Alumni Spotlight: Noel Amend '12 Behind the Mask
Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience” and no one could agree more than Urbana University ’12 graduate Noel Amend.
Noel came to Urbana University on a soccer scholarship in 2007 and suddenly found herself in a completely different world. Having spent her entire high school career just outside of Cincinnati at Mason High School – one of the largest high schools in the state of Ohio with over 3,000 students – coming to Urbana University was almost like stepping into another world. Such a drastic change in scenery could have shocked a lesser person and, perhaps, held them back. But not Noel.
“I loved every minute of it,” Noel reflects fondly of her initial experiences at UU. “Being such a small school, you get the opportunity to try everything on before you leave like extra-curriculars, clubs, sports, etc. I enjoyed the small classrooms with professors who not only interacted with the students but who also truly cared.”
It was the approaching Homecoming her freshmen year, however, that presented Noel with a completely unexpected change in her path. Sitting in the office of BJ Gregory, a ’06 bachelor’s and ’10 masters graduate, Noel’s attention was caught by the head of the Urbana University mascot, Knitro.
“Can I try it on?” She asked Gregory. “He just stared at me and said, ‘Yeah, give it a try.’ So I put on the head and began to walk and dance around.”
The next thing she knew, Noel was marching in the Homecoming parade as Knitro and a chain of events unfolded because of that one decision to try on Knitro’s head. Continuing to play soccer, Noel branched out and joined the University’s spring theatre production in 2008. She was active in the productions of “The Sandbox”, “Plugged in Poe”, and “The Miracle Worker”. Her experience as Knitro allowed her to get a job as the Kenwood Towne Centre Easter Bunny and the Kings Island character Cosmo.
Prior to her junior year, Noel transferred to the University of Cincinnati due to a curiosity of the big school atmosphere. While the social atmosphere that a big, city-based college was much different and something Noel loved, academically she was unsatisfied and came running back to UU for the Spring 2011 term and finished out her collegiate years on scholarships for cheerleading (as the mascot) and theatre.
“I missed everyone at Urbana. I realized how my friends, and even the faculty and staff, had become like a second family to me; that is something that was hard to come by at a large university.”
Noel, while still considering herself a beginner in the “real world”, attributes a well-rounded education at Urbana University to helping prepare her for career and adult successes. Never thinking that her college education would include more field trips than she remembered taking throughout her primary education, helping with radio commercials to promote Urbana University, or participating in on-campus activities like sledding on Tupperware, mud-wrestling, or “other [things] I probably shouldn’t share publicly”, Noel was able to learn the true meaning and benefit of a UU experience.
“I think more people would benefit from a more hands-on education than a textbook education, and they would probably enjoy learning a lot more. I never thought I would have done as much as I did [in college]. In reality, experience opens up doors to gain more experiences instead of just going through the motions.”
These days, Noel is using the confidence and experienced acquired during her time at Urbana to excite the fans attending the Cincinnati Reds games; she has traded in Knitro’s head for Rosie Red’s.
“I really feel like I have gotten to do everything I wanted with my college years and more. Without my debut as Knitro way back as a freshman, I would have never gotten the opportunity to be the lovely Rose Red. Thanks Urbana! Forever a Blue Knight!”
This alumni spotlight was written by Jennifer Kirkham ’09. Jennifer is a freelance writer and blogger with experience as an editorial journalist. She is currently working as an Enrollment Office Assistant at Urbana University and lives in Urbana with her husband and their three children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.