Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

#SDSUGrad Devon Hunt

Q&A with MFA Musical Theatre graduate soon to head Musical Theatre program at Oklahoma State University

#SDSUGrad Devon Hunt

Devon Hunt

Can you describe a bit about yourself and how/when you decided to pursue your degree?

I got into musical theatre very late. I’m a classically trained musician and I’ve been playing piano since I was six years old. When I went to college, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I majored in music and pre-med and went to medical school. After struggling through two years, I decided I needed a break from medicine and took an academic leave to get a master’s degree in piano performance. That’s where I discovered musical theatre. I got a job directing musicals at a local high school and completely fell in love. When I got back to medical school (because the plan had been to take a break and then finish the program) I knew right away that it still wasn’t the right fit. An old friend messaged me out of the blue one day to suggest I look at the MFA program at SDSU (talk about serendipity!) and once I started looking into it I knew this was where I needed to be. What followed was a frantic few months of dance and voice lessons and doing every local show I could audition for to try and beef up my resume; at one point I was in three productions at the same time! (Very stressful. Would not recommend.) All of that hard work paid off when I was selected to be a part of this incredible program!

When did you start your job search and how long was it before you received a job offer?

I started looking for jobs and submitting applications right at the beginning of fall semester, and I didn’t receive an offer until mid-February.

What did your job search entail and what were you specifically looking for when searching job openings?

I spent a lot of time online looking at faculty position listings on HigherEdJobs, GlassDoor, and Indeed. I also belong to a Facebook group made up of musical theatre educators across the country who post openings at their institutions. My strategy was to keep running targeted searches on these sites until something popped up for which I felt I was qualified.

What was your reaction when you received the official job offer?

A lot of silent screaming while I was on the phone with my now-boss. I actually missed his first call by a couple of minutes, and when I listened to the voicemail it was the classic “Hey! Just trying to get in touch with you! Give me a call back when you get a chance!” As soon as I returned the call, my best friend went running for our professor so they were both in the room watching me try to maintain my composure on the phone as I listened to the offer. I’m pretty sure I collapsed to the floor in relief as soon as I got off the phone (theatre kids and their drama, amirite?). I’d had an incredibly vivid nightmare a couple of days before about not getting the job, so needless to say I was carrying a LOT of stress.

What advice do you have for fellow students, regardless of their field, looking to jumpstart their career and land their first job post-graduation?

Keep putting yourself out there! You never know when someone will see your particular set of skills and say to themselves, “that is exactly the person I am looking for!” Also, surround yourself with people who will support you and help you pull through when times are hard. Job hunt season was a very uncertain time for me and it helped having the support of my amazing cohort-mates through the whole process.

What is it that you are most looking forward to as you kick start this next chapter?

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to pass on the amazing wealth of knowledge that’s been imparted to me to a new generation of students. I knew I wanted to teach theatre from the first time I got to coach students in musical theatre scenes, and now I am incredibly privileged to start a career doing exactly what I’ve dreamed of doing.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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