March 8, 2018
Cassandra Punohu came to the University of Montana Western after receiving her associate’s degree. Seeking to become a high school drama teacher in a rural school, she says she “couldn’t see herself achieving her goals any other way.”
Before enrolling at Montana Western, Punohu studied abroad at the Istituto Venezia in Venice, Italy. The Italian university implemented a similar one-course-at-a-time schedule as the University of Montana Western. After her study abroad experience, she decided to continue her education in the Experience One program at Montana Western, the only public four-year university in the nation to offer the learning format that she felt was the best fit for her goals.
Currently, Punohu is in her junior year, majoring in both English and Secondary Education and minoring in Drama K-12. She believes that the focus on experiential learning at Montana Western is especially helpful for drama students.
“The plays provide a true hands-on experience,” Punohu said.
Before attending Montana Western, she has been a singer, sound board designer/operator, assistant stage manager, and prop master, working on productions such as Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” at Flathead Valley Community College. Expanding on her theater background at Montana Western, her latest role was stage manager for the Bank of Commerce Performing Arts Series production of “Proof,” a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play by David Auburn. She also worked as a sound board operator for the University of Montana Western’s recent productions of “Some Girls” and “Orphans.”
She cites English Professor Bethany Blankenship as her biggest inspiration at the University of Montana Western.
“She’s really organized and professional. She always wants to make sure you understand,” Punohu said.
Lastly, Punohu stated that attending a single course for three hours a day is especially beneficial.
“It’s an enriching experience that allows students to get to know their classmates and instructors. There’s more time for discussion and thinking things through.”
For more information about how Experience One can help you achieve your goals, or to schedule a visit to the University of Montana Western, visit www.umwestern.edu or call 877-683-7331.