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Nadel Henville '22

Creating Community Takes Center Stage

For Nadel, the stage is her “second home,” and the community she’s found within Emmanuel’s Theater program, a second family. While she originally thought she would pursue college theater as a hobby, she soon realized the work would define her student experience and provide a foundation for life beyond Emmanuel.

“In theater, there’s a place where everyone belongs. If they don’t, we will physically create that space for them,” she said. “The stage has always been a place for me to dream big and think about the impossible, taking risks that our society doesn’t want to. Theater is a place to be someone you never thought you could, and there’s something freeing about it that I want everyone to experience in and out of the craft. That’s what I’m going to try and bring into every space I enter, by encouraging trailblazers and the impossible, and just what we can make possible.”

In addition to acting in several productions over the years, Nadel has been busy learning the roles of other crew members, and was “blessed” to have had the opportunity to direct her Senior Capstone production Bethel Park Falls, this past fall. “It was an amazing opportunity to be on the other side of the table and really have a hand in the creation and vision of a production,” she said. “The people I had the immense pleasure of working with made every moment more memorable than the last, and now I just want to continue on this path.”

Nadel is also mindful of making space and fostering trust for her first-year residents as a Resident Assistant. “There are some unique challenges in transitioning to dorm life,” she said. “It’s a lot of remembering that we’re all in this together.”

She also wants to be a resource to first-year students as much as she can. “My favorite thing is just how they’re so ready to dive into college and start making memories of a lifetime. They’re ready to start this new chapter of their life, and they’re so welcoming with programming and finding their way through the college experience!”

When it comes to finding their niche on campus, she encourage students to be as open as possible. “There are so many options on campus, and even around campus, so taking all of those opportunities that you’re interested in can do wonders. Being open to classes, programs, people and the city around you can help you find just where you belong.”

A double major in Theater Arts and Writing, Editing & Publishing (with a minor in management), Nadel also delved into inspiring coursework with supportive faculty outside the Theater Program—namely with Professor of English Dr. Lisa Stepanski and Professor of Theology & Religious Studies Dr. Jon Paul Sydnor.

“I took ‘Intro to Literary Methods’ with Dr. Stepanski, and I’ve never met a stronger, more eloquent teacher. The way she structured her course allowed me to keep my wits about myself and never blindsided me, and she was what helped me cement my stay within the English department. She was such a caring soul to be around, her passion about literature inspires me to this day and reminds me that I am a double major, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Nadel also called Dr. Sydnor’s “Honors Interreligious Ethics” one of the best classes she could experience. “He engaged our personalities and our minds every day, pushing the boundaries to how we see religion and how they interact with each other—how we interact with the world around us, and it’s had a lasting effect on me ever since.”

During her final semester at Emmanuel, Nadel is looking to continue making her mark and leaving a legacy on campus, while also looking forward to post-graduation plans and various projects of her own. She served an assistant coordinator for the ASPIRE Arts Leadership Program Region I during the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival 2022 season before moving on to the National Cohort. She has also been part of the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company’s Miranda Family Fellowship, which she noted “has helped me grow and understand my identity as an Artist of Color and Culture, while crafting my own plays in the process.”

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