Simpson College graduate Stacey Olson ’20 is enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design program at San Diego State University. Stacey credits the supportive faculty in the Simpson College theatre department and an impactful guest speaker for setting her career in motion.
Hometown: Santa Rosa, California
Major: Theatre Arts
Involvement at Simpson: Theatre, Alpha Psi Omega, Physics Club, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, SC Leader
Graduate Program: Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design at San Diego State University
What path will your career take following graduation from San Diego State?
There are a few paths a costume designer can take out of graduate school. Some costume designers choose to design live theatre while others choose operas or television and film. While I am undecided as to the exact path I will take in the future, my graduate school program will provide me with experiences to help me make that decision.
Was there a specific part of your Simpson Experience that inspired you to pursue costume design?
At the end of my sophomore year, professional costume designer Cathy Parrott visited campus to share her experience in the television and film industry. At the time, I had been working in the Simpson College Costume Shop for about two years but hadn't declared theatre as my major yet. After listening to Cathy — who took part in numerous Broadway productions — talk about her career, I was ready to take the plunge into the theatre world and costume design, specifically.
Who at Simpson College supported you in your professional pursuits?
I could not have realized my dream of becoming a costume designer nor made it into an MFA program without the theatre department faculty. I never felt alone in the process. Heather Lesieur, costume designer, and Jess Guthrie, former assistant professor of theatre, helped me hone my technical and design skills. Rick Goetz, instructor of theatre arts, was always there for me, whether I was stuck on a project or just needed someone to talk to. Jennifer Nostrala, professor of theatre arts, pushed my limits as a designer, scholar, and human being, always asking the hard questions and pushing me to question what I know. The theatre department at Simpson College is a gift I will forever treasure being a part of.
What will you miss most from your time at Simpson?
My family in the theatre department.