Q: Hi, thanks for doing this! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself to start?

A: Thanks for having me! My name is David Troyer and I’m a senior at Alma College, double-majoring in biology and theatre, originally from Huntington, Ind. I’ve had opportunities to do some really cool things here within both departments, but honestly, I’m most-proud of my work in the theatre. We have an amazing program here.

Q: It seems like every time the theatre department puts on a performance, your name is somewhere on the playbill. What has Alma College done for your development as an actor since you started here?

A: I have grown so much in four years. It’s almost funny to look back on myself as a high school senior. I thought I was really hot stuff coming into college, but the people here took me under the hood and showed me how much room I have to grow. And then they gave me the freedom to make that growth.

Dr. Scott Mackenzie has been an integral part of that success. Theatre is one of those disciplines in which there is no “one” right way to do anything. One of the great things about Dr. Mackenzie, I think, is how well-connected he is in the world of theatre. Once a year, our performances are directed by guest directors who come from all over and bring a wide range of experiences to our campus. It’s beneficial for my development to hear from those voices as well as his own and the voices of my colleagues. I don’t think I would have the opportunity to do that without Dr. Mackenzie’s connections.

Q: I understand your work recently paid off in the form of a massive honor for you. Can you explain that to me?

A: Earlier this year, a number of theatre students and I attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Region III. We had a great experience and learned a lot, but what was exciting for me personally was making it to the final round of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions. I have participated in this event every year since coming to Alma, but never made it this far before. The Ryans start with more than 200 actors and eventually get reduced to 16 in the final round, so it’s a pretty big deal.

In the final round, I won the Region III Classical Acting Award and the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre Emerging Professional Residency Program’s First Runner-Up Award. I worked really hard on this and it’s one of my proudest achievements, but again, I have to give a lot of credit to Dr. Mackenzie and my classmates for helping me out so much through the years.

Q: As it relates to acting, what is next for you?

A: Well, I’m looking forward to commencement, and in August, I’ll be going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in Scotland. This is part of a class that I’m taking right now through Alma College, in which I’m writing and producing an entire play with my classmates. That is a lot of fun. But it’s going to be incredible to be in Scotland, surrounded by people who are my age, from all over the world, showing off what they can do creatively. It’s invigorating, as an artist, to be in that kind of environment. It’s also going to be only my second trip abroad — my first trip was also through Alma College, as part of the choir!

When I return from Scotland, I’m going to move back to my home state of Indiana to pursue a career in theatre.

Q: We’ve talked a lot about theatre, with good reason, but could you talk about your experiences within the college biology department, too?

A: Absolutely. Biology is actually a huge reason why I came to Alma in the first place. I was looking for colleges that would allow me to major in both, and Alma was the only place that not only allowed it, but encouraged it. I really appreciated that.

Our biology department is full of amazing faculty who care about their students and their field of study. I’m currently working as a supplemental instructor for BIO-121, and it’s quite rewarding. I get energized by helping people understand something they are struggling to do. I’m so glad that I came to Alma, because it’s provided me with so many opportunities that are just perfect for me.

Learn more about the biology and theatre departments at Alma College by visiting alma.edu.