Student Spotlight: Erica Burger
When Erica Burger was in high school, she was searching for a place where she belonged.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find a niche,” she said. “I did summer theater at COD, and after high school in the fall I was offered a job in the shop at COD. It was so much fun – I hardly ever did the same thing twice. I gained experience working in the theater, and through the program I forged many friendships.”
She also liked the array of classes that allowed her the flexibility to finish her prerequisite classes while enjoying her work with the theater program.
Burger earned her Associate in Arts degree and has been working as a freelancer in stage management and lighting design ever since. She spent five years at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo students, helping to rebuild the space and working on the crew. She's been an event engineer for Centerstage at Governors State University, has worked with such companies as Citadel Theatre Company and Trap Door Theater, and has worked at the House of Blues for nearly six years as a lighting designer for concerts. She designed for a Danish opera in January 2014, the same year she earned her bachelor’s degree in Theater from Columbia College Chicago.
Burger is now working as the technical coordinator at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla. She has helped several students graduate successfully from the Entertainment Tech associate degree program, and they are now starting four-year programs, working locally in tech fields or doing professional work. One graduate is currently working professionally as part of the stage crew at Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine.
She considers College of DuPage a second home and has even earned certificates in computer programming just to expand her skills. She also has worked many shows at COD.
“COD is really good about keeping that family relationship going. They value my skills, and I have a lot of fun working there. As long as they need me to help with a theatrical or concert setting, I’ll be there,” she said.
“My advice to prospective students is to just do it. College of DuPage has a great Theater program, and you should do the lab hours because the experience really does help you. Whether you're approaching it from an actor’s view or a technician’s view, you'll be better prepared when you get into real world.”
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