If Amy Budd’s life could be portrayed as a meal she was preparing, it would be a pot of
uncertainty simmering on her kitchen stove.
Among its main ingredients: moving to a new place and starting a new job, all seasoned
heartily with the presence of a global pandemic.
Budd keeps a watchful eye on the pot but doesn’t let it stress her out as she enjoys
her oats and yogurt.
Though her daily routine is “never the same twice,” Goshen College’s newest theater professor always makes time to sit down and eat a good breakfast. This is especially important to her in a hectic time of balancing her teaching with rehearsal schedules for productions both in
person and over Zoom.
Prior to joining GC’s Theater Department in May 2020, Budd held jobs both
within and outside of the theater. In addition to such positions as costume designer and stage
manager, she has also been a roller derby announcer, burlesque instructor, and special event emcee.
Budd had expected to go back into professional theater after grad school, likely relocating to Chicago. But after an opportunity to teach at Purdue as a visiting assistant professor, Budd decided to stay in Indiana for work.
Luckily, Budd said she has had a strong network of friendly colleagues and receptive students to support her in her new job.
“Danielle Pagoria is my hero and helps me with everything,” Budd said. “She made sure
I’d feel welcome by getting a purple wall painted in my office and arraying rainbow-colored
office supplies on my desk.”
Pagoria is the GC theater administrative assistant and first met Budd in her second interview.
She was one of many folks at GC to notice Budd’s flair for fashion. When asked to describe Amy in one word or phrase, theater department chair Anna Kurtz Kuk said, “Orange shoes.”
Pagoria and Budd have also bonded through shared love for similar music and more.
Something else about Budd caught Pagoria’s attention: her dedication to her work.
“Amy cares so much about trying her hardest to make her students have a great learning experience,” Pagoria said. “She also keeps our mottos [and] values on a corkboard near her desk, which I think is pretty cool for a pretty new employee!”
If she had to describe Budd in one word or phrase, GC Core director Suzanne Ehst would also choose dedicated.
“Since Amy was new to Goshen College last fall, I helped her with advising of first-year students,” Ehst said. “In co-advising meetings, I got to see her dedication to students firsthand,
specifically wanting to make sure they felt heard and that she had fully addressed their questions.”
Budd’s students feel her passion for her work. Clear communication about what is expected of them is just the beginning.
“She rises to the challenge by asking questions and including students in the conversation about their learning and work whenever possible,” Gloria Bontrager-Thomas, a junior theater major, said. “She makes it easier to work around COVID obstacles because it’s catered to what we need as students.”
Budd seems to have already found her groove in the GC community.
“I have to stop and remind myself that she hasn’t even been here a year,” Kurtz Kuk said. “It’s like she’s been here for several years- that’s how well she fits in.”
In the world of theater, the ability to improvise and say “yes, and…” to a scenario is an important skill to have. Kurtz Kuk says that Budd truly embodies this attitude, and is always contributing and thinking of new ideas.
Budd is currently directing the Spring mainstage opera, Orfeo ed Euridice.
Like last semester’s shows, the production/rehearsal process for the spring mainstage had to be heavily adapted to adjust for COVID. But Budd seems to have taken everything in stride.
“Her thoughtfulness and attention to detail in regards to student safety has been inspiring,” Kurtz Kuk said.
Budd stated that it has not been an easy go of things when asked about the challenges she has faced.
“I would not describe myself as overcoming [times where I felt stressed or unsure of myself], but as finding my way through them,” she said.
Nonetheless, Budd is grateful for the support she’s received from staff and students. Of the GC community, she noted that everyone has open hearts and is reflective. And as for the faculty members who helped her the most?
“They are…super cool and fun to hang out with, too.”