By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Only two students across the entire country receive the Alpha Psi Omega/Delta Psi Omega Scholarship each year.
University of Nebraska at Kearney senior Emma Newman is one of them.
A theater major with minors in dance and music, Newman was awarded the $3,000 scholarship by the national officers of the Alpha Psi Omega/Delta Psi Omega theater honor societies. The money can be used for any educational expenses or to pursue professional goals in theater.
“When I got the message, I was blown away,” said Newman, who received the notification last month. “I was surprised and shocked and in awe.”
Noelle Bohaty, director of UNK’s Dance Program, had a different reaction. She knows Newman earned the recognition through her hard work and dedication.
“Everything she does, she does at the highest level,” Bohaty said. “Failure is never an option. Anything but excellence is not an option. She really does push herself.”
A native of Omaha, Newman has been involved in the performing arts nearly her entire life.
“My mom was a dance teacher, so I’ve been taking dance since I was 2,” she said.
Her repertoire expanded as she got older. At Omaha North High School, she participated in show choir, school musicals and marching band. By the time her senior year began, she was focused on turning this passion into a career.
That’s what brought her to UNK.
Newman loved the university’s “small-town charm,” and she was looking for a school that would provide a variety of opportunities in theater and dance. She found the perfect programs in Kearney.
“At UNK, there’s a lot more for undergraduate students to do as far as getting into design and stage management,” she said.
Newman has performed in numerous UNK theater productions and dance concerts while also displaying her talents in behind-the-scenes roles. She was the stage manager for the University Theatre at Kearney production of “She Kills Monsters” in fall 2019, and she’s designed costumes for several student projects.
During last month’s spring dance concert, “RESET,” Newman served as a dancer, choreographer, lighting designer and production manager.
“There really aren’t many other jobs she could have possibly done for the spring concert, and she did each one to the highest level,” Bohaty said.
These experiences will be a big benefit to Newman. After graduating next spring, she plans to pursue a career in dance production management, a position that coordinates the technical and logistical aspects of a show and ensures the choreographer, company director and designers are all on the same page.
“Dance is a whole different language, and there’s no script to work off of,” Newman said. “As someone who’s been a dancer and a choreographer and a lighting designer and a stage manager, I feel like that’s where I’d be most useful.”
Because of her background and work ethic, Bohaty believes Newman has a bright future in the industry.
“The fact that she can communicate with choreographers and company managers on that level will be a huge asset to her,” she said.
In addition to her involvement in Alpha Psi Omega, Newman is an alumni member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority and she’s working with Bohaty to start a UNK chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Newman would serve as the organization’s president for its inaugural year.