NEW FACES: Dr. Gina Sandi-Diaz, Theatre Arts

New theatre professor Gina Sandi-Diaz

The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State is the largest college on campus, encompassing nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program.

Of the 60 new faculty members at Fresno State this fall, about 22% of the new hires are in the College of Arts and Humanities. These new faculty members bring innovative research, diverse disciplines and technical expertise to our college, strengthening our programs across many of our disciplines.

Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to these new faces, by department.

Department of Theatre Arts

Dr. Gina Sandi-Diaz joins the Department of Theatre Arts as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from the University of Kansas.

Sandi-Diaz is an actor, director and Latinx theatre scholar from San Jose, Costa Rica. Most recently, she graduated with a Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Kansas, where she received a Tinker Foundation Travel Award to Nicaragua to study masked traditions and the Joseph Roach Dissertation Award for her dissertation’s prospectus: “Performing National Identity, Civic Resistance and Cultural Memory in Costa Rica’s Masked Traditions.” Prior to earning her doctorate, Gina was an associate professor of theatre at the Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica.

Prior to earning her doctorate, Gina was an associate professor of theatre at the Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica.

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I am looking forward to getting to know my new home and to building long-lasting relationships with my new neighbors, colleagues and students here at Fresno State.

Q: Can you tell us how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: Life is full of surprises and in my case, it surprised me with a hidden passion for theatre and a strong commitment to community building. These, plus my life experience: ‘me being me’ — a Latina raised in Latin America, residing in and pursuing a career in the U.S. — provided a career path for myself.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the Department of Theatre Arts offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I am excited to share my knowledge of theatre with the department and to learn from the student body and my colleagues. I think my background in Latin American theatre and Latinx theatre in the U.S., not just in terms of knowledge of the history, theories and methodologies of work, but also in terms of theatre making, will be a nice complement to the department’s work. One of the goals is to provide more Latinx stories to the Fresno audience and the larger San Joaquin Valley community.

Q: What are you reading?

A: I just finished my dissertation last May so this summer I was dedicated to leisure reading. I just finished Harry Potter (the final chapter) and now I am starting Anne Rice’s newest book on the Vampire Lestat… I know… I love stories with magical/non-ordinary characters!

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: Ummm… we are all different people with different passions and interests. Not one text will fit and serve us all, but I do care about reading because it nurtures my body and soul. So, my suggestion is read anything you like, whatever entertains you and fills you up. If you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out.

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I speak a little bit of Thai and I love eating really spicy food, thanks to a year studying abroad in Thailand back in high school.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a mistake students tend to make?

A: Argh! I have to say it. It’s asking questions that can be easily answered by reading the syllabus.

Q: When are your office hours?

A: 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, but you can always find me in the hallways or somewhere on campus.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: Just that I am grateful to the universe for bringing me here and I look forward to my future in Fresno. Thanks for having me!

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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