Name: Brenna Rossi
Hometown: Omaha, Neb.
MW: Now that you will be graduating in a month, do you think you have done anything for which the University of Dallas will remember you?
BR: Well, apparently it’s already going down as a story in lore, the story of how I jumped out a second-floor window in Jerome [Hall.] During K.A.O.S. freshman year, my assassin, Shannon Scott, and a few of her friends trapped me in someone else’s room in Jerome — I lived in Augustine — and so I saw no way out except out the window, because I knew the resident was going to have to come in or out at some point. I ended up spraining or tearing a ligament in my ankle when I fell, and a friend had to piggyback me back to Augustine. I’m pretty certain I set a record for longest survivor of K.A.O.S. on crutches — I survived two more days.
I also have a research poster in the Science Building, so it will be on the wall at least a little while longer. At least the next few years I will be remembered in the Chemistry Department because I have a loud and wacky personality that’s hard to forget. Another thing I did: fall of freshman year, the paper was published.
MW: Tell me a little about the work you do in the Costume Shop.
BR: I got into it last semester. For most of my years at UD, I didn’t know it was a thing that you could work for the Drama Department making their costumes. Now, I’ve been sewing since I was about 13, and I’m very into anything that involves fibers, yarn, fabric; I do it all. So then I found out that hey, I can get paid for this, so I went up to Susie Cox at a drama meeting and said, “Hey, I want to sew things,” and so she said, “Great, come see me at the Costume Shop and we can get you set up.”
Last semester [I worked through] Theater Arts Workshop, so it was just a class and I didn’t get paid. This semester, Susie offered me a job because they needed lots of student workers in order to get everything done for “The Liar.” It was a very big show in terms of costumes. There was a lot to do … I worked on the maids’ costumes. [Junior] Sam Pate’s cape, I did a lot on that, so I’m glad he swishes it around so much, because it’s wonderfully swishy.
I’m also taking Costume Patterning so I can learn more … about how to make clothes for people that fit, because I love to make clothes for people. I’m very happy I got this opportunity to learn how to do it at a more professional level before graduating from UD. If grad school doesn’t work out, I could still become a tailor or draper. [Hooray] for back-up plans.
MW: You’re interested in bringing together your work in chemistry and your interest in textiles, right? Talk about that.
BR: When I was applying to grad school, I kept in mind my interest in working with synthetic polymers. I mean, polymers is actually a huge field; it could be considered its own beast. When I talk about polymers, I’m thinking synthetic fibers. I guess you could think of plastics, but most things we manufacture are made of glass or metal, so it’s a huge field right now, with lots of technology going into it. If I’m ever going to be able to work on textile fibers, such as devising new ways to make synthetic textile fibers or finding more environmentally friendly ways to manufacture them, polymer science would be the way to go.
MW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the Chemistry Department?
BR: Sass at Dr. [Scott] Boegeman. Day one in O’Hara, he asked how you can get fat and water to mix in milk, since fat is hydrophobic, and I promptly raised my hand and said, “You give the fat therapy so now it’s not so afraid of water.” He gave me the most glorious eye roll for that. You could read it on his face – oh, God, this is what I’m going to have to put up with for four years.
And then there was another lovely occasion at the beginning of biochemistry. He told us to ask him anything. No one raised their hands because, I suppose, no one was brave enough to ask him anything. So I asked him how old he was. I think he’s 54. I don’t remember.