Jennifer Sassaman

Jennifer hails from the Washington, D.C. area and will be pursuing an MFA in Direction this fall at Florida State University.  A talented actress and singer from Bradford's creative arts program, Jennifer's approach to the performing arts is focused on reaching out to others... she wrote "if the most basic responsibilities of theater are to entertain, expand boundaries and educate, my fundamental aim is to use these elements to improve and build community.  I am driven by the conviction that I can make lives better through art -- using both laughter and adversity to engage the audience directly with critically important issues."

Since graduation, Jennifer's resume reflects a journey devoted to using theater as a tool for enrichment.  In addition to founding her own not-for-profit theater company, performing, directing, writing and adapting plays, she has taught voice, piano, theater and dance and has coached and mentored countless young adults to be, as Jennifer says, "stronger performers who are more comfortable with their senses of self."  She has also used those skills to volunteer for both political and civil rights organizations and to implement summer sessions for young theater professionals and an outreach program for "at risk" inner-city youth in a school lacking a theater program for over a decade.

One of her former students, now a professional actress, writes this about Jennifer: "growing up, I always felt a bit out of place in my family and experienced a mounting insecurity each year... It was then that I met Jennifer... I cannot express the importance of courage and confidence that Jennifer has helped me to achieve; and the community she created has made all the pains of this business much more bearable... She brings out the individuality in people and gives them the courage to be unique."

Jennifer herself is quite unique.  Having done Spanish immersion in Costa Rica, she aims to use her graduate work to bring Shakespeare to their people.  "I would like an opportunity to prove Shakespeare is a warm-blooded playwright with a cold-blooded reputation."  She is also developing a bilingual version of West Side Story to reach a wider audience.

The scholarship committee is positive Jennifer will take charge to realize her goals and bring them to successful fruition for the benefit of many.