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 is designing for a Danish opera in January 2014.
In addition, she is currently finishing her degree in lighting design at Columbia College Chicago and would like to secure a position in charge of lighting for a large Chicago area theater.
She considers College of DuPage a second home and has even earned certificates in computer programming just to expand her skills.
"I live on the north side of Chicago but still do gigs for COD," she said. "They are 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.
"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."
2014 College of DuPage