Gillian Therese Ebersole is the recipient of the LMU 2020 Marian Award and she has been named LMU Scholar of the Year. Ebersole, who is earning a dual degree in dance and English, had received a public relations internship with Jacob’s Pillow, the internationally acclaimed summer dance festival in the U.S., but the festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is continuing to dance and write, ready to adapt to the performing arts world that is to come.
The Marian Award is a tradition unique to LMU overseen by members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the sisters affiliated with LMU through the merger with Marymount College. This award recognizes the female Presidential Citation awardee who has held true to the Marian ideals by proving herself a model of service, leadership, and academic achievement.
Ebersole has been a member of LMU’s chapter of the National Dance Education Organization and Movement Exchange, including serving as the president for two years. The chapter provided local and international dance education, including starting a weekly dance club at a local high school; in 2019, she led a group of seven dancers on an exchange to Panama, where they taught dance in orphanages and learned from the Panamanian dance community. Ebersole was also active member of Campus Ministry as a cantor and psalmist for the Sacred Heart Chapel Choir. In addition, in her first year she made a pilgrimage to the Taizé Community in France, has attended Silent Retreat, and went on the De Colores trip this January.
Ebersole’s academic interest is driven by the intersectionality and interdisciplinary nature of her two degree tracks. In her study of dance, Ebersole’s focus is on the need for equity in dance education, gender theory in relation to movement theory, as well as the gender inequalities dancers face in the professional world. In her English studies, she tailored her degree toward poetry. She is in the University Honors Program, is a member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, and the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta.
Furthering her connection of writing and dance, Ebersole participated in the Institute for Dance Journalism and Advocacy at the National College Dance Festival in Washington, D.C., in 2018, thanks to funding by LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts. The experience taught her how her writing can be utilized to link people to dance.
To her fellow graduates, Ebersole says: “We are at the forefront of change (whether we want to be or not), and as we look forward, I hope we connect our passions to the world’s greatest needs in order to create a better, and kinder, future.”
This article originally appeared here.