Arianna smiling

Ariana Sy ’25, an Acting for the Stage and Screen major and psychology minor, has found ways to pursue her creativity with Azusa Pacific University's God First motto in mind.

Sy is originally from Washington but lived in Dallas for eight years before starting college. She knew she wanted to attend a private Christian university. Sy first heard about APU when she watched alumna Jessica Cabral on American Idol in 2016. Sy attended an APU preview weekend where she stayed overnight in Trinity Hall with an acting student. She toured campus, sat in on classes, and enjoyed watching students perform Romeo and Juliet. “I fell in love with the school,” Sy said. “This place is beautiful, and I immediately felt connected to it.”

APU’s acting program appealed to Sy because of its faith integration component. “I love storytelling and connecting with people, but I wanted to pursue it in a place where I could live out my faith,” she said.

“APU is so special because I can talk about God, the Holy Spirit, and how faith is an essential part of my passion for acting.”

In 2017, Sy was involved in a car crash that changed her perspective on religion. “I’ve always been a Christian, but it felt like a miracle that I survived that accident,” she said. “Since then, I’ve paid closer attention to how God is moving in my life.”

Sy’s college experience has helped her grow as a person. “APU has helped me learn more about my faith,” she said. “Through theater, I’ve learned to be empathetic and how to love others. I’m more patient, kind, and understanding. Acting is not only about training actors, it’s about cultivating caring individuals.” Last semester, Sy played Mary Debenham in APU’s production of Murder on the Orient Express. This was her first time in a prominent role. “As an actor, there’s nothing greater than being on stage and having that time to work with your castmates.” APU’s acting program utilizes a system of cohorts that keep groups of 20 students together for all four years. “I love my cohort. Entering into our senior year to grow as people and actors together is so special.”

Sy began leading worship at her church in middle school. She expresses her creativity and faith as part of the chapel band. “It’s such a blessing to have this opportunity on campus. It’s fun to worship with my friends and be able to create consistently,” she said. Sy is excited to perform in the APU Industry Spotlight held at Warner Brothers Studios as a senior. This showcase is an opportunity for APU seniors to demonstrate their talents for industry agents. She aims to impress an agent who will help her navigate the beginning of her acting career. After graduation, Sy plans to stay in Los Angeles with her friends from APU. Following her acting career, she plans to pursue a masters in psychology to open her own private practice where she can work with child actors. She is also interested in pursuing music on the side.

As an actor, Sy shared inspiration with prospective artists. “If you want to pursue art during your college experience, APU has a supportive community that values faith, personal growth, your artistic talent, and you as a person,” she said. “This is an amazing place for you. I’ve found such a caring community of people here.”