Major: American History with a minor in African American Studies
Post-Graduation Plans: I will be attending the University of Connecticut's Master's Program in Higher Education and Student Affairs. While there, I will be a graduate assistant in residential life.
Favorite Class: There are so many to choose from, but the one that had the largest effect on me was a history class taught by my advisor, Professor Ted DeLaney, on the Civil Rights Movement during the Spring Term of my first year. After watching several clips from the Civil Rights Movement and reading amazing, thought-provoking books, I knew that I had found an area that I was passionate about. In fact, this class inspired me to earn my minor in African American Studies, and write my honors thesis on the desegregation of public schools in Roanoke, Virginia.
Favorite W&L Event: Every year, the faculty and administration cook breakfast one night for all students during fall term exam week. It's known as the "Midnight Breakfast," and it is so much fun because it provides a great study-break and a chance to see the faculty and administration having a good time with students. It's also a great time to relax for an hour or two with friends.
Favorite Lexington Landmark: Each year, the Residential Life staff spends an evening at the double-decker pavilion at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista. It's not quite Lexington, but the views are breathtaking and I have always had so much fun getting to know all of the RAs during these trips. Many of my closest friends are RAs, and this is where I first got to know them.
When I came to W&L, I thought I had my life planned out. I wanted to major in Business Administration and then go on to study law in order to become a corporate lawyer. However, I didn't consider how the excellent liberal arts education that W&L offered would change my perspective and bring me new ideas for my future.
I had the luck of being assigned Professor Ted DeLaney from the history department as my academic advisor. I was immediately impressed by his dedication to getting to know each of his advisees. I realized that I wanted to take a class with him. This turned into six classes and I soon discovered that I couldn't ignore an old passion of mine: American history. By my sophomore year, I declared my major in that subject without any hesitation. While taking several courses on the Civil Rights Movement, I found that that period, and the way society changed during it, was so interesting that a minor in African American Studies seemed natural. I enjoyed learning about the subject so much that I even considered becoming a professional historian. I took on research projects and spent an entire summer helping Professor DeLaney research a project on desegregation.
At the same time, I was getting involved with residential life and student affairs as a resident adviser for first-year students. During my first year, I decided to apply for the position since it seemed like a great way to get involved. I knew it would be a long shot, since rising sophomores were rarely hired, but I was one of four hired that year. I have never known an experience more rewarding, or one that helped me to mature, grow and develop as a person. Being an RA also provided me the unique opportunity to become acquainted with the deans in the Office of Student Affairs, particularly Dean Leonard, the dean of first-year students, who became my mentor in the field.
I soon realized that I'd much rather make a career out of working with college students. With Dean Leonard's help, I gained more experience in the area of student affairs. I had the opportunity to work as an intern in the office, and learn about the field I was enjoying more every day. I had found my calling.
I think the reason that I love W&L so much is intertwined with these experiences in the history department and student affairs. I don't think there are many other schools out there where you can spend an entire summer driving around the state of Virginia with your Professor as an undergraduate student, or stop by the dean's office everyday simply to chat. The faculty and administration at W&L have a way of welcoming you into their families, and truly getting to know you as a person. They build a personal interest in your future, and this has immensely enhanced my education, my college experience and my future.