Student Spotlight: Jillian Jensen

Jillian Jensen. Photo by Brook Heppner.

   Senior Jillian Jensen has had many accomplishments while remaining dedicated to her studies during her time at Northern. Not only is she an Honors student, but two years ago, she had a fellowship at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C for dramaturgy. Last year, she was the treasurer of NSU’s Masquers, and she has been a part of every single play that the Northern State University Theatre Department performed since her arrival, whether it’s behind the scenes or on stage.
   Originally from Lennox, SD, Jensen set her eyes on Northern at the very early age of 12 years old. Growing up, she was a part of a camp called the 4H Performing Arts Group that has been meeting at Northern for two weeks out of the summer for the last 30 years. For seven years, Jensen got to know the campus and the faculty through this program, ultimately leading to her decision to attend Northern.
   Jensen is a hardworking English major with an emphasis in literature and a minor in theater. She is very excited for her future after she graduates this coming May and hopes to go into the field of theater where she would work more behind the scenes. Jensen is interested in being a director or a writer, but her main focus in the field is dramaturgy.
   Dramaturgy is the study of drama composition and representation of the main components of drama on stage. “It’s a fairly new concept to the theater field, but it is growing rapidly,” said Jensen. She has done dramaturgy work on and off campus, including in her fellowship at the Kennedy Center. Jensen also received an honorable mention for her work on Northern’s performance of “On the Verge,” performed on campus last semester.
   After graduation, Jensen will work in a 6-month long dramaturgy internship at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Not only has she successfully accomplished her dramaturgy work, she is also a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society. Additionally, she has received awards for Masquers, the Robert Klein Award from the English Department, and an Outstanding Scholarship from the Theatre Department, one of the defining factors in her choice to attend Northern.
   Jensen has become very close to NSUs English and theater professors. She says they have had a great impact on her studies. The two people that really gave her the inspiration she needed were Dr. Pen Pearson, who helped mostly with her English studies, and Josh Frachiseur, who helped with her theater studies.
   During her summers, Jensen tends to work to help pay for expenses while she is away on her internships. She likes to watch movies, knit, and read. She also tries to write when she can, but she prefers to look at other people’s work and provide constructive criticism or analysis.
   Jensen wants the Northern community to know that during her life she has struggled with mental illnesses such as depression, and she wants to let those who are suffering from the same kinds of disorders know that these do not need to define a person.
   Instead, these challenges can be used as inspiration to create something beautiful. Jensen stated, “It’s a weird two way street, but when you learn to live with it, as I have over many years, it becomes rewarding as time goes on.”

Alysha Martinez
Staff Writer