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Dan Baker

  • Member, Student Organization of Undergraduate Playwrights
  • SafeZone graduate
  • Loves the black bean burger at Union Street Diner

Production design and technology major, playwriting minor

College of Fine Arts

Hometown: Woodbridge, New Jersey

What is Arts for OHIO?

Arts for OHIO is a wonderful, wonderful program that the College of Fine Arts sponsors that allows any student at Ohio University to gain free entry to any College of Fine Arts event, whether it’s a theater show, a concert, an art exhibition, whatever. Just because you’re an accountant doesn’t mean you’re not going to gain some understanding of yourself or even your career by going to see a play. Just because you’re a fine arts major doesn’t mean you aren’t going to gain some understanding of your art by taking a math class.

What has been your hardest class?

For one of my first classes in college, I was like, “Why not take French?” I had never spoken a word of French before in my life before taking it. The first day, the instructor came in and spoke maybe 10 words of English. I was like, “What have I done?” I’m very proud that I made it through that class with a B+. I did learn a lot.

Have you had the necessary academic support?

I have taken advantage of the Writing Center quite a few times. When I was a freshman I was a little apprehensive about it. I don’t remember why – I think it was a pride thing, like if I go to the writing center, I’m admitting that I’m not a good writer. That’s not at all the truth. Sometimes you just need an extra set of eyes on what you’ve written, and to go over it. I never walked away from a visit there without gaining something.

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter?

Oh, of course. I never recommend it.

Did you study abroad?

I did, briefly. I spent nine days in Paris, France, studying art history. We did the coursework over winter intersession. If a student is apprehensive about spending a lot of time abroad, I would recommend a nine-day or a two-week program. There’s a six-week screenwriting program in Ireland, there’s a two-week music and dance program in Cuba. There are tons of little opportunities like that. Even just spending nine days in Paris or having a friend from China who goes to school here – you’ll gain a new perspective on something.

How are you paying for your education?

Part of my tuition I cover through loans. But I’ve also found a lot of scholarships. The Fine Arts Talent Scholarship is one of my major ones that I received by submitting a play to the College of Fine Arts. Independent of the university, there’s the website Fastweb. I applied for scholarships on there for months. I got one my freshman year. It was only $500, but every bit helps. My first two years, I received Pell grants. My first two years I had a Federal Work-Study job, and this year I got a PACE (Program to Aid Career Exploration) position, both of which were working in the School of Theater. My parents help where they can.

How do you stay healthy?

I think Ping Recreation Center is awesome. Ping has a really nice indoor track. The bike path is awesome; this thing is massively long, and it provides people a safe place to run and ride their bikes. It’s a legitimate thoroughfare. If I ride my bike to Kroger or Walmart, the most direct way to get there is on the bike path. It’s something I utilize a lot.

Has Athens become your home away from home?

In a very literal sense, Athens has become my home. I’m from New Jersey. During my sophomore year, my parents moved to Las Vegas. So, really, going home for me is coming back to Athens. Athens is one of the strangest and most lovely places I’ve ever been. Strange because it’s this really crazy mesh of the university community mixed with the culture of Appalachia mixed with traces of youth/hipster culture in the context of the athletic or fraternity life. Lovely because I never feel any kind of tension between those communities.

"When I first realized the (cost), I had that consideration, should I even go to college? Yes, entirely, 100 percent yes. I've grown so much artistically and as a person in the years I've been here. I can't imagine how I would have done it otherwise."


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