Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
As Queen of the Night in the Ithaca College Theatre production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, Mengchun Yang delivered one of the world's most well-known arias to a packed audience. She stunned the crowd with her pitch-perfect performance, bringing the vengeful queen to life with her commanding stage presence.
For Mengchun, the journey to the IC stage was a long one—halfway around the world—but she knew that a graduate degree in performance at Ithaca College would be well worth the trip. She auditioned in her home country of China and wowed visiting faculty with her powerful soprano. Late that summer, Mengchun packed her bags and was on her way to Ithaca.
In IC's welcoming community, Mengchun quickly found a second family—music professors invited her over for home-cooked meals, music school peers helped her overcome the language barrier, and the women's chorus and choir provided a place for her to sing with new friends. She soon learned of an opportunity to broaden her range: "During my first semester, they had auditions for The Magic Flute. I just went to try. I never thought I would get a role or be a part of the opera, but I got it," Mengchun says.
She was cast as Queen of the Night, which has one of the most vocally demanding arias in opera. In nightly rehearsals with a supportive cast and crew, she developed her passion for opera. "I learned many things. I know how to prepare a whole opera: to learn the music and then read the dialogue and then the acting—and mix it together with the orchestra."
When opening night arrived, her music school family helped calm her nerves. "I was very excited and a little bit nervous. My friends and my teachers were all sitting in the audience to see me. That made me feel like family. I felt like, 'Okay. I can sing to my family.'"
Mengchun hopes to go on to sing opera professionally in China, where it’s becoming increasingly popular. With one outstanding performance already under her belt, she has a promising future as one of China's next stars.
"Being on stage, you are not yourself. You are that person. You have another personality. You need to build a person and have yourself and mix them together. I feel like I can see my value being on stage."
Tim Reynolds developed shoulder pain while playing baseball in high school. After several weeks of physical therapy, he was finally pain-free.
“I realized I wanted to help others the way that therapist helped me,” Tim said. “When I heard about the reputation of IC’s physical therapy program, I wanted to go there.”
Tim received his bachelor’s in clinical health studies in 2012 and then entered IC’s two-year doctorate of physical therapy program, gaining clinical experience as well as academic honors—including an award recognizing him as one of the country’s top undergraduates in an allied health field.
Tim expected that IC would offer him opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in physical therapy. What he didn’t expect was that IC would offer him the chance to become a businessman. After taking a course in neuromuscular control, Tim saw a way to transform a standard dumbbell into a kettlebell.
“Kettlebells are spherical weights with a curved handle to accommodate a two-handed grip,” Tim said. “They combine strength, cardio, and flexibility training into a single workout. But an entire set costs hundreds of dollars and takes up a lot of floor space.”
With the help of two faculty members, Tim and a friend designed a clasp with a handle shaped like a subway strap. Securing the clasp around a dumbbell bar of any weight transforms it into a kettlebell. After dubbing the device a KettleShell, Tim needed to market it. Ithaca’s School of Business showed him how.
“I took classes on developing business plans and then pitched KettleShell at the New York State Business Plan Competition, which attracted over 430 entries. KettleShell took third place in the products and services category and $1,500 in prize money. Naturally I was encouraged.”
Tim is currently testing a prototype of his product at five colleges across the country and hopes to have KettleShells in production by the end of 2013—just five months before he completes his graduate program in physical therapy.
“I never considered becoming an entrepreneur, but once you get passionate about an idea, it’s a remarkable feeling. Being able to take courses in the business school shows how IC provides its students with unexpected opportunities. I’m a CEO and I’m still in college.”
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