What led you to apply to and subsequently choose Southwestern? My grandfather first recommended that I consider Southwestern. When I visited, I fell in love with the campus. Although I applied to a number of Universities, I loved the size of SU and the ideals of a liberal arts college. I received both a Cody Scholarship and an Art Scholarship; that sealed the deal for me.

Has your reason for coming here been confirmed in the past four years? If so, how or why? I think I could have had a great college experience in a number of places, but if I could do it over again, I would pick SU every time. I can’t imagine my life without the incredible friendships I formed here. My professors encouraged me to take risks and supported my independent projects. SU was an amazing environment in which to learn, grow and ask questions.

What is one suggestion or piece of advice you have for prospective students? College is what you make it. Test the water, join organizations until you figure out what is important to you.  Surround yourself with people who are a positive influence on your journey, and don’t waste your time on people who hold you back.

What’s one (non-academic) thing you learned as an SU student? Everything that you learn outside of the classroom is equally as important as the things you study in class. You learn how to cooperate with others, how to be a leader, how to run and organize events, how to communicate effectively, and how to take of yourself.

What will you miss most about your time at SU? I’m going to miss being surrounded by a community of sharp, caring people.

What was your crowning achievement at Southwestern? My crowning achievement was putting together a photography and mix-media exhibition that shared the stories of the boys and girls whom I had the opportunity to work with as an intern at a grassroots organization in rural Thailand. After the incredible experience I had in Thailand, I had to do something to keep spreading awareness about poverty and its ancillary issues and report on the effective, sustainable efforts of the organization “Warm Heart” to combat the cycle of poverty in the Phrao region of Thailand.  The exhibition was my way of doing that; I raised $2,312 through a Kickstarter Campaign to make it possible.  

Did you have a favorite SU faculty or staff member? If so, who and why? So many of the faculty and staff here have been wonderfully supportive of me as an individual. I’m grateful to Mary Visser (professor of art) for believing that I could accomplish whatever I put my mind to, giving me the space I needed to create, and guiding me as I put together my exhibit.  

What connections do you have with your fellow Senior Stories nominees? I had a French class with Bayoan Santiago-Calderon. Nathan Tuttle and I both worked for the Office of Admission. Lilly Duarte and I were in the same Intro to Anthropology class our first semester and had weight training together. And, Joey Kyle and I have similar social justice and environmental interests.