The art of communication

The art of communication

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Theatre arts and PR degrees earned, Allie Fogle heads off to serve others through AmeriCorps

Alexzandra “Allie” Fogle started looking for colleges—seriously considering programs and pros and cons--in eighth grade.

From Wagner to Pitt to Towson to Fordham, she toured 20 schools. Rowan University was No. 21.

“I’m a planner,” she says. “I had to look until I found it.”

Once she found Rowan—though, in many ways, Rowan found her—Fogle discovered an institution where she could make her education her own and contribute significantly to the lifeblood of a thriving, growing university.

Instantly, Fogle was smitten. She entered Rowan determined to succeed.

“I’m lucky and blessed that I found Rowan,” says Fogle. “I wanted to give to Rowan as much as Rowan gave to me.”

Bound for AmeriCorps

From earning two bachelor’s degrees—in theatre arts and public relations—with a near-perfect 3.99 GPA to serving as an Admissions Ambassador, stage managing theatre productions, editing the yearbook, studying abroad, and succeeding in high-profile, demanding PR internships, Fogle has shined as brightly as the footlights in Rowan’s Tohill Theatre.

Now, she’s prepared to take her University and life experiences in a new direction this fall, when, after a mega backpacking trip through Europe this summer, she begins a year-long stint in California with the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. There, Fogle will combine her hard-earned communication and organizational skills with her passion for promoting non-profit community work to lead a volunteer program. The VISTA program’s goal is to assist people living in poverty.

Fogle hasn’t yet heard whether she’ll end up working in an arts organization, an outdoor conservation program, an after-school program or with Meals or Wheels in either Sonoma or Napa counties. What she does know is that her decision to defer her admittance into George Washington University’s graduate program in tourism administration to work with AmeriCorps just feels right. Upon completion of the program, she’ll earn a professional certificate in volunteer management.

“I want to do non-profit PR,” says Fogle, whose work with AmeriCorps will include volunteer recruitment, fundraising, grant writing and public relations. “It’s very important for me to use my position of privilege to help those who haven’t had the same privileges.

“I decided to defer my graduate work because I wanted to do something that’s scary to me. With AmeriCorps I’ll experience something new while giving back and doing something I enjoy. As long as ‘scary’ doesn’t overpower my excitement, I’ll be good.”

‘Theatre connects humanity in a way nothing else can’

Recruited by the Department of Theatre and Dance as an acting major, Fogle, who received a full, four-year scholarship, moved to the technical theatre program when she realized stage acting wasn’t her true calling.

“I knew I couldn’t make a career out of acting because it’s not stable enough for me,” says Fogle. “I didn’t have that passion for performing.”

Yet, she wanted to stay involved in the theatre. Technical Theatre was the perfect solution. It allowed her to marry her deep love of the arts with innate skills in organization, leadership, and problem solving. Those same talents made an additional major in PR a no-brainer, she says.

“The arts are really important to me and I’m really good at stage managing—corralling people,” says Fogle, recipient of the Phillip Graneto Excellence in Theatre Medallion, awarded to a senior who is active in student theater organizations and exhibits overall academic and artistic excellence.

“Theatre connects humanity in a way nothing else can. It can address issues in society that other types of art can’t. And I love the sense of community, purpose and support. Everyone supports each other.”

Fogle, who has been involved in more than a dozen theatre productions, felt that sense of community on her Rowan admissions tour.

“I loved my tour of Rowan,” she says. “The personalized attention made me feel that I’d be a valuable part of the University.”

Fogle recalls an information session where Elisabeth Hostetter, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, gave a presentation and asked prospective students to look to each side. At other schools, presenters would use a similar tactic and explain that students around them would not likely make it through the program.

Rowan was different.

“Elisabeth Hostetter said, ‘The people on your left and you right will be your best friends. You will create art with them at Rowan and after,’” says Fogle. “At Rowan, there was a full-on sense that these people wanted you to do well.”

