As an instructor Jennifer allows her students to explore the boundaries of their abilities. She doesn't let them say "I can't do that" without trying. She also allows her students to learn from their mistakes and helps them to improve. As a director Jennifer creates ensembles that grow and truly trust each other. She allows her actors to create in a safe and fun environment. It's a talent incubator!
--Nick Stella(student, actor)
Jenn Sass could very well be my favorite director of all time. She knows just how to incorporate the talent with the technical and bring her own colorful vision to the table. Like a good general she knows how to listen and consider the various insights of her cast and crew before making decisions. My favorite part about working with her is that she gave me freedom to make choices as an actor and try new things and when something didn't work she let me know or steered me in the right direction without stepping on my actor toes. I feel her background as an actor lends itself to this talent and understanding. Furthermore, off the set she is kind, cordial and an encouraging person to be around. I miss working with her.
--Joe Heil (actor)
I would say that Jennifer taught me how to "let go" and be free of inhibitions. Jennifer taught me that I had a natural talent for theatre and if I just give myself permission to be great that I could be. I learned, from you, that I am capable.
--Alicia Olgelsby (student)
As an instructor Jennifer does actually care whether her students will pass and learn the essentials, if they are struggling she are willing to work to ensure their understanding of the material at hand. Her office was almost always open for help and guidance.
As a director Jennifer united the ensemble towards the understood goal of the show working both as a group and individually to attain the polished piece of art on stage
--Colin Cahill (student, actor)
I think Jennifer is an excellent instructor. She makes sure all students understand what is going on in the class and she are concerned about the well being of her students. And she always give second chances on assignments
--Leanna Elkins (student)
Jennifer presents the course subjects in many ways for maximum retention by students. She makes sure that the students understand what she teaches before she moves on.
--Holly Day Walters (student)
Jennifer creates an important dialogue in your classes that turn the course into a conversation in addition to a lecture.
--Robert McRea (student, designer)
Jennifer was always available for us, even outside of class or a play that we were all working on. I knew that I could always discuss something with her, no matter when and where. I know how precious time is, and I always appreciated her giving us hers!
--Marissa Rivera (student)
As an overall teacher Jennifer was wonderful. She has an obvious and deep love of her craft and it is easily seen by others. With the subject she teaches she is able to build a special bond with her students. It is rare in the profession of teaching (and often out right discouraged) to actually be friends with your students. It is this bind that helped make her class so special and particularly enjoyable. She inspires her students to think outside of what they are comfortable and she always had something positive to say to uplift then if they fell flat (which we did. Often).
--Elizabeth Huggins Troy (student)
Jennifer makes it nearly impossible to fail because she explains everything several ways - for auditory learners, visual learners, and for hands-on learners. She was always available for outside assistance and she’d make learning fun and interactive. She’s sneaky- we almost didn't know we were learning! She takes a personal interest in her students’ lives and she was there if they needed someone to confide in. She gave constructive criticism so we could be the best at whatever it was that we were doing. She truly appreciated the individuality of each student and applauded whatever spin we put on our intro-version of some of the greatest plays.
--Kara Ottervanger (student)
As a director Jennifer was patient, kind, and nurturing. She has a knack for pulling out the best in you, even when you were scared to try. She inspired me to try harder. And of course she's a beautiful human being. She persuaded me that yoga is not the devil
--Ashley Collins (actor)
Jennifer inspires you to want to do well. She is patient and demanding at the same time. She is consistent and organized and will laugh with you on your way to success
--Sofia Roma (student)
I'll never forget that Jennifer was there for me when other grownups weren't. She invested in my future at a time when I really needed it. Now that I am supposedly a grownup, I try to be as caring and compassionate as she was (and still is!)
--Caitlin Brown (student, actor)
I would definitely say I found Jennifer challenging as a teacher. I found most of college to be ridiculously easy. I rarely had to stretch myself or take any risks outside of my performance/directing classes. Jennifer was completely engaged and focused the ENTIRE time. She asks questions that most people don't think about or won't ask; gives criticism and praise across the board without picking favorites. I think I learned to trust my instincts in her class.
--Courtney Smith (student)
Jennifer has an amazing ability to create a safe area, not just in a classroom, but in a work space and in personal life as well. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only student who feels like they can tell or ask her about almost anything. She’s kindhearted and always willing to help whenever she can.
As a director, Jennifer creates this fantastic sense of ensemble. She can take individual actors and help them mold into a single cohesive unit. It's amazing to watch, and really fun to be a part of!
