Entertainment Technology Student's Bios
Danny Barba is an artist, producer, technician, musician, audio engineer, Eagle Scout, scuba diver, car enthusiast, actor, manager, carpenter, designer and a creator; currently studying Theater Technology and Psychology, and minoring in Business Administration. Before coming to Chapman, Danny spent his youth in San Francisco; performing in, designing and building shows in his high school's theater; playing drums in and recording albums with several jazz, garage and punk bands; camping with his Boy Scout Troop; restoring classic cars; attending rock concerts; traveling across the United States; and anticipating life in sunny southern California. Now a sophomore, he is a member of a social fraternity, he does stagehand work around Los Angeles, and he was awarded A.C.U.E.T. (now U.S.I.T.T.) Freshman of the Year in 2017. Danny has been passionate about two things his entire life: art and technology. He hopes to use his knowledge, skills, talents and intuition to combine them; to create and inspire genuine, innovative ideas that promote forward thinking across societies and cultures around the world.
Aaren Kisner was born in Huntington Beach, California and studied costume design at the Academy of the Performing Arts at Huntington Beach High School. She is currently pursuing a BA in Business Administration with an emphasis in Real Estate and Entrepreneurship and a BA in Theatre Technology. She is currently a work study student at the College of the Performing Arts Costume Shop, where she works as a seamstress. Aaren plans on pursuing a career in real estate, as well as creating her own clothing business. Her passion for creativity and new innovations has led her to continue to pursue artistic ventures throughout her life. She loves the collaboration the Technology for Live Entertainment class offers, and hopes to create visually simulating designs that show off the talented dancers.
Ziad Niazi is a California native living in Tustin. He studied in the Production and Design conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). After graduating in 2013, he attended Fullerton College and received his associate’s degree in Arts and Humanities. While at Fullerton College, he was hired by OCSA as the production coordinator for their premiere performing group MONTAGE and as production support for their performances. In 2016, Mr. Niazi was accepted into Chapman University as a junior transfer to continue his education with the end goal of receiving his Bachelor's in Theatre/Entertainment Technology with a minor in Entrepreneurship. In addition to attending school and working at OCSA, Ziad works as a free-lance audio/lighting technician who helps various production companies such as Goodman Audio and Brite Ideas. His list of professional events includes The Golden Globes, NBC Executive Meetings, The Emmy's, and OCSA's multi-million dollar Gala fundraiser held at Hotel Irvine. Once Mr. Niazi receives his bachelors in 2017, he hopes to receive a job with a large company such as Cirque Du Soleil, Disney, or Universal Studios.
Margot New was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Live Entertainment Technology with a minor in Psychology, class of 2018. Margot’s skills are focused in stage management, lighting and projection. At Chapman University, Margot has stage managed several productions including The Who’s Tommy, Rent, Chapman Celebrates, and American Celebration ‘14 & ‘15. She designed lighting for the Chapman Dance Alliance Fall Show ‘17, Playbox Festival ‘16, and Brown Bag Festival ‘15. Margot has worked at the Musco Center for the Arts for the past year as an assistant stage technician, stage door assistant, and stage manager. Outside of Chapman, Margot has worked at the Tyrolean Opera Program, Artists Repertory Theatre, and Strawberry Festival Amphitheatre. Last summer she participated in the USITT Elite Training Program focusing in stage management. After college Margot hopes to tour and stage manage large productions ranging from theatre, music and dance to the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. Margot would like to thank her family as well as Professors Don and Alicia Guy for providing so much support and many amazing opportunities over her Chapman career.
Garron Rodgers is currently a senior at Chapman University. He is completing a double major with a B.A. in Theatre/Entertainment Technology and a B.S. in Business Administration and plans to work in the themed entertainment industry. Currently, Garron is a Theater Operations intern at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA. Even at a young age growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, Garron has been fascinated with art and technology. He has participated in Chapman University’s Entertainment and Technology Symposium in partnership with Cirque du Soleil and has attended USITT’s 2015 and 2016 Elite Training in the fields of automation and rigging, aspiring to pursue a career in automation and project management. Last summer Garron spent 12 weeks as a Technical Show Support intern with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, NV. When he is not working, he enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends around the world. Garron finds the collaborative process an essential and exciting aspect of every project and is very eager to begin his career in the industry.
