Pioneer Public – Amanda Anderson

Written By Nardos Haile, For The Globe

Photo by Kelsee McHugh

Amanda Anderson was a Point Park acting major long before she became the Director of Student Life.

“I majored in acting because it was the only thing that I thought I was good at, the only thing I had any desire to do,” Anderson said.

Anderson, a California native, raised in Western Pennsylvania was an aspiring actress when she became a Point Park Conservatory student.

“At that time, I worked as a residence advisor which kind of changed my trajectory as far as what I wanted to do,” Anderson said.

Despite the shift in her interests, Anderson completed her master’s degree at the University of Exeter in England for applied drama in 2010. She describes applied drama as “using theatrical practices into development in people and students, which is what I do now.”

Anderson knew the acting process, specifically auditioning, wasn’t right for her but she still needed a creative outlet similar to acting.

“What I liked about theater was every person has a story and I get that a lot in my position as far as working with students who come from any which place,” Anderson said. “Trying to find a common ground with them is kind of what I used to do.”

After graduate school, Anderson used her former contacts at Point Park to get a part-time position which turned into a full-time position. She hasn’t left since.

As Director of Student Life, Anderson handles everything from residence life, commuter resources and study abroad. Anderson also lives on campus in Lawrence Hall with her husband and is the advisor for the Black Student Union.

The connection that Anderson has made with Point Park’s students is one of the more important aspects of her job and she has really come to love it.

“This is just a window of opportunity to be involved in someone’s life and it’s quick and sometimes it’s memorable, sometimes it’s not,” Anderson said. “But what I love is getting so close and involved with students and being their support system in this moment. I might not have talked to them in the last year but they end up coming back and saying I remember you so vividly.”