ASU grad found a way to balance musical theater passion and career
Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.
When Lindsay Lohr arrived at Arizona State University from her hometown of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia, she planned on studying both musical theater and communication. She quickly realized she wanted to focus on a career in communication, but she didn’t want to leave her artistic side behind.
Lohr needn’t have worried; she proved to be a true Renaissance woman in her time as a Sun Devil as a co-founder of ASU’s first jazz a capella group, The Undertones, and an active member of the Outdoors Club. Almost every weekend, she was camping with the club.
“Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania, I wanted to get out and see more of what is out there, especially out West, which is so different from the suburban landscape of where I grew up,” said Lohr, who was a recipient of the William and Teeny Drakos Endowed Communication Scholarship, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Scholarship and the House of Broadcasting Endowed Communication Scholarship. She was also named CLAS Dean's Medalist at graduation.
She spent a large portion of her free time performing in theater classes, plays, student films and singing whenever she had the chance. She helped to produce a theater piece that was used to help educate first-year students about sexual violence prevention, studied abroad in Spain and was a writer for ASU Student Life.
“I got to share all different types of stories, attend events I would have never thought about going to and meet incredible people,” said Lohr. “I never considered myself a writer or storyteller before this job, but now I confidently think of myself as a writer.”
As Lohr prepared for graduation, she talked with ASU Now to reflect on her Sun Devil journey so far and what she learned along the way.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: My "aha" moment was in my first communication class at ASU, COM 100, which I eventually became a TA in!
I loved the course work we were studying, learning how people communicate, why they do and how to best form relationships with other people. It just clicked in my brain. Everything my professor was talking about all made sense. I had people turn to me asking if I could tutor them for tests because of how well I was able to explain everything, how easily I was able to understand the information and how well I was doing in the class.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
A: One of the biggest things I learned was that you can always come home no matter how far it may be. Even though it may seem like across the country is far, in reality you can always go back. Nothing is ever permanent.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU because ASU offered me everything I could want in a university. I started off as a double major in performance and musical theater and communication, and ASU was one of the few schools in the country that could offer me that.
I ended up dropping my musical theater major after my first semester because it wasn't what I wanted to do in my future, but I worked it out with my professors to keep taking classes and developing my craft. I like to say that I created my own "musical theater minor," which ASU now offers and created with me and the classes I took in mind. My time in college would not have been the same at any other university, and I am very grateful for all the faculty at ASU providing me that.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: Toby Yatso, one of the music theater professors at ASU, turned out to be one of my mentors throughout college, and he taught me so much. I kept sticky notes of what he would say in class because I found it so motivating and inspiring. One time during office hours when I was deciding whether or not I wanted to drop my musical theater major, Toby told me a story of his husband … [who] dropped out of college, where he was a music education major, to take time to figure out what he wanted to do.
His husband went back once he was around 30 because he figured out his path and is now a chemistry teacher at a high school, does theater and music on the side and loves it. Toby related this story to mine saying that "no path is ever wrong" and "you're like a wagon wheel where each spoke is another part of you, and without them your wheel would be entirely unbalanced,” which I had written both on a sticky note by my desk throughout all of my freshman year while I was trying to figure out my balance between my passions and my potential career.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: My best advice to those still in school is to never (phone in) anything. Do it to your best ability and give it everything you've got. You'll find you get more out of life and more out of school if you do everything to the best of your ability each time.
Take on only what you can knowing that you must put 100% of your effort into it, and don't be flaky. Stay true to your word. This means go to class, put the time into your homework, talk to someone you think may have your perfect job and learn from them. Your effort will be noticed, and you will gain so much more by just putting in that extra bit of effort.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus was in the MU by the fireplace. It was just such a cozy area to do anything in — homework, meet friends, watch a movie while campus is empty on the weekends.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation I will be working at the Study Abroad Office as the management intern!
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would tackle climate change, because it is a serious issue that I think we are not taking seriously. With that $40 million, I would find a way to create a completely harmonious living style that creates zero waste and actually removes some of the damage we have already created to our Earth. We only have one.