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Gina Buzzanca

As part of the Student Titan Employment Program (STEP) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, nursing major Gina Buzzanca stays connected to her love of theatre by creating costumes for UW Oshkosh performances while keeping up with her demanding classes.

Name: Gina Buzzanca
Role: Costume shop assistant
Department: Theatre
Major: Nursing
Year: Junior
Hometown: Mequon

What specific tasks do you do for your internship?

“I help sew and alter the costumes under the direction of my boss. I also help organize the storage and often clean and sort things.”

How is the internship benefiting your education?

“It’s helping me be a more rounded person, as well as allowing me to do something I love. I always did technical theatre in high school, and I was afraid that, as a nursing major, I would be unable to continue that in college. I was gladly proven wrong; however, my skills at the costume shop benefit me greatly. I learn to do a different sort of technical skill that requires different things than nursing does, and I can always apply these skills to things in my personal life.”

How is the internship benefiting your future?

“I’ve always been short, so learning to alter and hem my own pants has been quite a help and will continue to help me in the future. But in all seriousness, this job is giving me skill that I can choose to expand on if I do not like my current career path. In addition, it gives me another hobby and an outlet for stress. Currently, my life is so consumed by nursing that it is a relief to spend time in the costume shop. This can and hopefully will, continue in the future.”

How is the internship benefiting your department?

“This internship benefits the theatre department because we provide the costumes for each of the plays. We measure, create, alter and dress each of the actors, which helps create the atmosphere required for each play.

“This internship benefits the nursing department because it helps me become a well-rounded individual and student by giving me a different technical skill in a different department. Not only am I a dedicated nursing student, but I am a dedicated theatre patron due to my work at the costume shop.”

What has been your favorite part of the internship?

“I love the people and the learning experience this job creates. I love meeting new people, especially people I would not meet under normal circumstances. The people I’ve had the pleasure to work with during this job are people that are not associated with my major in any way. It allows me to experience an entirely different group of people. I also love learning to sew, as it is a different skill than I have learned in my other classes. When I’ve created something, and I see the end product, I feel really proud of what I’ve created. It’s a great feeling.”

Have you faced any challenges? If so, detail how you overcame them.

“I’ve faced a lot of challenges. Mostly, it’s finding the time to balance work with my hectic school life. Nursing classes and studying takes up a lot of my time. However, I love my job at the costume shop and I’ve managed to make time in my schedule that allows me to continue to work there. Sometimes, my schedule can overwhelm me, but both my professors and my bosses are flexible when it comes to dealing with work and school.”

Supervisor comments

“Gina is a great intern,” said Kathleen Donnelly, costume designer and professor. “She has become a very confident stitcher on costumes for our college theatrical productions. Recently Gina spent quite a few hours sewing buttons on a camel for our production of ‘My Soldiers’. The camel had over 1,000 buttons, so it was quite a challenge to get it covered before the show’s opening night. She also has learned quite a bit about fashion history as she works with the organization of our large amount of costume stock. I am very happy to be working with Gina, as our costume intern, for the STEP program.”

The Student Titan Employment Program (STEP) offers students quality educational experiences while providing faculty and staff members with needed assistance in areas such as media services, student-faculty research, supplemental instruction, library assistance, instructional technology and academic computing support, and Web page development and maintenance. The program is funded through a one-time investment of $500,000. More than 110 students are funded through STEP.