Next steps: PMA grads from class of ‘22 take their talent to leading MFA programs

Seven PMA students from the class of ‘22 will continue their artistic pursuits in at some of the most prestigious MFA programs in the country, including Columbia, NYU, Chapman, Brooklyn College, and American University. From writing and producing films to designing sets to game design, these grads have discovered creative opportunities in the interdisciplinary Performing and Media Arts major. 

Headshot of Crystal Navellier

“I was really inspired by the dance and theatre department and loved collaborating in combining the different mediums,” says Crystal Navellier '22, a PMA major with a minor in Business, who will be attending the film MFA program at Columbia University's School of the Arts. During her time at PMA, Crystal loved working across forms and media and collaborating with fellow PMA students. This can be seen in her film and video work for the annual Dance showcase, Locally Grown Dance, and the theatre production of Asiamnesia.  

"LGD and Asiamnesia were in particular a great experience to utilize my film background in other aspects of the department. Perfecting the editing of Asiamnesia at 4 am with the directors before the screening showed me how much dedication each student puts into the department." says Crystal.

Headshot of Shannon O'Shea

Shannon O'Shea '22, a Performing and Media Arts major with minors in Arabic and Creative Writing, will be pursuing an MFA in Film Directing at Chapman University. The production for Shannon's honors thesis film Burn, a psychological character study, was well known among PMA staff and faculty as it was the first-ever student film at PMA to employ a controlled burn of a scale model house

Photo of Joshua Akinwumi on set holding a camera

Josh Akinwumi '22, an Information Science major with a minor in Performing and Media Arts, will be attending graduate school at Columbia University. His black comedy short film about stand-up comedians called So What? served as his honors thesis. “When asked, What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of?,” Josh states “I completed an honors thesis in film. This had been the largest project I have taken on, but it has been satisfying and encouraging to see everything come together.”  

Headshot of Samantha Noland

Samantha Noland '22, a Performing and Media Arts & American Studies double major with a minor in Literatures in English, will attend American University's graduate school to pursue an MFA in Film and Media Arts.



Headshot of Thea Goldman

Thea Goldman '22, a Performing and Media Arts major, will attend graduate school at Brooklyn College for an MFA in Theatrical Design and Production. "I loved my first intro set design course that I took way back in freshman year, because it really solidified my desire to go into the field professionally." says Thea.


Headshot of Vera Liu

Vera Liu '22, a Computer Science major with minors in Film and Psychology, will enter the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a MA in Computer Graphics and Game Technology.



Headshot of Andrew Lorenzen

Andrew Lorenzen '22, a Performing and Media Arts & Government double major with a minor in English, wrote a television pilot titled Miami Men for his honors thesis in PMA. He will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at New York University. "From seeing my playwriting brought to life in Festival 24 to helping out on friends' film projects, I've had so many opportunities in PMA to be a part of the process of bringing a story from script to stage or screen. Whether I was writing, acting, directing, or just PA'ing, the highlights of my time in PMA all revolve around collaborating with peers to create projects using skills learned in the classroom." says Andrew.

When asked, "If you could talk to your Freshman self now, what would you say?" Andrew answered with a bit of humor and wisdom, "Buy stock in Zoom. Also--don't be in a rush. You've got plenty of time. Enjoy the little moments and try, as terrible as you are at it, to be patient with yourself."

“We’re so proud of the hard work of our grads and thrilled that their talent has been recognized by these exceptional MFA programs,” says Associate Professor Austin Bunn. “We can’t wait to see what they do next.”

We look forward to seeing how these seven will grow as artists and the great things they will accomplish in their professional careers.

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