In each issue of this newsletter, we profile one of the many student assistants who help make the Middlebury Libraries run smoothly. This issue features Vanessa Dikuyama, a first-year student who works in Davis Family Library Collection Management helping with materials processing.
Vanessa came to Middlebury from Medellín, Colombia, after attending United World College in India. I asked her what brought her here from such a distance, and whether the ruralness of Vermont gave her pause. She replied, “I applied to college during my gap year and, not knowing where to start, I followed a friend’s advice that I should look for schools in Vermont. I found out about Middlebury in particular through a classmate who was already here and who said great things about it. I decided it was a good fit: a good student body size, beautiful campus, small town environment and international student friendly.”
As an architecture major with a particular interest in environmentally sound design, Vanessa has always enjoyed art, and her major allows her to explore that interest in a tangible way. Her interest in architecture specifically was sparked when she was traveling through Colombia and learned about guadua, a type of bamboo used widely throughout the country as a material for building low-cost housing. Vanessa realized then that architecture, the environment, and social change could all come together in a concrete way.
Regarding her work as a student assistant in Davis, Vanessa enjoys the fact that the library is a pleasant place to work, and that she is not out in a public service position. “I can work in my own ‘bubble’ and keep busy. It takes me out of my routine. I can listen to music, and I also get to see the variety of new books and materials that come through the library as soon as we receive them.”
When not occupied with school or work, Vannessa likes to dance (she danced in the fall dance show last year and over spring break participated in “Movement Exchange,” teaching and taking dance classes in a dance ambassadorship program located in Panama). She also enjoys hiking, gardening, cooking and having friends over for dinners, and travel, specifically mentioning Ladakh, a region in Northern India, as one of the favorite places she’s visited. “I like the landscape. It’s a beautiful place, a cold desert in the Himalayas, with patches of green made lush from irrigation. There are a lot of Buddhists there and the people are very nice. Unfortunately, I think the outside influences there have been more negative than positive.” She also hopes to spend her junior year traveling abroad, perhaps in France or Denmark.
When I asked her about her plans after Middlebury, she indicated that grad school was a likely possibility, especially if she wanted a career in architecture. But, she noted, “I’m staying open to possibilities!”