A woman with many talents and a big heart

A+woman+with+many+talents+and+a+big+heart

Suzanne Frederickson,(center), with the cast of “Laura.”

Suzanne Frederickson not only helps students with learning disabilities at Rio Hondo’s Disabled Students Programs and Services Center but is also currently directing and designing sets for “Laura” a play that opens Feb.14 at the Whittier Community Theater.

“I really like working with Students,” Frederickson responded when asked about her position here at Rio Hondo. She also loves the people she works with; she says they are fun and crazy and they make each other laugh.

Frederickson is an Alternative Media Specialist; she creates technological resources for students with learning disabilities such as converting students’ learning tools like books and papers into braille, MP3 format, and electronic text.

As a strong believer that using the resources that are available to you is very important, she says, “For students with learning disabilities the benefit of reading and hearing the information is great”. She also thinks that it is not just beneficial for those with disabilities but is also “a universal design,” this method benefits everybody.

Frederickson says her best memory here at Rio that brings her joy is “being able to help these students have equal access to learning tools so they have the same classroom experience as everyone else and see them graduate.”As a long term student of Rio Hondo Community College, she’s become very fond of the school.

Frederickson speaks of the camaraderie here between the student and the staff, like a large extended family. She recalls when the staff used to host a softball game and barbeque. Students were encouraged to enjoy the festivities with the faculty.

Before she found herself as a specialist here at Rio Hondo she was working in a grocery store, attending classes at Cal State Long Beach, and taking 23 units at RHC, this resulted in 55 hour weeks. However, as she started to work at Rio that all changed, “it didn’t feel like I was going to a job to work anymore, it felt like I was going to have fun,” she says.

Frederickson’s loyalty to this school reflects in her history here, as she has held multiple positions in other departments throughout the years here at the school. They include Business Lab, Communication Department, and IT Department.

Frederickson has been involved with theater for over 50 years. Though she still continues to perform in theater, she focuses mostly on the technical aspects of theater. Those duties are apart of the sound department, writing, directing, and producing.

As of now, she adds yet another technical part of theater resume. For the last five years, Frederickson has designed sets for plays. Frederickson explains how being involved with set designing has become a new way for her channel and further develop her creativity.

She has also been instrumental in the improvement of the aesthetic of sets by replacing many of the muslin flats by building new ply-board flats. Suzanne’s brother Mark Frederickson has also been active in assisting her with the creative process. “Laura” is the fourth play Frederickson has directed.

Usually directing comedies, she expressed her concern of directing her first drama, “Comedy is fast and Drama is slow, you don’t want the drama to be too slow though but at the same time you don’t want it to be too fast.”

Frederickson explains that John Francis, who teaches Journalism at Rio, is “cool” and has been one of her biggest influences as a director and producer. She says she picked up his style when she had the opportunity to assist him in directing and producing in some theater productions.

Movies from the 1930s and 1940s are the source of her inspiration when choosing plays. Though she always strives to have the play replicate the movie as much as possible, “Laura” is a different story. This time around Frederickson aims to further develop the characters with an in depth character study.

Frederickson has a sense of humor, is hardworking, and a dedicated person. Her motto in life is “Just go out there and have fun,” which she usually tells to her actors, but in this case she adds “but not too much fun” since “Laura” is a drama. The cast includes Steven Sullivan, Norman Dostal, Jay Miramontes, Kieran Flanagan, Candy Beck, Julie Breihan, Amy Anderson, and John Francis.