--Mary Givens (student/actor)
Jennifer leads with compassion, and focuses on making sure everyone is telling the same story. She starts with clear objectives, arcs, and messages, and works from there.
--Tybee Disken (actor)
Jennifer is able to find talent and creativity in people that they never knew they had. She is able to lead with confidence, trust her instincts, and create amazing ensembles out of complete strangers. I LOVE working with her!!!
--Rachel Rippey (student/assistant director)
Jennifer is contagiously passionate about what she does. She causes others around her to want to be better, not just at the art of Theatre and learning to perform with a professional level of work ethic, but also in the lifestyle in which we chose to live. Through understanding and genuinely caring about me, Jennifer changed my life. Because of her encouragement and advice I am healthier than I have been in 10 years. She is the only professor I have ever known that truly cares about the people that come into her life through teaching and directing. We are not just a number or just another student in her class, we are her friends and family and she invests herself in our lives! She is fun and has an engaging and exciting teaching style while also stressing the importance of focus and hard work.
--Jarilyn Lowery (student/actor)
Jennifer is a very passionate, innovative, and caring teacher. Not only is she always available for classroom help, she is also available for life advice. She listens to every student’s opinion and offers her own insights on topics. As students, we could feel her passion for theatre and it made us ever more passionate
--Ashley Bearden (student)
One of Jennifer's greatest strengths is something that changes every time you work with her: she knows how to create a productive harmony from all the energies, personalities, and ideas in the rehearsal room. As a director, she has a way of recognizing, connecting, and unifying the demands and opportunities in a script with the abilities and impulses of her actors.
Jennifer is a bright, intuitive, and exciting person to work with. I recommend her highly.
--Steve Smith (actor)
As a director, Jennifer has a sense of spontaneity, but a thorough methodology in her approach to her work. A very talented and experienced actress herself, she understands the actor process and she is able to patiently and insightfully guide her actors to achieve their best. Her productions are always carefully researched and her rehearsals are disciplined and spirited. After detailed research, she comes to a keen understanding of the concept of production that she is out to achieve and she collaborates diligently with designers and technicians toward the realization of her vision. Her productions always reflect a keen intelligence and a lively spirit of ensemble.
former Artistic Director Alliance Theatre
Head, M.F.A. Graduate Directing Program Florida State University
Jennifer's strong instincts for storytelling were enhanced [at FSU] by enthusiastic embrace of craft along with an intellectual and artistic hunger to explore various methodologies in teaching acting, movement, and voice. I have seen Jennifer’s work as an actor and as a director: she is exceptionally strong in both disciplines. I hope I have made myself clear: she has synthesized substantial talent with exceptional skills, resulting in onstage storytelling that is clear, compelling, powerful, and above all theatrical: truth more than reality.
--Guy William Molnar
Assistant Professor of Acting and Musical Theatre
Coastal Carolina University
As an Executive Director of Joy of Motion Dance Center, I have had the privilege of working with 100's of talented individuals in the world of dance and arts education. Jennifer Sassaman is a thoughtful and caring educator who has a deep understanding and awareness of her craft and the ability to communicate and teach its foundations and nuances expertly. I have found her to be extremely dependable and hard working as well as someone focused on the achievement of excellence but mindful of the personal best many must look to as their goal. Jennifer is also someone who is a joy to work with, fun loving and excited by the great things life brings. I can think of no one else who holds so many great characteristics.
--Douglas E. Yeuell
Executive Director of Joy of Motion Dance Center
Jennifer is without a doubt one of the most promising young persons in the theatre I have ever come across. Aside from a true passion for the medium she is endowed with a keen intelligence, a deeply inquiring mind, maturity and the basic, innate talent to profit from it all. She shows profound attention to detail and a knack to discern its relative importance, she has the ability to foresee and disperse problems before they become an issue, is a serious reader and researcher and has a great facility for synthesis and application of collected material.
She will be of those rare directors interested in the world who intends the exercise of her art and craft to have an impact not limited to the reduced circumference of what we now lamentably call “show business”. Finally, she is the hardest worker I know.
Professor Sassaman is an inspiring teacher and mentor. Her students adore her and work diligently in her classes and productions. The results of her hard work were made evident in her fabulous productions of Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
As a colleague Professor Sassaman is highly respected and well liked. Her hard work is appreciated and her passion for teaching endears her to her peers.
It has been a pleasure to know and work with Jennifer Sassaman. She is a well rounded, highly intelligent, and talented director and teacher. She has a strong background in professional directing and musical theater. I give her my highest recommendation.
--Michael Hix, D.M.
Assistant Professor of Voical Studies
University of New Mexico