'I value building spaces where people can find good and safe company'

Naiara Bezerra-Gastesi

History and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Wellington, Fla.

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

I learned how to examine texts and connect them to each other, how to use the archive, and how everyday experiences fit into academia. 

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was Derek Chang's Jim Crow and the Exclusion Era in America. It changed my perspective on what useful and good comparative histories were and taught me so much. I also loved Professor Chang's teaching style and all the texts we read in the class. 

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

I am really involved in LGBTQ+ community building and sexual violence prevention on campus. I really value building spaces where people can relate to one another and find good and safe company. I also value a campus that is safe for all and where consent is continuously expected. 

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

I was not a very confident student when I got to Cornell and I felt that many of my classmates were ahead of me because of their high school education. But now I am much more confident of my academic work and perspectives.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Take classes that excite and engage you! This is your time to choose what you are interested in. 

Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2021.

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Naiara Bezerra-Gastesi