As Commencement grows nearer and nearer, soon-to-be graduates are looking back at their years as Royals at The University of Scranton.
Emily Bernard is a history major minoring in English and theatre.
“It’s been a fun year with a lot of work, [but] I am lucky to have shared laughs and stories with friends and professors,” Bernard said.
If given the chance, Bernard would go back in time and tell her first-year self not to stress and that the work will all get done.
Bernard said this piece of advice is especially relevant considering how big of a year it has been for her composition.
“I received the Gail and Francis Slattery Center for the Humanities Fellowship which has enabled me to write my first full-length play,” Bernard said, “A short screenplay I wrote will also be published in the Spring 2021 Esprit Literary Magazine.”
Bernard is also a part of the University’s history honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, and the English and theatre honor society, Sigma Tau Delta.
Bernard said her interactions in the classroom have made the biggest impact on her over the past four years.
“My professors in the English and history [departments] have been so incredibly inspiring and [have always] encourage me to follow my passion,” Bernard said, “They genuinely care about their students, and it means more than they probably realize.”
Bernard discovered her passion for playwriting after her interactions with English professor Dr. Hank Willenbrink.
“I met with Dr. Willenbrink at the end of my sophomore year, and he introduced me to playwriting,” Bernard said. “I instantly fell in love with the medium and haven’t stopped studying it.”
Theatre wasn’t even on her mind as a first-year, and she’s learned a lot since.
“Since [my exposure to playwriting], I have written my first full-length play, which I never thought would have been possible when I was a [first-year],” Bernard said.
During her sophomore year, Bernard went on a trip to London.
“It was the best week of my life,” Bernard said. “I didn’t really know anyone that was going on the trip… [but] I came back with incredible knowledge, stories and little adventures with new friends.”
She said she also made a good connection with history professor Dr. Adam Pratt.
“I didn’t know Dr. Pratt going into the trip, [but] since then he has been an invaluable source of inspiration, laughs and support [to me],” Bernard said.
She is set to graduate on Sunday, May 23, along with the rest of the Class of 2021.
“I really lucked out with having such devoted and smart professors who are such wonderful mentors. They are always willing to talk, whether it be about class, current events, or television shows,” Bernard said. “I [also] made friends for life and already cannot wait to come back and visit!”
As an alumna of The University of Scranton, Bernard plans to pursue a writing career.
“I absolutely love storytelling and plan on pursuing a career as a playwright and screenwriter [after graduating],” Bernard said.