Major: Theatre (Design and Technology)
Minor: Ethnic Studies
When thinking of the many qualities that an exceptional CSU student would possess, it is clear to see why Whitney Roy has been chosen by her department as one of this year’s outstanding graduates. As a queer woman of color, Roy has undeniably faced a host of institutional and systematic barriers during her time on campus that have made continuing her educational career difficult at times. However, through strength, community connection and resilience, she has overcome difficulty and created a foundation for a better future for students of marginalized identities. As the founder of the Theatre Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Whitney Roy is changing what it means to be BIPOC in the world of theater today.
Learn more about her story below:
1. Why did you choose to study at CSU?
“I chose to study at CSU because I wanted to travel away from my home, Dallas, Texas, and find a new place to explore and learn. The theatre department has a very impressive technical department so that initially drew me in.”
2. How has your background shaped your experience here at CSU, and what advice would you give to students of similar identities?
“My identity as a Black queer woman has shaped and impacted my experiences at CSU greatly. Initially, the culture shock of going to a predominantly White institution was very overwhelming, and the micro/macro aggressions that I experienced almost pushed me to leave during my sophomore year. However, I chose to stand up against the discrimination that I and many other students of color experience. I founded the Theatre Diversity and Inclusion Committee during my sophomore year. As chair of the committee, I helped reshape the atmosphere within the theatre department to be more inclusive through seminars guided by the principles of Ethnic Studies. We hosted seminars that filled the acting labs with students and faculty where we discussed the importance of respecting others’ identities. I would say TDIC is one of the accomplishments I’ve made in college that will have an impact on me for the rest of my life. My advice to other Black queer women coming to CSU is to take Black studies classes in the Ethnic Studies department. Outside of a good education, the community I found in ethnic studies classes is what helped me stay strong throughout my time here at CSU.”
3. What accomplishments from your educational career at CSU are you most proud of? How were you able to accomplish those things?
“I am most proud of my accomplishments as a stage manager in and outside of the CSU theatre department. Being a stage manager is a career path that I dreamed of when I was a freshman, but I chose to follow a design path because I was discouraged by people telling me I don’t have the qualities of a good stage manager and I should pursue something more in my capabilities. Little did they know of my capabilities. Not only am I capable of being a good stage manager, I am an outstanding, thoughtful, and driven stage manager. Working on successful productions outside of CSU has been very affirming.”
4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your educational career so far? How have you overcome those difficulties?
“The most challenging aspect of my educational career has been adjusting to a predominantly White city and institution. I overcame this by refusing to assimilate and focusing on myself and my happiness. Having Dr. Ray Black as a mentor has helped me find my confidence and footing when it comes to resisting the systemic racism within the institution at CSU. Without the mentorship of Dr. Black or the Black friends and classmates I made at CSU, I wouldn’t have been as confident and unapologetically Black when facing racism. The BIPOC CSU community has held me when I needed them the most and helped me push past the challenges I faced as a Black woman.”
5. What are your post-graduation plans and goals?
“My first post-graduation goal is to REST! After four and half years of hard work, I am excited to take some time off and enjoy life again. Second, I am excited to continue down my career path as a stage manager for live performances. I plan to travel the world and make art that impacts people. Theatre is a glimpse into another reality, an identity that you don’t understand, a story that you don’t know. I will continue to make theatre that shows people new worlds or those worlds that are ignored by pop culture. Outside of art, I hope to continue as an activist for the liberation of communities that are marginalized by white supremacy, colonization, and the heteropatriarchy. I want to make an impact that makes people want to redesign the society that we live in.”