October's Featured Student: Zoya Martin '20

Written by Regina Ender

When Zoya Martin is on stage, she feels her work has both a societal and spiritual impact on the audience. She sees performing as a mirror of culture, highlighting the highs and lows of humankind. When acting is done well, she believes it glorifies God and brings him praise. By pursuing her degree in Acting for the Stage and Screen with a minor in Sociology, Martin hopes to challenge, uplift, and inspire viewers’ beliefs through performances in plays, films, and television shows.

Just recently, Martin has landed herself a leading role in professional performance. Through Chance Theater in Anaheim, she we play Harriet Smith in Jane Austen’s “Emma.” The character is Emma’s kind-but-flighty friend who spends much of the play consumed with the idea of getting married. Martin said she is excited to take on the role and perform alongside other talented professional actors in an established theater company.

Martin came to APU as a sophomore transfer student and dove right into the department. The professors have truly ignited her passion for performance, encouraging her to take on roles in shows on and off campus. Last spring, students who performed in APU’s rendition of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” were given the opportunity to work alongside renowned artistic director Oanh Nguyen of Chance Theater, which Martin said really challenged and grew her as an actress. Her performance in the play later earned Martin an Irene Ryan Acting Award nomination from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Also during her spring semester, Martin said she became a better actress from being in Professor Kirsten Humer’s Shakespeare acting class. She concluded the semester with a scene from “Twelfth Night” for her final, which she said showcased her improvement throughout course.

When she is not performing, Martin loves spending time in her community. She is an active member of her worship team at North Hills Church in Brea. Martin has also seized volunteer opportunities and has served at Joni and Friends camp, where she mentored and spent time with youth with disabilities.

Words of Wisdom: “Hard work is the key to furthering our education. It is important to apply yourself in all of your classes. Without dedication to the craft or field you are pursuing, there is no point in attending higher education. Be motivated and dedicated to be excellent in whatever you do.”

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