Name: Karsyn Wilson
Year in School: Senior
Major: Stage and screen acting
Advisor and committee members: Theater professor Lezlie Cross (faculty advisor), poetry and fiction professor Jaclyn Costello (Honors advisor), and professor and director of gender and ethnic studies Anita Tijerina Revilla (committee member)
I’ve always been passionate about learning, and my parents used to tell me that if I worked hard enough, I’d be the first in my family to go to college. When it was finally my time to choose a university, I picked UNLV because I knew that it took pride in its diverse student body and would be affordable for my family. I realized that my dream of obtaining a degree was within reach when I got accepted to UNLV and its Honors College.
Initially, I double-majored in psychology and acting because I found it difficult to choose one over the other. I eventually switched psychology to my minor and added another minor in Spanish. While each of these disciplines are different, they all share a common thread of human expression and behavior, which has always fascinated me.
I became involved in the Research and Creative Honors Program because I wanted to challenge myself to write and put on an original play. I figured that the CH thesis would be a great opportunity to experiment artistically. The three professors on my CH thesis committee come from different educational fields and have each contributed in their own unique ways to help me establish a beautiful foundation for my play.
My thesis project is called Identi-Tea Podcast: An Original Interactive Verbatim Play, which is performed in the style of a podcast and incorporates the word-for-word interviews conducted with three UNLV students from the LGBTQ+ community. Audiences will be able to give advice to the characters in various moments of the play as the characters “spill the tea” on their identities.
Thus far, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of research when writing a play, and I’ve realized the deep impact storytelling has on marginalized groups in particular. Writing this play has tested my self-discipline and forced me to become more organized as well, demanding me to be more on top of my work and avoid procrastination.
I’m hoping that my creative project will put me on the radar for grad schools. I’m interested in getting multiple master’s degrees in acting, playwriting, and psychology because of my deep love of education, but I’m taking a few years off before I consider applying. In that time, I’ll be planning my move to Chicago, where I want to work with improvisation troupes, experimental theatre, and activist theatre.