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Spotlight on Seniors in the Arts


Written by Charissa Roberson

Roanoke College is full of talented students in the arts. In this article, we hear from five graduating seniors – in theatre, film, creative writing and choir – about their time at RC and the creative works and memories they have made.


Q: What is your favorite memory from the past four years?

     Katarina Shaner (Theatre/Theatre Education): I always say that I wish I could capture my time in “An Enemy of the People” with friends who have since graduated, such as Ryan Haden and Hayley Ramsey, in a crystal ball to be revisited at a moment’s notice. That production is absolutely my favorite memory.

    Liv Sampogna (Creative Writing/Environmental Studies): Hosting my first radio show on WRKE: “Bec n’ Liv.”

    Joyelle Ronan (Communications/Screen Studies): During sophomore year, I took a costume construction class and learned how to sew. I did wardrobe/hair for the play that semester and it was a lot of fun! I ended up being the costume designer for a community production of “Legally Blonde” that summer!

    Jordan Hanson (English/Creative Writing): One of my favorite choir memories was our trip to France where we got to sing in all these really old and beautiful churches and also eat a lot of delicious bread.

    Zach Dalton (Creative Writing/Screen Studies): Definitely a top memory is Kaillee and I having Moose as a puppy during finals in sophomore year.


    Q: What creative project are you most proud of?

    Shaner: As a selfish artist, being Dr. Stockmann in “An Enemy of the People” was a highlight in my development. But, as an educator, directing “Trifles” with the help of my students at Glenvar and my peers at Roanoke College has been the most fulfilling experience.

    Sampogna: I completed a full chapbook of poetry for my senior seminar in creative writing, but I’m most proud of this year’s issue of “On Concept’s Edge,” for which I was a submitter and editor!

    Ronan: Probably my short film “In Her Echoes” that I did this year for the Basically Tarantino Film Festival. But I am also proud of a lot of the articles I have written for the Brackety-Ack.

    Hanson: I’ve worked on quite a few projects, including two poetry chapbooks during senior year. Poems from both of those works won 1st and 2nd place in the Charles Wise Poetry Contest. My favorite project had to be my Honors distinction project. I studied abroad in London and then wrote poetry about art I saw in museums there. I’m very proud of the creative work that came out of that project, especially after a lot of bumps in the road to my defense.

    Dalton: For Theatre RC I think “Midsummer Night’s Dream” has been my proudest, because I went from six lines in “Trickeries of Scapin” to Oberon in a Shakespearean comedy. Shout-out to Kaillee for supporting me through it all!


    Q: What have you taken away from your time at RC?

    Shaner: Although I had an inkling of its power as a high schooler, I did not understand art’s capacity for change until facilitating my students’ interaction with artistic endeavors.  Watching my students become comfortable expressing themselves and empathizing with one another and the state of humanity has been the most amazing learning experience.

    Sampogna: At the start of my freshman year, I thought I would spend my career focusing in creative nonfiction – I had no interest in poetry. I’m so happy I came to love poetry as much as I do. I’ve also started writing horror fiction, which was totally unpredictable because I’m normally a fraidy cat. Also, the Miller Hall faculty are some of the greatest people in the world.

    Ronan: I have learned not to let fear stop me from trying something new, being vulnerable, and stepping out of my comfort zone. The first time you try anything, the results may not be great. But that is why we are in college in the first place, to try, learn, and grow! Finally, you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I need to eternally express my gratitude to all those who have supported and impacted me these past four years.

    Hanson: My time at Roanoke truly helped me grow in my writing, and I came out of these four years a much more confident person, with friends and memories to last a lifetime.

    Dalton: The biggest thing I have learned is to work at something and never be satisfied. Always strive to do better and when you do your best…do more. Enjoy your time at Roanoke. Go to events, support the arts, talk to anyone and everyone you can. Also read the Brackety-Ack.