Was your reason for choosing Southwestern confirmed during your four years on campus? Yes! I formed personal, life-long relationships with students, faculty and staff that had a major influence on who I am and what I believe in. I don’t think you can truly do that anywhere else except at Southwestern.

What would you say if you were talking to a friend about visiting Southwestern? Campus is beautiful. When you visit, I suggest hanging out on the academic mall, trying the food in the Commons, and getting lost in the library.

What would you say if you were talking to a friend about the Southwestern culture? There are a lot of do-ers at Southwestern. Some students stay up late studying because they have procrastinated, but the majority are up late because they are involved in so many things: sports teams, organizations, jobs, volunteering, etc. You would be hard-pressed to find a one-dimensional Southwestern student. In fact, I think that’s an oxymoron.

What is something that surprised you about SU? I was surprised when I got an email from a professor making sure that everything was OK because she noticed that I was not in class. At a bigger school, in a lecture hall with 400 other students, the professor or TA would not know your name, let alone notice that you weren’t in class.

What non-academic thing did you learn as an SU student? I learned that it is important to be present in every moment. It’s natural, especially for involved college students, to be elsewhere in our minds – thinking about plans, to-do lists, emails, etc. – but there is tremendous value to being in the “now” and in engaging face-to-face with brilliant peers and professors.

How did Southwestern help you grow as a leader? As a member of Student Congress, I had many opportunities to serve on University councils and committees with faculty and staff. Students truly have a say in University governance; to be treated as a peer in those contexts was empowering.

What was your most embarrassing moment at SU? And your crowning achievement? My most embarrassing moment was being 30 minutes late to a class because I couldn’t find my shoes. My crowning achievement was presenting my sociology research at two conferences during my senior year.

What else? Study Abroad! I studied abroad in Finland in fall 2012. It was a very memorable experience; I made life-long friends from all over the world and I am still in touch with all of them.

What connections do you have with your fellow Senior Stories nominees? Bayoan Santiago-Calderon and I were suitemates sophomore year and took International Politics together in my senior year. Bree Billingsley was one of the first students I met on Admitted Student Day; she was my research partner on a collaborative research project with two of our sociology professors (Dr. Lowe and Dr. Byron). Paige Duggins and I served on the Diversity Enrichment Committee together. DJ Ayala and I went to high school together and were suitemates our first year. Noah Bierwirth and I were in the same FYS and Living Learning Community in Kurth Hall.