Genna BloomBecker: Valedictorian's next dance

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Following graduation, 2015 valedictorian Genna BloomBecker will be joining the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Dance for its Summer Intensive, then jetting off to Israel for a five-month workshop at the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

The dance and environmental studies double major plans to pursue her dreams over the course of the next year, further exploring the creative arts through dance. While her journey will begin on the northern California coast, it will ultimately take Genna back to the Holy Land.

The Santa Cruz, Calif. native visited Israel last summer on an Honors research grant while trying to uncover what kind of psycho-social physical effects war have on individuals and communities, and how dance fits into that context.

"I found that a strong community arises from the hardship," Genna said, "and in my own dance I experienced greater 'flow,' optimal experience, heightened environments... real fulfillment through performance." Genna believes that the turbulent environment surrounding her spurred her growth as a dancer, and she hopes for more of the same upon her return. "The growth I saw while I was in Israel was incredible," she said.

For Genna, who has been dancing since she was two and half years old, Loyola Marymount University was the perfect college choice. She was drawn to LMU's dance program, but came to quickly admire the ideals of a Jesuit education.

"My experience at LMU has been absolutely wonderful," Genna said. "I've been able to grow so immensely, not only as a performer, but as a person."

Additionally, Genna found that LMU offered the opportunity to create her own academic experience. Even though the university only technically offers environmental studies as a minor, she was able to create her own second major through the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (BCLA) Individualized Studies Program.

Genna has also been active in the Ignatian Service Organization, is a founding member of Oxfam Club, served on ASLMU's Board of Environmental Responsibility and even spent a semester studying abroad in the South of France.

Looking ahead, Genna is setting her sights on dance, while enjoying the coming year. Realizing the challenges that come with professional dance, she added, "I am also interested in the possibility of pursing a graduate degree or Ph.D. in social psychology."

As for what advice she might have for incoming Lions:

"Explore every interest you have because you never know which will blossom," Genna said. "And if you are committed to social justice and just change overall, don't get discouraged by the breadth of problems in the world, just hone in on your passion and follow that."