Destination UE

Unique Combination: Theatre and Engineering

“All the faculty at UE are great and really helpful. In fact think I have the phone numbers of all my professors – they all say to call whenever I need to.”

Sarah Dory

Class of 2015
Major: Bachelor of Science Degrees in Theatre Design and Technology and in Electrical Engineering

Choosing a path

With more than 80 majors and areas of study to choose from at the University of Evansville, deciding on what academic path to take can be difficult. UE alumna Sarah Dory was interested in both theatre and engineering when she came to UE. So she decided to get a degree in both areas.

"I figured out that the number of credits required to get both a theatre design degree and an engineering degree was not that different than that of a double major,” she explains.

Help getting there

It did take some concentrated effort on her part to pursue both degrees at once. At one point, for example, Sarah was working on her engineering senior honors project while also creating the set design for UE Theatre’s production of Dancing at Lughnasa. But the process was made easier with the support and cooperation of her professors.

“All the faculty at UE are great and really helpful. In fact think I have the phone numbers of all my professors – they all say to call whenever I need to.”

On the engineering side of things, she found that “if you pay attention and work hard, you’ll be fine. No question is considered too stupid.”

Her theatre professors were just as approachable and supportive.

“Eric Renschler, my theatre advisor, was awesome to work with and encouraging of my getting two degrees. Although he didn’t quite understand why I was doing it,” she says with a smile. “Chuck Meacham was great too. He taught me how to use drills and other tools needed to build a set. That isn’t something you learn in high school.”

Learning by doing

As a theatre design and technology major, Sarah had the opportunity to design the sets for three UE Theatre productions. She found that experience both exhilarating and a little terrifying.

“Each set design had its own challenge,” she recalls.

As an engineering major, Sarah worked on many projects that had practicality outside the classroom. Her senior project was to automate a conventional theatrical light that can be operated remotely over an Ethernet connection. In one of her group projects, they developed an outdoor measuring device with solar panels.

While Sarah was still a student at UE, she interned at a local engineering firm, doing design work for clients. That company hired her immediately after graduation.

“With both engineering and theatre design projects,” says Sarah, “the answer to any client’s request is ‘I will try.’ And with both, you have the same good feeling of seeing your client’s face light up when you show them what you come up with.”

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