Janet Schroeder, '13
Hometown: Glandorf, Ohio
Why did you decide to attend Brockport for graduate school?
I applied to and visited a number of other graduate schools, but I knew within the first few minutes of being in the dance department that I belonged at Brockport. The faculty were welcoming, and the students clearly cared about each other. It isn’t like that everywhere, and here at Brockport rather than sensing aggressive competitiveness, I felt support and encouragement. I knew I could thrive in that environment.
Tell us about your Brockport experience:
In the nearly two years that I have been here I have grown so much and in so many ways. The exciting thing about that is I thought I was pretty great before I came! I have developed my critical thinking skills and the research and writing I have been able to do is proof of that. I have been encouraged to create new pieces of choreography using my own voice and developing my strengths as rhythm-focused dancer. And I have also been challenged to think about movement and teaching in new ways that are widening the scope of my vision. I think all of this is very exciting.
Tell us about a faculty or staff member who have/had a significant impact on you:
Many faculty members have inspired me since coming to Brockport, and Maura Keefe, chair of the Department of Dance, has been an especially influential mentor as I develop my scholarly and creative voice. I feel constant support, as Maura’s door is always open; no matter the question or the situation, she has been available to listen and guide me through a variety of challenges. Her feedback on my creative endeavors has never been about making the dance that she would make, but instead she helps me enrich the dance that I am making, and I appreciate that so much. One of the most wonderful benefits I have received from working with Maura is that she has the ability to find my talents, point them out to me, and then she helps me put them into action. Not only have I grown as a student in working with Maura Keefe, but I have also grown as a person.
Tell us about your classroom experiences. What are/were your classes like? How do/did you interact with your classmates and professors?
I love going to class. Graduate school feels different to me than undergraduate school. I no longer work to impress my teachers or to be better than my classmates. Grades are much less important to me now. Instead, I am interested in learning as much as I can about myself, about dancing, about teaching, and about creating. This has changed the way I approach my experiences in the classroom. I am a much more inquisitive student now than I was in the past, and I have been delighted that my professors welcome and encourage such curiosity. I also think my classmates benefit from witnessing my investigations because they can start to see that learning is not just about getting an A, but it is about taking in new material and making it one’s own.
What aspect of your studies do you enjoy most?
Before coming to Brockport I did not have a somatic practice. I did yoga, but it always felt very separate from my dance experience. I have been delighted to learn new techniques for investigating the human body. My kinesiology class also provided me with a rich, new understanding of the human body. These lessons will go a long way as I continue to use the body as an expressive instrument.
What do you think makes a Brockport education special?
The Department of Dance at Brockport is special because of the people working in it. The faculty are knowledgeable about their subject matter, and they are also approachable and encouraging. The students are beautiful dancers, critical thinkers, and supportive colleagues. The mutually supportive environment created by the faculty and students in the dance department at The College at Brockport makes me feel like I can accomplish anything!