Hometown: Briarcliff Manor, NY
High school: Briarcliff Manor High School
Activities: Admissions Tour Guide Coordinator, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Student Worker, CCSRE (Center For Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity) Intern, Research for the American Studies Department under Professor Burch, Men’s Club Volleyball, Tavern (Omega Alpha) (Social House, not fraternity)
Study abroad: Havana, Cuba (Fall 2011)
Why did you choose Middlebury?
Besides the fact that my favorite teacher in high school was a Midd Alum (who basically gave me no choice, but to come), I knew I wanted a school with a strong language program, had a campus distinct from any sort of town or urban environment, and a place that felt like what I conceived as the quintessential “college.” Middlebury was the first school that I came to visit and I immediately fell in love with the campus and incredible opportunities afforded to students. I also reasoned that going to Middlebury would provide me with the opportunity to go to school in Vermont and experience a part of the country I may not otherwise have.
Why/How did you choose your major?
I’ve always been interested in politics and how governments shape the world. Initially I wanted to do international studies with a concentration in political science, but found myself really gravitating towards my classes in the political science department and knew I would go abroad regardless of whether or not it was a required component of my major. Professor Carmola’s Intro to Political Philosophy really sold me.
What was your biggest challenge transitioning into the college atmosphere?
To be completely honest, my experience transitioning to Middlebury was incredibly smooth. Emotionally and academically, I think I was just at the right time of my life to begin life at a 4-year residential college. Walking everywhere rather than having to take a bus or car was definitely a nice transition though. Vermont is the best place to be a pedestrian!
What’s your fondest memory of Midd?
So many to choose from! During Freshman year my entire hall (Stewart 4) used our funds set aside by the college for floor activities to go to the Farmer’s Diner in town for dinner. Dinner over milkshakes was the perfect way to get to know my hallmates in the beginning of the year, most of whom I’m still very close with.
Favorite class/Professor and why?
Again, I could really pick any of my classes that I’ve taken here, but if I have to choose just one it would be Intro to Disability Studies with Susan Burch. Professor Burch is a must-take professor at Middlebury and someone who has honestly changed my life. Her course was a CW (College Writing) and from the first day during which she began class by asking “who’s not here, who can’t be here?” I knew that the course would challenge the way I think about not only disability and access, but taught me to observe my structural as well as cultural environment through a new lens – one which I haven’t been able to turn off ever since!
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to read and to cook (read also: bake). When school isn’t in session I have a running list of classic novels and great works of literature, which, despite the fact that it seems to be growing at a rate faster than I can read, is something I love to do. Last summer while doing an internship in Washington D.C., a housemate and good friend started to teach me how to cook and bake all these really amazing dishes. My first was a strawberry short cake with hand-whipped whipped cream. After studying abroad in Havana last fall, I would say my signature dish is torreja, a Cuban version of French toast, which is served cold as a dessert. Delicious!
If you were a Disney character, who would you be and why?
Without a doubt I’d be Mushu from Mulan, partially because I’ve always wanted to breathe fire, but more so because I hope that my advice (preferably less hazardous than his in the movie) has helped friends and families over the years. Plus, who wouldn’t want a lucky cricket as their friend?
One piece of advice you would give prospective students in the admissions process?
If there is anything I can tell prospective student it’s be yourself in the application process. While it isn’t a perfect medium through which to convey your life up until college by any means, don’t engage in activities or take classes that you think look good. Don’t stress yourself out with an extra AP or IB course because you think colleges will like it. Of course I don’t mean to suggest that you should not challenge yourself in high school or before coming to college, but a lot of the admissions process is defining who you are as an individual, as a student, an athlete, a musician, a family member, what have you. I guess I would just say don’t let the hype and pressure surrounding what colleges expect from you compromise those more fundamental facets of who you are.