Senior Spotlight: Jordan Johnson

Posted on May 11th, 2021 by

The “Senior Spotlight” series honors graduating fine arts majors for their contributions to the Gustavus community.

Jordan Johnson is a Theatre Honors major with Classics and English minors from Minneapolis, Minn. She plans to pursue a career as an actress post-graduation. Associate Professor of Classical Studies Matthew Panciera has worked with Jordan in many classes throughout her years. “Jordan Johnson is a total ray of energetic sunshine wherever she goes. She is an intellectually engaged student who is bursting with wonderful questions and ideas in every class, and almost every class period of those classes, where I was fortunate to have her as a student. I will miss her energy, her insightful observations and questions, her (slightly goofy) sense of humor, her kindness and generosity towards both her fellow students and her professors; but I look forward to hearing about her adventures after she leaves Gustavus. As the Italians might say: ‘la sua storia non finisce mai,’” Panciera says. 

We asked Jordan to give us a little insight into her time at Gustavus and what her future plans are.

What’s a favorite memory you have from your time in theatre at Gustavus?

JJ: The general feeling of standing on Anderson stage and now the Gardener as well and being overcome with the elation of performance.

What do you look forward to most about life after Gustavus?

JJ: No homework!!  Being able to focus fully on theatre rather than spending significant portions of my day working on homework instead of memorizing lines or getting into my character.

What has been your proudest moment in your time at Gustavus?

JJ: Being in/working on five shows (both in and outside of Gustavus) in the spring of Sophomore year and managing to survive them all when three of them had the same tech week/performance weekend.

What is the most interesting class you’ve taken at Gustavus and why?

JJ: Scenery Craft and Design because I’ve tried a lot of different aspects of theatre but I had never designed/drafted before so learning all that goes into that process was really eye opening and helped me appreciate even more greatly all the work the incredible theatrical designers must put in to their creations.

What professor has made the biggest impact on you and why?

JJ: Matt Panciera is probably the professor who has impacted me the most during my time here at Gustavus!  It was all because of his Myth and Meaning class my freshman year that I decided that I wanted to turn my hobby and interest in the classics into something I want to study and declared my minor in classics soon after that (I would’ve done a double major with classics as well but I didn’t realize just how much I would love it).  Matt makes every class period fun and engages his students in ways that make all of us want to learn the material rather than just have to.  I have never learned so much while also enjoying every second of it as I did in my three semesters of Latin with Matt.  I’m truly so thankful for the education and memories Matt provided me in my time here at Gustavus and I can’t thank him enough for all the work he’s put in in making all of his classes the best I’ve taken here at Gustavus.

Micah Maatman has really impacted my life in helping me gain confidence and begin to understand the life in theatre I hope to lead after college.  He supported his students so incredibly well throughout the COVID lockdown in the spring of 2020 when I was taking his Documentation class and reminded me constantly to take care of myself and put my mental health first during that time when the world was falling apart.  I’ve taken his lessons on mindfulness, confidence, hard work, and keeping myself open to the creative process with me into my senior year and I hope to retain these lessons for the rest of my life.  Micah may not be at Gustavus anymore but his class’s calming vibe and supportive atmosphere was a breath of fresh air from the busy schedules I’ve ever since my first semester at Gustavus and I can’t thank him enough for allowing his classroom to become a space for his students to feel at home amidst a turbulent semester.


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