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Student Spotlights

Putting Indianapolis on the national and international stage

Jan. 15, 2013

Cynthia Smith has spent a big part of her life on stages, in musicals, dramas and dance recitals, but her biggest dream now is focused on another stage: the national and international one that Indianapolis events have begun to occupy.

Cynthia Smith

Smith was a member of the 500 Festival Princess program a year ago.

As an event management major in the IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management (PETM), Smith is determined to blaze a career trail that will keep her city firmly in the center of attention for events ranging from the regular (the Indianapolis 500, Colts games) to the rare (Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours).

Smith loves the swirl of activity that surrounds any major event, and the partnerships that make the magic happen. That includes the kind of partnerships that linked PETM with a wide range of activities surrounding Super Bowl XLVI in downtown Indy last winter.

“That’s one of the great things about Indianapolis: everyone -- the community, businesses, IUPUI, everyone -- comes together to put our city in the spotlight,” Smith says. “Our school and our tourism program are a perfect spot for somebody like me, who wants to be part of events that set Indianapolis apart.”

The spotlight is a familiar place for the Center Grove High School graduate, who has been dancing and performing since she was two years old. “My family still laughs because I would dance around while I was eating,” Smith says. By the time she was at Center Grove, she was a regular singer, dancer and actress in school events, and it didn’t take her long to find the IUPUI Moving Company, the campus dance troupe based in PETM.

“The Moving Company was great for me, because I love being on stage and I love being part of a group that shares that feeling,” she says. “To me, it’s like meditation. It’s a way for me to express myself, my feelings, my thoughts, whatever is going on in my life!”

Cynthia Smith dancing

Smith has been a staple in The Moving Company dance troupe throughout her IUPUI career.

Helping stage events has long been a part of her life, since her family has been involved professionally in such big events as the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 for years. Smith herself also has worked at the Kentucky Derby and at Disney World in Florida to help prepare her for the career path she wants.

“The great thing about the tourism and event management program here at IUPUI is all the options that are available, like internships, or events like the Super Bowl or NCAA tournaments, where you experience it all first-hand,” Smith says. “You see the things you’ve learned in class come to life, and help make them happen. And you get to meet a lot of people who share your passion!”


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