Senior Admissions Fellow
Why I wanted to become a Senior Fellow
Carrying my suitcases, twin XL sheets, and snow boots on freshman move-in day, I never thought I would come to call Middlebury my home. It is hard to know what to expect before coming to college. As a senior admissions fellow, I hope to help ease the college application process as you navigate the transition from high school to college.
What I did this summer
This summer, I worked with the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC. In my free time, I ate a lot of frozen yogurt and lived in the National Gallery.
What my college search was like
Choosing a college is like picking from a dessert tray- all the options are enticing and it’s hard to know which one is right. I drove up to Middlebury in the middle of a snowstorm. As my family and I shivered across campus on our tour, I couldn’t help but to fall in love with the prospect of finding a new home nestled between the Adirondack and Green Mountains. What excited me most about Middlebury was the liberal arts curriculum – I wouldn’t have to narrow down my interests too quickly and I could get a taste of many different subject. Throw in a beautiful organic garden, 600 passionate first-years, and unlimited quantities of maple cream cheese and I was hooked.
Life at Middlebury
Biggest challenge in transitioning to college
Leaving home! After attending the school for sixteen years, I was simultaneously eager and terrified to create a new community in college. My graduating class size was forty girls, many of whom I knew since kindergarten. At Middlebury, there were forty girls simply on my first-year hall! Therefore the idea of a “small” liberal arts college seemed pretty large to me. Luckily, the Commons System helps create more connected pockets of community for first-years. After a few weeks, I knew everyone’s name on my hall, after a few more, I knew almost everyone in my building and made a few friends in classes. Middlebury no longer feels “large” to me, but I still find myself making new friends as a senior.
Greatest surprise or least expected aspect of life at Middlebury
The contagious spirit of our student body! I am constantly in awe of my friends, both inside the classroom as well as out. This commitment to our own intellectual growth would be impressive enough, but I think what distinguishes most students in a classroom, dining hall, dorms, or on the field is our deep commitment to each other’s personal growth. I’ve found an unbelievably supportive group of friends who continually inspire and empower one another. I never expected to find such remarkable friends.
Choosing a major
Coming into Middlebury, I knew I wanted to major in some aspect of Environmental Studies. The program has 13 foci – from “Environmental Architecture” to “Human Ecology.” My sophomore J-term class was Conservation Biology. The first day we read the fundamental writing on the subject, a 1985 piece by Michael Soule, in which he writes: “Conservation biology is often a crisis disciple...In crisis disciplines, one must act before knowing all the facts; crisis disciplines are thus a mixture of science and art, and their pursuit requires intuition as well as information... Tolerating uncertainty is often necessary.” I fell in love with the idea of performing science – the process of inquiry, experimentation, and observation – as well as working to conserve habitat and species for future generations.
Favorite Class or Professor
Comparative Vertebrate Biology with Steve Trombulak. In our class discussions, we traced the phylogeny, anatomy, physiology and ecology of vertebrates, from Agnatha (jawless fish) to Mammalia (mammals). In lab, we dissected a dogfish shark and a cat, learning the names, locations, functions, and systems, as well as the evolutionary homologies. It was no doubt the hardest class I’ve had thus far at Middlebury (I spent many a night hunched over formaldehyde-injected specimens), but surely the most rewarding.
Favorite Vermont-based activity
Tapping maple trees and boiling sap for syrup. Watching the political theatre troupe Bread and Puppet. Driving by the camel on Route 7. Visiting the Robert Frost cabin at Breadloaf. Pressing apples for cider. Hiking the Long Trail. Eating creemees in Bristol.
Favorite winter activity
Covering myself with every hat and scarf I own, grabbing some friends, and sledding down the hill from Mead Chapel. Returning back to our rooms, putting on wool socks and sitting by a fireplace with a good book.
Favorite spot off campus
Favorite dining hall concoction
Anything with maple syrup: maple cream cheese, maple-smoked bacon, carrot cake with maple cream cheese icing, maple walnut muffins, maple oatmeal… you name it!
How have you changed in the course of your time at Middlebury?
I think my time at Middlebury has instilled a deeper sense of the word “community,” one that transcends being a responsible roommate by taking out the trash or a hardworking partner on a group project. At Middlebury, I’ve learned that community is not just something you are “a part of,” but a process that you actively create. This type of participation is both a challenge as well as an amazing opportunity – if there is something you want to see happen here, or a change you want to help make, there is the support and enthusiasm to make it happen. After three years at Middlebury, I think I’ve learned how to create, not simply be a part.
One thing every Middkid should do before they graduate
Walk out to the Middlebury garden and watch the sunset with some friends and a picnic basket.