~ By Kaitlin C. Meier, student writer for the College of Arts and Humanities

Congratulations to Thuy Duong, an acting alumna from the Department of Theatre Arts, on her acceptance to Juilliard! Duong received her bachelor of arts degree in Theatre Arts this spring and will be moving to New York in August leading up to attendance at the performing arts school.

Duong’s connection with theater began her senior year of high school, but her love for theater didn’t fully arise until college. After a short break from schooling, she returned to theater in 2013, attending Fresno City College, and took part in productions such as “Avenue Q,” “Still Life With Iris” and “Mulan and the Battle on Black Mountain” (pictured below).

Thuy Duong in production of "Mulan"

Theater was not the only field that Duong considered during her collegiate career. She also explored other majors, such as journalism, marketing and advertising, as well as considering a career in nursing.

Ultimately, theater became Duong’s chosen path as she pursued the advancement of her acting abilities: “Since making the decision to return to theater, I have finally found a purpose in my life; a path where I can happily and fully immerse myself,” said Duong. “Having this background in theatre, although it feels like such a short time, has given me a voice and an identity. It has made me more focused and I realize how capable I am of doing just about anything if I put my mind and body to it.”

From there, Duong continued her acting career at Fresno State, where she further developed as an individual and an actor:

“In a way, Fresno State has influenced me to be a more independent individual with a better sense of myself,” said Duong. “Theatre Arts, all together, have given me a better sense of myself, which is very important in this field of work.”

While finishing her degree in Theatre Arts at Fresno State, Duong acted in various University Theatre productions including “Othello,” “Passion Play,” “Heathers: The Musical,” “A Particle of Dread” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” Pictured below is Duong in the production of “A Particle of Dread,” directed by Theatre Arts Department Chair, J. Daniel Herring.

Thuy Duong in the production of "A Particle of Dread"

“Thuy is an extraordinary individual,” said Herring. “Her sincere compassion for others exemplifies her caring spirit. As an actress, Thuy always strives to bring authenticity to her characters with a depth of emotion.”

Her time spent at Fresno State and with the surrounding community played an important role in leading Duong into her future endeavors with Juilliard:

“I am immensely grateful for the education, and support system, I received from Fresno State and Fresno City College,” said Duong. “I believe that, overall, it wasn’t only my time at Fresno State that helped prepare me for this endeavor, but the theatre community that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of.”

There was a great deal of effort put into preparing for the audition processes involved with applying to graduate schools:

“It was such a busy process for me, but I am truly grateful that it was was so busy,” said Duong. “During the fall semester of my last year of undergraduate, I selected about six monologues to memorize. Most of the schools ask for you to memorize about four; I went on and memorized six, just in case. I also prepared sixteen measures of a song to show for the audition.”

With a big transition to Juilliard and a move to New York, Duong is looking forward to being around new people in a new environment: “Honestly, it’s all very exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I am looking forward to exploring the craft even further and taking in what they have to offer and vice versa. I hope to make the best of what is to come and will try to savor every moment through sweat, tears and laughter.”

Duong has a great deal of support behind her as she goes on to this amazing venture at Juilliard:

“I am proud that Thuy will represent Fresno State at Juilliard and I know without a doubt her future will be bright,” said Herring.

For more information on Duong’s accolades, click here.