The Starting Line: A Musical Journey

While Caltech certainly enhanced my scientific curiosity, it was my interests in music and musical theater that found their origins at Caltech. Never having done any musical activities in high school, I was plunged into the annual Caltech musical my sophomore year (Guys and Dolls), getting one of the leads, Nathan Detroit—a surprise given my utter lack of acting experience. But with the help of our exceptional director, Shirley Marneus, and the wonderful support of all the other cast and crew, I had an absolutely and indescribably marvelous time. I then went on to be in the musicals for my following two years at Caltech, as well as joining the Glee Club.

I can honestly say that those experiences in the musicals had as much of an impact on me as my classes. I learned how to focus on the moment, learn from those around me, communicate my thoughts, and assimilate information coming in from multiple places at the same time, as well as how to give of myself emotionally to others. Learning how to effectively communicate my thoughts and feelings in a larger setting has been indispensable to me in my current lectures to students as a professor of cell biology. When I think of the things that helped me to develop at Caltech, I think of my peers, my classes, my professors . . .and the musicals.

—Stan Cohn, BS ’79

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