Hostetter says Fogle put in hours upon hours of work to serve as the stage manager on six productions and assistant stage manager on two more. Fogle has a gift for working with performers and has a keen understanding of the technical aspects of theatre production—areas that include management, design, lighting, and makeup, among others, Hostetter says.

“She proved herself to be articulate, focused, and mature with a broad-minded, socially aware outlook,” says Hostetter, adding that, as a stage manager, Fogle was the first one to report and the last person to leave every production—a commitment that spanned upwards of seven or eight hours daily…and sometimes more.

‘She is beloved among her peers’

“She spent an enormous amount of time serving her major. I treated her in many ways as an assistant director. Her skills lend themselves to being a really good stage manager,” Hostetter says.

Fogle earned the respect of her fellow majors, says Hostetter, who adds that the program recruited Fogle heavily after Professor Lane Savadove saw her perform at a theater festival.

“She is beloved among her peers,” Hostetter says. “And she also connected with the campus community, which is not an easy task. She has no ego. And that’s beautiful.

“I still love to see her perform. She has an amazing presence. She’s an exceptional young woman.”

Fogle realized PR was a good fit after taking an introductory course and interviewing the public relations director of Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater. Since then, she has secured internships with the Southern New Jersey Development Council—“That was the first time I got to write press releases,” she says. “Urban planning is one of my secret hobbies”—the National Constitution Center and, most recently, Aversa PR in Philadelphia. At Aversa, she handles the company’s theatre clients, running social media accounts for companies including Inis Nua Theatre Company.

“It’s 12 hours a week, but social media is 24/7,” says Fogle. “I do all of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts.”

Public relations skills

In a sense, Fogle has honed her public relations skills since her sophomore year, when she became an Admissions Ambassador. She relishes giving tours to prospective students and their families and has a special affinity for Bunce Hall, where, between her admissions and theatre work, so many of her Rowan memories were made. Ambassadors always make a special stop on their tour at Bunce, the birthplace of the University.

“When I applied to be an Ambassador, I thought, “I can be loud. I can be funny. I can walk backwards,’” laughs Fogle, a student in the Thomas N. Bantivoglio Honors Program. “I love being a tour guide. We have a whole ‘Ambassa-family.’ We love our jobs.”

Her degrees, which she accepted summa cum laude from the College of Performing Arts and the College of Communication and Creative Arts at Commencement ceremonies on Wednesday, May 10, are similar than some might think, says Fogle, who grew up in Walkersville, Md.

“My whole life is all about communication. Both majors are really the art of communication,” she says.

One of three yearbook editors this year—“I thought it sounded fun. It was fun except for that one week when everything was due,” she laughs--Fogle attributes her growth as a student and a person to her Rowan studies, her extracurricular involvement and her study abroad experience.

In summer of 2015, she traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic to take courses in architecture and Jewish history at Charles University. She speaks reverently of the experience and waxes poetic about Czech food, including beef goulash and trdelnik, a pastry.

“Trdelnik is a croissant tube filled with Nutella. Just amazing. I still have dreams about it.

“It’s a beautiful country with an incredible history,” continues Fogle. “Studying abroad made me grow up so much as a human being. It’s a big confidence boost. It widens your whole empathy for other people. You’re more understanding of diversity.”

Her European backpacking trip this summer—10 countries in 30 days—is the best way to celebrate Commencement that she can imagine.

“I want something that, when I’m 75 years old, I can pull out a dusty photo album and look at it and say I had a really cool life, I met cool people, and I have funny stories. I want to have good stories to tell,” she says.

Uber busy—“I don’t sleep a lot,” she says—Fogle finds herself reflective as her academic career at Rowan ends.

To quote Cole Porter, one of her favorite composers, her experience has been delightful…delicious…and, yes, “de-lovely.”

“It’s such a privilege to get an education,” Fogle says. “I’m proud of all of the opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of at Rowan.”