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2011-2012 Honors Student
Name: Alanah Anaise Cervantes ’12
Honors in: Theatre and Computer Science
Hometown: Riverside, CA
Major/minor: Theatre and the Craft of Stage Directing / Computer Science
Title of project: Playbills & Programs: Computer Science Theory for Theatrical Production Practice
Project advisor: Dr. Matthew Lang and Christopher Shorr
Abstract or brief description: I analyzed and explored fundamental concepts in computer science in order to apply them in a practical and replicable way in the rehearsal room for theatre production. Computer science is the home of formalizing and optimizing process. Theatre, as a creative process, benefits from its artists also being computational thinkers.
How did you get interested in your topic? I am a theatre artist, and I took a computer science course so that I wouldn’t have to take math. I fell in love with the topic, and realized that it had correlations to my other work. Dr. Lang convinced me to minor in CS, and the rest is history.
Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? Yes. I intend to finish my computer science degree, post grad, and continue practicing these ideas. Eventually, I’d like to write a book.
How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? It’s great to be graduating with honors in my specified fields of study. I have a truly substantial piece of work that I’ll be able to show workplaces or graduate schools immediately post grad. I think that, also, the ability to study what I want to study has been particularly rewarding.
How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? I’ve been prepared for the type of work I’ll have to do in grad school, I think: the crafting of a massive thesis, the long-term work, etc. I think that’s the biggest benefit of Honors in my departments.
What advice do you have for other students interested in Honors? Know what you’re getting into. It was the hardest and most taxing academic task I’ve ever embarked on. Be prepared to potentially fall out of love with what you’re researching. Know what your project is really asking of you; know what it’s going to take for you to finish it; and have contingency plans. Murphy’s law is king: if everything else can fall apart at the worst possible time, it will. Don’t procrastinate, don’t fall behind, and do not give up.
My future plans: I’ll be moving back to my home state of California to actively pursue a writer’s assistantship at a television studio or a production apprenticeship at a regional theatre company.