HOMETOWN: Akwa Ibum State, Nigeria
EDUCATION: BS: Business and Theatre
WORK: Sales associate/ Professional Intern
A recent college graduate, Edikan P. Brown attended Worcester State University where she now holds a duel degree in Business Administration and Visual & Performing Arts with concentrations in Accounting and Theatre. Though unusual, she plans to use the pairing to create her own nonprofit theatre and aims to bring a theatre company to her home country of Nigeria.
"The task of completing two programs in four years was not an easy one, especially since they were both credit-heavy", says the young collegiate, "Some days I would have up to three or four blocks of just business classes followed by three and a half to twelve hours of rehearsal. I would then have to walk home in the dark, eat a quick dinner, prepare my meals for the next day, and complete my long hours of business homework before falling asleep a little to get up and walk back to campus for some early morning classes and repeat the cycle again. The days I was not in rehearsal were substituted by a part time job which mainly paid for my schoolbooks, my commute to work, and school supplies for my younger siblings." She recalls the last couple weeks of every semester being the toughest time. This was the period where rehearsals would extend, meaning that she would arrive home anytime from 11 pm to 2am and would have to study for business exams upon arrival home in exchange for learning her line in between and on her way to classes. "Every semester for me, consisted of no less than 18 credit hours which was considered to be a full semester; the institution's maximum is19. I remember always being exhausted from staying up too late, or hungry on the days that I didn't pack a lunch, or being sore or bothered by shin splints from walking everywhere I went including 4.2 miles home from work the few times that I missed the bus and did not have enough money for a taxi." Notwithstanding her difficulties, the collegiate managed to maintain her bubbly demeanor on top of keeping a positive outlook in every situation.
Edikan also expresses that it was a constant tug of war between her two degree programs; they always seemed to be at odds with each other. "While business required me to think analytically and to do things within the given confines of a set structure or a preset historical method of doing things, Visual Arts and Theatre would give me methods and ideas, then would push it's students to challenge those ideas, to break the confines, and to create their own system of doing things. Those ideas and methods were posed as just mere suggestions. Business taught me uniformity while VPA taught me individuality; a dichotomy of sorts that I have used to my advantage. Whoever said never to mix business with pleasure obviously overlooked this possibility and somehow managed to take everyone I've told of my joint degree with them."
Despite their apparent differences and many people's confusion surrounded her aspirations, she continued to pursue the two, using what she learned in one and applying it to the other, "I would use things like a business strategy model to attack my acting roles and my creative nature in business group projects. Because of my eclectic approach to both fields, I always stood out as different and both of my program advisors saw it." Edikan held a unique presence over her peers which allowed her to be referred for a business internship in the spring semester of 2012 as the Box Office/House manager of the VPA department's campus theater. She held this position for two years and doubled as a Theatre Management intern for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (which she was also referred for) in the spring semester of 2013. She then took on the even more prestigious position of Stage manager for the Fall 2013 - Spring 2014 school year after being voted in unanimously by a panel of her peers against a far more qualified appoint. "She wasn't happy that I won but she also could not help but be thrilled every time I came to her for help and advice. If anything, I've learned to identify my shortcomings and belittle my pride in order to seek help when I need it. I freely admit that I don't know everything so I seek out those who can teach me what I don't know and I make everything a learning experience."
Her peers' preference of her over her opponents also extended to her extra curricular activities. She was recommended and unanimously voted in by the Commuter Advisory Boards, a campus organization catered to the needs of commuter students, as the treasurer in 2012. Here, she received the 2013 Hall of Fame Award for her "outstanding contributions" in addition to the Exemplary Student Involvement Award, and the Best Returning Member Award for her dedication to the group. Ms. Brown was also an active member of the Ghostlight Players, the campus theatre club, where she served at both Treasurer and Public Relations. This allowed her the opportunity to host theatre events while getting a small-scale taste of how a real theatre business is run. In addition to these, she was invited by her professor and a few of her business peers to join the business club as a team project manager but was unfortunately unable to due to conflicting meeting times with other prior engagements such as her membership with the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee where she served with two other students and an array of professional personnel, some being her own professors. This committee served to review anything that had to do with new courses and the eligibility of the request being voted through based on the substance of their forms. This required extensive review and a working knowledge of the institution's guidelines for course approval. Only responsible student leaders were eligible for this role.
Throughout her undergraduate years, she has accumulated a host of awards and recognition for her academic advancements receiving the Laeh Aframe Class of 1942 Scholarship, and The Shirley Albert Endowed Scholarship for Drama, and being the very first recipient of the Julia Bransby Knowlton Scholarship for Visual and Performing Arts. Now, four years (including two summers or summer classes) later, she has left a lasting impression to both degree programs; a Theatre Management program is now in the works as inspired by her. She now works to prepare for her move to Boston where she has landed a Professional paid internship for the Huntington Theatre Company; a perfect mixture of both of her areas of study. She plans to continue her pursuit for excellence by attending law school where she aims to study both business and immigration law. She believes than in order for a person to truly reach their full potential, they must first strip themselves of all doubt, pride, and self negativity; it is now, when the person is completely raw to themselves and naked to God, that they can really begin to see all their strengths and all their weakness and perceived obstacles and from here, they can begin to set goals for themselves beginning with simple ones that they can actually achieve, then slowly working up to the larger ones that require more from them to accomplish. "The challenge is not in achieving the higher goals, it is in believing, beyond all reasonable doubt that they can achieve them."