Student Highlight: Jason Roth ’17

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Hi! I’m Kanita Wang from Taiwan and Thailand. I’m a sophomore, and a likely concentrator of Anthropology. My weekly posts will highlight individuals who belong to this diverse student body, and truly embody the spirit of Brown. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people, and I hope to share a bit of their awesomeness with you all.

Jason is a spontaneous rocket, loaded with an infinite supply wit and creativity. He shoots off at incredible speeds, and leaves behind high energy, or in other words, lots and lots of laughter. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether he is joking or being serious, or whether, as an adept actor, he has been acting his entire life out. I had so much fun interviewing this brilliant character.

Class Year: 2017

Hometown: South Orange, New Jersey

Concentration: Possible double concentration in Theater Arts and a field of CLPS (cognitive linguistic psychological science).

What classes are you taking this semester?  Acting, and Performance Theory and World Theater Theory: Paleolithic to Medieval, Introduction to Neuroscience, Quantitative Methods in Psychology

What has been your favorite role in your drama career?  In the Scottish play (Macbeth – but ssh, don’t say his name aloud), I played porter, the guy that opens the gates for the castle – this was where the knock-knock joke originated. He’s a drunk, and super fun to be.

What are your extracurricular activities? I’ve been heavily involved in theater, and I recently joined a production called Song For a Future Generation: it’s about an intergalactic space party on a spaceship, and it’s a blast.

Favorite class taken so far? Linguistic Anthropology with Professor Paja Faudree. Learning about the language that surrounds us was super intriguing, and the content overlapped with so many other disciplines. The semiotic approach, for example, and ideas about structuralism and post-structuralism (I actually know what they mean now) became especially relevant in my other studies. The course was difficult and there was a lot of reading, but I tried as hard as I could, and I think learned so much about critical analysis. It was the best introduction to academia at Brown.

Why did you choose Brown? Well, I loved the Open Curriculum, because there were so many things that I wanted to study. To be honest, I came into Brown thinking I’d do physics. I didn’t know that theater was going to be part of my life, so I’m lucky that Brown has such a great theater program. Also, just the types of students that I heard came to Brown – I don’t want to stereotype, but it’s true. People here are amazing.

Favorite study spot at Brown? Well, I don’t feel the need to study in the same place all the time; in fact, I like people more than places. I really enjoy observing people, watching them just being. I like to be in places where I can look up from my book, and see other people deep in thought, stirring their coffee. I constantly discover new styles of stirring.

Favorite food at Brown? Soft serve in the Ratty. No debate.

Tell us an interesting story from your Brown experience so far. Last year, when I was shopping a first year seminar on the physics of energy, I realized that what the course offered didn’t interest me very much. Within a few minutes, I wanted to leave the class but I was embarrassed to do so because there were only twenty other people in the class. Towards the end of the class, the professor asked the students take turns telling their reasons for choosing the class (he didn’t quite understand that it was shopping period). Everyone had something really inspirational to say, like “Energy is our future and if we don’t care about energy we might as well DIE,” – really beautiful and passionate answers about how energy is important. So when it was my turn to talk I became flustered, and ended up giving a very honest response: “hi I’m Jason and I’m actually uh, and I mean uh, I guess what everyone said was all important, but I’m here because uh, the timing worked out with my schedule.” Afterwards, I could feel everyone’s glare on me; it was really quite funny – and embarrassing. At least I was honest.

Do you have any advice for incoming Freshman? Don’t feel the need to know anything: I thought I wanted to be a physicist and took math requirements that didn’t quite expand my horizons –it just wasn’t for me. Let yourself be guided by what you truly are interested in. I am now taking acting, and I love it.

If you could be something other than you are, what would you be? I would be a sneeze, and I think we all know why.

Know someone who belongs in this column? Think YOU deserve a student highlight? Send me an email at sheau-yuan_wang@brown.edu and we’ll make it happen!

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