What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
I got the lead role of Ella in Eugene O'Neills' play, "All God's Chilluns Got Wings" after being so nervous to audition and actually invest all of that time into a character so different from myself. I wanted to show my friends and family what I could do, and the whole experience, especially working with the fantastic director Godfrey Simmons, profoundly impacted me.
What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?
This semester I wrote, directed, acted, and edited a short film about Greek life and gender, and filmed it with my sorority. It was really an amazing, exhausting experience, and I was so proud of my friends for putting in the time to be extras in my film. I'm also proud of receiving the Heermans-McCalmon Award for my short screenplay. I got my work critiqued by a professional writer, and got to see my script be made into a short film by the performing & media arts department.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
Two professors come to mind: I took a risk and took a class in Middle English called Piers Plowman with Professor Andrew Galloway with about six other graduate students. I felt very behind, naturally, but Professor Galloway always was by my side and believed in my ability to keep up and spent hours with me talking through the text. He honestly made a 14th century book one of my favorite reads of all time. Professor Michael Koch influenced me the most from a writing perspective. He'd sit in his green vest and just stare until you squirmed out a response about your work. He never judged, but rather examined each writing piece with such care that it made me feel like my writing was actually worthy of his time. He spoke with me personally about graduate writing programs, encouraged me to apply and exposed me to short story works that inspired me to write and submit my own short stories, one of which was recently published in "Rainy Day."
What do you value about your liberal arts education?
I definitely value the fact that I was so encouraged to take different classes. As a freshman, I felt frustrated that I didn't have this direct path that easily mapped out my college career. I craved structure because I had been so used to it in high school. Liberal arts helped me realize that I needed to take the time and explore different things — ultimately it's equally as important to know which subjects you don't like compared to the ones you do.