Produced by the Department of Media Relations & Publications

Ruperta Nelson (B.A., '10): From the Stage to Lehman College

June 14, 2010

Ruperta Nelson

Ruperta Nelson traveled a different route to college than most of her classmates. The Iowa City-native was a working actress, traveling the country with national touring companies performing in "Showboat" and "Ragtime" when she decided to go back to school to study history.

In fact, it was due to the research she would often do in preparation for an acting role that helped her decide what to study. "When I was an actor, I found myself enjoying biographies and historical books etc.," says Nelson, who just graduated with a B.A. in history, focusing in European Studies. "I enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed being onstage and so when I wound down my acting career and decided to head to college it seemed the most natural thing to do."

After getting a glowing recommendation from a friend about Lehman College, she came to the Bronx campus to see for herself, and after a few classes she was hooked.

But to Nelson the hardest thing about her four years here was attending school full-time while working in a law firm at night. "I am amazed I got it done in four very short years but my advisors in the history department helped me with a plan of action," says Nelson, who singles out Division of Arts and Humanities Dean and Professor Timoty Alborn—"a wonderful mentor and a great counselor"—with helping her.

For the time being, while Nelson is acting again, keeping busy doing voice work on various projects, she is working and studying for her GREs, while she decides in what subject to pursue her Ph.D. By the fall of 2011, she hopes to be enrolled in a graduate program. "It's either going to be the history of the theatre or theatre history," she says. "One or the other."