Danielle Williams is currently a senior and will be receiving her B.A. in Theatre Technology this May. She grew up in the Bay Area and was involved in theatre since she was seven years old. Throughout her life she solely was a performer until she discovered her love for technical theatre while in an advanced theatre class in high school. She then truly realized the impact that lighting, audio, set, and other elements of design can have on a production. Her specialty is in stage management, but being enamored with many technical elements, she is excited to be designing and working a little outside of her comfort zone to grow and become a more well-rounded artist. She plans to work in theme park entertainment after graduating, and hopes you enjoy the class’s project!
Originating from North East Bay California, Amanda Burtness has been an active theatre and entertainment technician since she was a freshman in highschool at Justin-Siena. Now a sophomore at Chapman University, she is a double major in BA Theatre Technology and BA Audio and Video Design for Live Entertainment. Amanda specializes in audio, lighting, and video, as well as being well rounded in the technical field as a whole. She works at various venues around the area, as well as venues in her hometown of the Bay Area. In the future, Amanda hopes to travel and work with as much as possible in her field, refining her craft in collaboration with various people she works with.
Sam Dyck grew up in sunny Southern California. He is currently a sophomore at Chapman University pursuing a Bachelor’s in Theatre Studies. Although he thought he was only interested in pursuing acting, he grew a fascination with Don Guy’s approach to new age live entertainment design. He has tried to fit in as many essential tech classes as he can and is so excited to be able to collaborate with the tech students and the dancers.
Kayla Pajarito was born and raised in Southern California. Her love for theatre and the technical side of the entertainment industry began while she attended Laguna Hills High School. After graduating high school, she moved on to becoming a Chapman University student where she continues her studies to earn a Bachelor’s in Theatre Technology and a minor degree in Japanese. She is well rounded in her technical skills, but most of her experience comes from audio and stage management. When she’s not working on shows at Chapman University, she can be found working varying positions for the shows at the Chance Theater in Anaheim, CA. In the future, she will continue her work in the field of live entertainment while also hoping to live in Japan or work in the gaming industry.
Keilani Spahn grew up in San Diego, California and participated in theatre since she was a young child. In high school she grew a passion for theatre technology, she continues to pursue her Bachelor’s in Theatre Technology at Chapman University. While focusing on theatre and stage management she is learning how to be a well rounded artist in the entertainment fields. Immersive theatre has become a new experience that Keilani is intrigued in getting involved with. She hopes to promote social, political, and emotional change through the emotion that theatre evokes.
Johnathan Gong grew up on a ranch 3 hours north of Los Angeles. In 2013, he accepted to Chapman University’s prestigious Argyros School of Business. After taking multiple theater technology classes, he realized his passion for theater and the arts. During his junior and senior year of college Johnathan has completed multiple internship in the entertainment and film industries. With work experience from companies such as Untitled Entertainment, 7ate9 Productions and Locktix Visual Effects, he hopes to continue to pursue his dream of producing feature films on Hollywood.
Ian James is a junior BA Theatre Technology student at Chapman University. Ian grew up in Los Gatos, California where he attended Los Gatos High School. Ian currently works at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, CA where he has worked for the last two years developing his skills as a lighting, laser, visual and audio technician for club nights, live bands, theatrical shows and private events. There, Ian has worked his way from Intern to Assistant Manager and has had the privilege of working with many internationally touring electronic music artists including: Skrillex, Nero, Adventure Club and Showtek. Ian also works as an contractor, running lighting, audio and video for everything from dance shows to private parties. Ian hopes to one day be designing stages and venues for music festivals.
Greg Netchaev is a Junior Theater Technologies BA that has been involved with live entertainment since the age 5. He is currently employed at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana where he is involved with the production aspect of the shows there.