Education Without Boundaries
Rosalind Wills immediately presents herself as a young woman who knows what interests her and how to make things happen.
She wanted to interact with other people who share her love of Star Trek, so she started overseeing text-based, role-playing games centered around the TV show. The one-hour games are held in a chat room where players create their own personas and interact with one another and respond to different situations and problems that are presented by Wills, who is running the story line and playing the character who is in command.
“It’s highly geeky, but for a certain type of person, it is highly enjoyable,” she says. “The games are really for someone who enjoys the mental exercise of writing and improvisational acting rolled into one.”
Wills is an avid music appreciator who sings “a lot anywhere and as loud as possible;” plays proficient violin, drums, and other percussion; and “diddles around” on the guitar and piano. In high school she helped found a percussion ensemble and had some early success in writing music for the members to perform, including a Stomp-style piece using trash cans and a percussion score for a production of Macbeth.
So when she finished writing a five-minute percussion ensemble piece for 12 instruments, which took her about a year, she contacted a small publisher of percussion ensemble arrangements in Texas to see if they would be willing to help her distribute the work. After months of back and forth, the company agreed to publish Wills’ piece, and she has even started receiving royalty checks.
She recently has become interested in Web design, so she went ahead and set up her own business, Solaera Web Design. Wills is starting to get some business coming in, including her first paying client, which she landed through a connection she made in one of her online communities.
“I am now doing a Web site for an appliance installer in Canada. I have the most random portfolio ever,” she says.
Wills’ self-possession and the poise she shows in seeing things through may seem almost preternatural for a 20-year-old. And she graciously gives Goucher a lot of credit for preparing her to achieve these kinds of successes.
“Goucher is a place that is conducive to helping students navigate this period in their lives where they’re trying to figure things out and what they want, rather than what they’ve experienced so far,” Wills says.
Early in her career at Goucher, Wills’ eyes were opened to a whole new course of study and potential careers. “I came in thinking I was going to be an actor, and I’m leaving thinking I’ll be a software developer,” she says.
Initially it was Goucher’s strong theater department that drew Wills to Goucher, and during her freshman year, she appeared in some on-campus productions. It was a computer science class she took to fulfill her general education requirements that has changed her outlook and edged out any free time she used to have to pursue acting.
While still sticking with her intention to major in English, Wills has also decided to pursue a minor in computer science — albeit a little later in her academic career than she would have preferred. She will wind up doing most of the coursework in computer science during her senior year.
On her own, Wills has been doing a lot of work in computer science, such as teaching herself Web programming. She also landed a hands-on internship in Goucher’s Office of Communications. She works very closely with the college’s Webmaster, who “has been willing to pause whatever he’s doing to take time to explain things to me,” Wills says. “I’m learning skills that are really useful now and for the future.”Video of Roz