While pursuing a degree in theater, Francesca Hsieh left a continuing impact at the University of Utah by creating BIPOC Artists for Awareness, a program that continues to grow and improve the community even after her graduation.
BIPOC Artists for Awareness is a community within the Department of Theatre designed to bring awareness to social issues and implement change within the community. “It became a way for us all to be in community together and to talk about issues we had and things we wanted to be different,” Hsieh said. This program allows students of color to have a support system and a network of people who have had similar experiences. At the end of her senior year, Hsieh received the 2021 Ivory Prize for Excellence in Student Leadership. This prize includes a cash award for the recipient as well as a donation to their cause.
In addition to starting BIPOC Artists for Awareness, Hsieh also started Open Door Productions, a program that helps students write and direct their own shows. “We started Open Door as a way to get some student productions up and running because students need organizational tools to have access to make productions happen,” Hsieh said. Open Door Productions has allowed for multiple full scale student productions to come to life, both virtually and in person.
Hsieh now lives in London and is getting a master’s degree in theater directing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is looking forward to working in the theater career field and making waves post-graduation.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2022 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.