G. Shizuko Herrera, professor of theatre at California State University, Los Angeles, has recently been awarded a Japan Studies Institute (JSI) Fellowship by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) for “incorporating Japanese Studies into the undergraduate curriculum.”

G. Shizuko Herrera (Rafu Shimpo photo)

As part of the fellowship, Herrera will participate in a two-week intensive summer institute focused on the study of modern Japan at San Diego State University.

“I am hoping this residential program on Japanese history and culture will give me some personal insights into Japan, and also provide material that could be incorporated into new classes for our graduate and undergraduate programs in our Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance or in the Asian and Asian American Studies program here at Cal State LA.,” said Herrera.

The JSI, made possible by a generous endowment from the Nippon Foundation, offers college and university faculty members without prior experience in Japanese studies to learn from scholars, business leaders, artists and journalists about Japan, both past and present. The summer program includes seminars, lectures, readings, films, and cultural activities related to Japanese history, culture, literature, government, business, language and education.

An Arleta resident, Herrera has been involved in technical theater for more than 30 years. She is a member of the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology and serves as the Region VIII-Circuit Three design coordinator for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, where she was honored with an Excellence in Education award.

Herrera has worked at number of equity waiver and professional houses, most notably with East West Players at the David Henry Hwang Theatre. Her affiliation with EWP has spanned more than 20 years. She is the recipient of the Rae Creevey Community Service Award, an L.A. Ovation Award in Lighting for EWP’s production of “Sweeney Todd,” and a Backstage Garland Award in Lighting for EWP’s production of “Pacific Overtures.”

Also, Herrera has received a Lester Horton nomination for Excellence in Dance Lighting for the Hae Kyung Lee & Dancers concert at the Japan America Theatre. She has served as a design/technical faculty member at CSULA’s Theatre Arts and Dance Department since 1989. She currently teaches stagecraft, makeup, and design. She is associate chair for the newly-reconfigured Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at CSULA, serving as the principal undergraduate adviser for theatre and dance students.

For more about the JSI Fellowship: www.aascu.org/programs/JSI/

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