Fullerton College Centennial


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When did you/your family come to California and why?

WMy family moved to California when I was 6 years old from Oregon. Each time my Dad got a promotion we moved. We lived in Orange County until I was 12 years old at, which point my family moved to Connecticut. While living in Orange County as an elementary school student I watched my oldest sister use the Orange County Community College District. When it was my turn to go to college I chose to go back to Orange County to attend Fullerton College.

What did you do before coming to Fullerton College?

I graduated high school in Connecticut in the shadow of Broadway. I had become involved in theatre in high school and by the time I graduated I had participated in hundreds of plays from large musicals to small student directed studio productions. I had developed an interest in Special Effects Makeup and Fullerton College offered an Advanced Theatrical Makeup Class that included prosthetic makeup. The class was not routinely offered. The teacher, Todd Glen, only offered it if he had enough students to enroll. It ended up being Andrew Lowery and me in the class. It was ultimately this class that determined the future course of my life. As a result of the Advanced Theatrical Makeup Class I had knowledge of mold making. In June of 1988 Todd Glen received a call from one of his former students, Mel Slavick who needed someone who could make molds. Todd gave him my phone number. I went to work in Mel’s special effects studio, Generic Effects in Buena Park California. It was my first day of work there when I met Brian Young, who is now my husband.

When were you at FC? What were the principal concerns, activities, and events in which you were involved?

I attended Fullerton College from Fall 1985 until I received my AA in Theatre Arts in Spring 1989. I worked on numerous shows in the Theatre Arts Department of Fullerton College. I did special effects makeup for many of them including Peter Pan, Man of La Mancha, and The Diviners. I was the stage manger for Marat/Sade and received an award for the lighting I designed for Alligator Tails. I also received the Leonard T. Elbertson Award in 1987. In the spring of 1988 Gary Krinke was preparing to take a group of students to study theatre in Paris, France for the Fall semester. I was fortunate to be one of those students. The semester in Paris was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I believe that it was during that semester that I gained confidence in myself as a young adult. When I came back I finished my degree and had the marvelous fortune to become friends with Bronwyn Dodson. Her passing in 1991 was profoundly devastating for the entire community and for me personally. I was studying Sociology at Chapman University and had the opportunity to meet John James one of the founders of the Grief Recovery Institute just two days after Bronwyn died as he was speaking in a class at Chapman. Needless to say the experiences that followed stay with me today. John James and co-founder Russell Friedman of the Grief Recovery Institute worked to assist me along with others among the FC community suffering the loss of Bronwyn. I use this experience and what I learned then to assist patients in my work today as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Who were some of the most memorable people you met then at the college?

Many of the people I met while attending Fullerton College remain friends today. Bob Jensen was the first instructor I met at FC. I found his kindness and love of theatre irresistible. Later I had the privilege of learning how to speak publicly from Bob. The skills I learned in the Public Speaking class served me well all the way through Graduate School and in my current job. I am grateful to know Bob and call him my friend today. Initially Todd Glen’s Advanced Theatrical Makeup Class was the reason I chose to attend FC. Not only did Todd unknowingly facilitate the introduction to my husband he also taught me about business and living life. Likewise, I can hardly describe the effects of the incomparable Gary Krinke in my life. I traveled to Paris France with Gary, worked on numerous shows with Gary and hung out with Gary in Los Angeles, New York and on Long Island. To this day I think fondly of Gary when I have the urge to use tap shoes and chaser lights in any way.  And of course, Bronwyn Dodson: she taught me the most valuable lesson of all. The lesson that has shaped my life. She taught me to focus on people in the moment, to be present with them and give them my best. She is the reason I became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also the reason I do grief work now with so many of my patients. I cried the day the ultrasound showed I was carrying a girl in 2003, because I knew I would give her Bronwyn’s name. Today Amy Bronwyn is 9 years old.

What have you done since leaving the college?

After earning my AA in Theatre Arts at Fullerton College I transferred to Chapman University and received my BA in Sociology. I then attended Arizona State University graduate school and earned my Master of Social Work. Later I received my license, LCSW, and today I practice clinical social work for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Veterans Health Administration in Columbus Ohio. Amy Bronwyn has a younger sister and two younger brothers. I am not only a full time mental health provider but I am mother of four children, Amy and 2 year old TRIPLETS.

What advice do you have for our current students?

I would tell current FC students to study what they are interested in. Break it down into its essential parts and find a way to put those parts into something you can get paid to do. I turned stage management skills into the multi tasking required of a full time LCSW and wife/mother of 4 children. Learn from every experience; all of it is valuable, the good and the bad.

What should be the college vision for the future, or what ideas should we incorporate in that vision?

Fullerton College for me was a place to explore the possibilities of the future. I feel that Fullerton College is obligated to offer a wide variety of experiences particularly the self-discovery that comes from participation in the Arts. For it is these experiences that ultimately allow people, young and old, to focus their individual path in life. Fullerton College should be a place of resources, reference, knowledge, learning, growth and change. Isn’t that why people go to school?

“Learn from every experience; all of it is valuable, the good and the bad.”