Student Spotlight

Combining dance and science

At first glance, dance and science have nothing to do with one another. Yet Alannah Templon of Wichita, Kansas, has found ways to combine them.

“I have always loved dance and have always loved science,” she said. “Those are my two passions. One is more fun where the other I will make a career out of.”

Templon started dancing at the tender age of three and hasn’t stopped since.

“I remember the first time I danced. My parents were trying to make me dance, but all I really wanted to do was take off my tutu, which was scandalous in a three-year-old ballet class,” Templon said with a laugh. 

At OSU, Templon has been a part of the OSU Dance Company and also the OSU Tap Company. She has even served as president of the OSU Dance Company for the last two years. 

In terms of her major, it hasn’t been a clear-cut path. Templon started as a plant biology major before switching to microbiology and then zoology. She finally ended up as a biology major. 

“I am in biology with a focus in allied health, sociology with a focus in anthropology, and a dance minor. It’s a long title, but it’s great,” Templon said. 

Even though her major might have jumped around, her long-term goals haven’t. 

“I really want to be a professor of biological anthropology. I am fascinated by the development of humans and how we came to be,” she said. 

Finding ways to study human development has led Templon to work in two different labs. She helps in Dr. Mary Towner’s Lab looking at how migration patterns effected the number of children born to indigenous women by using the 1910 Oklahoma census. She also travels to OU once a week to conduct research on migration patterns of indigenous women within California during the Late Holocene Period. All of her research has led to a fascination with maternal health. 

“I want to be able to teach others about it, but I also want to be able to do my own research and look further into things that fascinate me. I really am just fascinated by how maternal health can be affected by things like tragedy, migration and even natural disaster,” Templon said. 

Being involved on campus was a huge priority when she started at OSU and continues to be a driving force in her life. She joined the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council last spring and was elected Activities Vice-Chair shortly after that. This fall she helped plan the annual Autumn Arts Gala. Not only did she plan the event, but she also opened the show by performing with the OSU Dance Company. She also won a scholarship for a solo dance performance. 

“It was super fun to plan. I love planning things. It was really stressful, especially getting everything turned in. Yet the day of was just great,” she said. 

With being so involved, Templon struggles with finding balance between overworking herself and wanting to constantly do more. 

“The stress of school and the expectations that you put on yourself and others put on you of how well you need to do, how much you need to study, how much you need to be involved, can be very stressful for a college student. I try my best to take breaks and not think about it sometimes. You have to. You have to take breaks or you will go insane,” Templon said. 

One way that she maintains that balance is her passion for dance, specifically ballet. 

“When life is wild and crazy and unpredictable, it is nice to have something to go back to that is very technical and standard,” she said. 

She also stresses the importance of remembering that you don’t always have to have everything together. 

“None of us know what we are doing. Nobody does. I act like I know, but I don’t. Maybe one day when I am retired I will know… but probably not and that is OK.”