Leadership Profile

What's Happening at Cedar Crest College

Performing Arts Grads Enter the Next Stage of Life

Amanda SickauThe curtain has come down on college for the most recent crop of performing arts graduates, but the next act as they enter “the real world” promises to be interesting.

For Amanda Sickau, who earned her B.A. in dance with minors in nutrition and psychology at commencement earlier this month, the next phase includes teaching dance classes at the regional YMCA in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., not far from her hometown of Ballston Spa, and enrolling in graduate school and a dietetic internship on the path to becoming a registered dietitian.

Sickau’s story is one of perseverance. She enrolled at Cedar Crest straight out of high school in 2002 and attended for three years as a dance major before sustaining an arm injury while dancing and taking some time off. She wound up transferring to Central Connecticut State University—where she earned a B.A. in geography in 2008—but she could never quite scratch the Cedar Crest itch.

With encouragement from her husband, she moved from New York to Allentown in 2010 to complete the last three semesters of her coursework through the School of Adult and Graduate Education (SAGE) at Cedar Crest. She ground it out, despite several years away from dancing and difficulties brought on by scoliosis and chronic back pain.

“I always had regrets about leaving Cedar Crest. There was just something about the school, the programs, the students, and the faculty that I was unable to experience anywhere else,” said Sickau, who combined her interests in dance and nutrition by studying the nutritional needs of dancers for her thesis project. “The experience has certainly not been without its challenges, but it definitely was worth it and I am grateful to have been able to return.”

Caitlin BaileyFor theatre graduate Caitlin Bailey, the challenge was finding the major that best suited her interests. After a year and a half as a nursing student and then a semester as a nutrition student, Bailey finally found her calling as a theatre major. Bailey spent the 2011-12 performing arts season working as production manager for her senior thesis. One of her greatest challenges may have been managing the hit musical Chicago, which required more than 40 cast members performing sophisticated scenes.

“I love making the arts happen. I knew that theatre was something that I liked, but I never thought that I could live and survive in the field. Without the professors here encouraging me to explore my possibilities, supporting me, and pushing me to try new things I would have never had the guts to think about theatre.” Bailey said. “I know now that I can do this field and thanks to my senior project I was able to explore a side to theatre that I was blind to. I found my passion and I found it here at Cedar Crest.”

The Parsippany, N.J., native is preparing for work this summer as a production management intern at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, N.Y., with the hopes of turning her passion for theater into a rewarding career.