloee A. Leos