Arts Leadership Major Elizabeth DeLeo ’22 Pursues Her Passion for the Performing Arts

Alumni Success

Name: Elizabeth DeLeo
Graduation Year: 2022
Major: Arts Leadership
Hometown: Middletown, N.J.

Why did you decide to study your particular major?
I chose Iona because I was intrigued by the Arts Leadership major. It was the best of both worlds, being able to study what I love and perform. The major allowed me to study all my interests – performing arts, marketing, public relations and business.

How did Iona prepare you to get where you are today?
The leadership opportunities at Iona allowed me to grow into the individual I am today. I was a Resident Assistant, Orientation Leader, a Kairos leader, Dance Captain of the Dance Ensemble my senior year, a Gael Guide and I also served as Co-Social Media Chair my senior year. All of these positions prepared me with the skills of organization, teamwork, creativity and time management.

Were you involved in student groups or activities? If so, how did they shape or support your career path?
The Iona Players shaped my career path. I was involved in six Iona Players productions throughout my Iona journey. Those shows provided me opportunities to perform and serve in various leadership roles. I served on the E-board for three years as Community Service Chair, Treasurer and Co-President.

My senior year we performed The Addams Family. I was Student Director and Assistant Choreographer. I was involved from the first read-through to the final bow. This opened my eyes to my future. I wanted to work in a theater or a school allowing others to discover their talents and find their own second family in their cast mates. I am beyond grateful for the individuals I have met by being a part of the club. Once a Player always a Player!

Was there a professor, staff member, or peer who made an impact on you while you were at Iona? If so, who and why?
Many professors and professional staff have made an impact on my Iona journey, but the one who stood out the most was Jason Summers, the director-in-residence of the Iona Players. He is a mentor and there are no words to express my appreciation for him allowing me to learn and assist him.

In January, Jason asked me to cover him at a dance call. I choreographed and taught a dance call to students. While being in the room with these students, I knew this was my calling. To quote Hamilton, I wanted to be in “the room where it happens.” I walked in as a stranger to these students, but walked out as an individual who understood where their joy came from. I knew at that moment, I wanted to be a resource or support system to others on crafting their skill. This new change of path would lead me to work in education whether at a theater or college. I am at my happiest when I am connecting and supporting someone who has the same passion as I do.

What do you love most about what you're currently doing?
I love helping students pursue their love for the performing arts. I enjoy learning about their desire to be in the arts and supporting them in finding a perfect program. I am grateful to be part of a community that appreciates the performing arts.

What is a day in the life like in your role?
I am the International Admissions Advisor. I assist the Director of International Admissions on recruiting students to attend The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I will outreach to students by calling, emailing or messaging them. I attend their auditions. I assist and guide them with all their paperwork for admissions in order that the students can receive the necessary training.

What is the lasting impact Iona has made in your personal and professional life?
The lasting impact Iona has made is the sense of community. I always felt I had people supporting and caring for me. I looked for that sense of community in the jobs, internships and theater companies I work with. I am lucky to say I have found that sense of community in my current position.

What advice do you have for a current Iona student who wants to follow a similar path?
My advice is to become involved in various performing arts organizations. I know the performing arts industry can appear as an unknown world, but don’t let fear stop you. There are so many opportunities waiting to be discovered and you will find the one you were meant to do.