Edyth Jeannelle Henderson, 2010 FDI Scholar in the Department of Theater and DanceEdyth Jeannelle Henderson

FDI Scholar in the Department of Theater and Dance

Originally from the Acadiana region of Louisiana, she is a theater professional who believes in the importance of education as it pertains to career and life training. With 20 years experience as a professional performing artist with experience in off-off-Broadway theaters, regional theaters, the National Black Theatre Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walt Disney World, as well as having television and film credits as an actor and a writer, she has always made education one of her primary focuses. As an eternal student, she believes learning is a lifelong endeavor. The search for life's truths and meanings through the synthesis of knowledge is rewarding in spite of and because of its never-ending journey. In using Gage and Berlinger's 1991 study in educational psychology, she believes that developing the "whole person" prepares the learner to enter into the discourse and practice of the human condition. As she considers theater to be a living art form, one of its basic pursuits is the study of the aforementioned condition. As actors, we are privileged to be able to "walk a mile in the shoes" of different types of people. We are entrusted with imbuing these characters, these people, with the breath of life. We are not their judge or jury; we are them made flesh presented in truth and with honor. Therefore, as with Cicero, she, too, believes that theater is to teach and entertain.

She was awarded an M.F.A. in Acting from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and an M.A. in Communication/TV Programming from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She received a Bachelor of Music degree (Sacred Music/Woodwind Specialist) from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Theatre Arts from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she was Valedictorian in Absentia. Currently, she has completed her course work in the M.F.A. Musical Theatre Program (with additional courses in Gender Studies and Arts Management) from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She hopes to defend her thesis, "Representations of the African American Female and the American Musical Theatre," during the 2010 Fall semester and graduate magna cum laude.

Additional honors she has received are: Outstanding Young Women of America, Who's Who Among American College Students, Outstanding University/College Students of America, National Achievement Semifinalist, representing the United States as a member of America's Youth in Concert in the United States and Europe, performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall (U.S.), Royal Albert Hall (U.K.), and Notre Dame Cathedral (France). She has received awards and recognition from the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts in Solo Acting, Duo Acting, and Creative Interpretation.

Lauren Chambers, 2010 FDI Scholar in the Department of EnglishLauren Chambers

FDI Scholar in the Department of English

Lauren is A.B.D. in the Department of English at the University of Georgia. Her research examines the intersections between the experiences of black diasporic women and identity formation.