Whatever you want to do with your life, you can do it here at Conn. Even with our small size, we have many professors who will go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals as well as a campus with very diverse interests. Our faculty is interested in everything. If you don’t know someone who shares your interests, just ask anyone you do know, and they’ll point you in the right direction. I have new and stimulating experiences every day through my relationships with people all over this campus!
Favorite memory at Connecticut College:
Playing principal clarinet in the pit during the opening night of the College’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel. It was a moment when seven weeks of hard work, long nights, and many discussions on the direction of the show finally paid off, and it was a pinnacle of a freshman year with many high points. We also hosted a group of scholars and professionals whose work involved Carousel, so getting to play for them and hear their opinions on and experiences with the show was a real treat! One of the things about the spring musical that’s unique to Conn is that it involves the music, dance, and theater departments; it’s a great way of getting a lot of students including myself involved in the production who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity.
Favorite activity in New London or the region:
Catching a film or show at the Garde Arts Center, a beautiful old movie palace and auditorium in the center of town.
There are many concerts and recitals at the end of each semester, produced by the music and dance departments, student bands or a capella groups, SAC (Student Activities Council), or any of the myriad student groups here. I should know because I usually end up playing in a few of the ones that the music department runs. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment in the semester. Playing in concerts is a fun and invigorating experience, but it’s usually time-consuming with rehearsals and preparation for each performance. It’s also a sign that the semester is getting close to the dreaded finals period. However, playing a concert is about more than just jumping onto the stage of Evans Hall. There are a lot of little things that go into it.
Touring colleges as an admitted student, when I knew that I could study at any of the fabulous schools I was looking at, made me examine them a little differently. Instead of deciding whether a school had given a good enough presentation for me to add it to my growing list of places to apply to, I was able to spend my time looking for small things that would influence my decision.
This past summer, I had an amazing opportunity to write program notes for the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO), a professional symphony orchestra that performs at the Garde Arts Center in downtown New London. Program notes are typically blurbs in the programs classical music concerts that tell the audience the history of the music they’re about to hear, and what they should look out for when listening to it. Through my work with the symphony, I’ve been able to make important professional connections and learn more about the world of arts administration, all while writing about and listening to some great music.
This past fall I was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as a student scholar. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This is the second in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing during spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center (read post 1).
This election year is an incredibly important and educational moment for the country and in my Conn experience. Like many of my fellow Camels, this is my first time voting in a major election, and I enjoy the support that we as students give each other as we make important decisions about casting our ballots. If you have the opportunity to vote this election you may feel, like I do, that selecting candidates who will do the things that you want them to do is tough, no matter how clear the outcomes appear. I have had several conversations with friends about the importance of learning about the candidates and issues when voting, no matter how polarized our politics. These conversations are important as I learn about becoming an informed and responsible citizen.
This semester I decided to compete in the Concerto Competition, which gives one winning student the opportunity to be featured in the Connecticut College Orchestra Spring Concert performing a concerto or vocal piece every year. My clarinet professor, Kelli O’Connor, and I had made a somewhat spur-of-the-moment decision in late January that I should enter it this year, so I could experience competing in it.
“You must be the change you wish to see.” – M. K. Ghandi
I live my life by this quote because it challenges me to take action to make the world a better place. Its philosophy is also a driving force behind Green Dot training here on campus, which I recently completed. Green Dot is a national organization that works to prevent power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking, in communities throughout the country. I’m glad that Connecticut College has a robust Green Dot chapter, with about a quarter of students who have undergone training. My friends who completed the training encouraged me to do it for months, so when I got an email about a session that worked with my schedule, I signed up for it.
For two weeks in November, Connecticut College Asian & Asian American Students in Action (ASIA) hosted ORIGINS: An Asian Arts Festival, a first for both the club and Conn. The festival brought many amazing cultural opportunities to campus, including a lecture by internationally renowned Chinese artist Xu Bing, a food making workshop, and a student art exhibition in Coffee Grounds, one of the coffee houses on campus.
One of the strange, interesting, and unexpected experiences I have each semester at Conn is making connections across classes that initially appear to be completely unrelated. I believe that doing this is in keeping with Conn’s nature as a small liberal arts college. Many of my classes draw students from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors, which means that I get to hear how those students draw connections between their interests and the class subject material such as a biology major’s take on Aristotle’s De Anima. There are plenty of subjects that I’ll never take classes in, but I still hear how they connect from students who are passionate about them. Part of the aim of our new curriculum, Connections, is to get all students to look at the similarities between seemingly unrelated subjects. I’m envious of future Conn students because I wish I could experience some of the ways Connections will continue to transform the way we learn. The curriculum was launched in 2016, so this year’s incoming class will be the first to experience it throughout their four years.
As our nation works to understand the implications of the election results, students throughout the country have been meeting with deans and other administrators to discuss its impact. Here at Conn our administration has been proactive in learning about the needs of our community. The day after the election, less than twelve hours after Donald Trump was declared president-elect, I attended Lunch with the Deans with Jefferson Singer, John McKnight, and Victor Arcelus, the deans of the College, Institutional Equity & Inclusion, and students respectively.
On Wednesdays and Fridays I volunteer as a mentor at Jennings Elementary School in New London with Enrichment, a program sponsored by Connecticut College Community Partnerships. Through this program I help students in third, fourth and fifth grade work on improving their math skills. Since coming to Conn, I have become very interested in the philosophy of education and the impact education has on people. I decided to volunteer to learn more and broaden my views about education.
One recent Thursday morning, the stars finally aligned for us to hold a sectional rehearsal for the orchestra’s clarinetists. No other wind instruments and definitely no strings present! It was just Scott, the other clarinetist, our professor, Kelli O’Connor, and me running through orchestral music together. One of the pieces we’re playing in orchestra this semester is the impressionist composer Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite.” As is typical of his works, it features complex, mystifying and beautiful harmonies. Part of our job in a sectional is to learn to get these harmonies in tune, which helps the orchestra sound better.
One Thursday morning this semester, the stars finally aligned for us to hold a sectional rehearsal for the orchestra’s clarinetists. No other wind instruments and definitely no strings present! It was just Scott, the other clarinetist, our professor, Kelli O’Connor, and me running through orchestral music together. One of the pieces we played in orchestra this semester is the impressionist composer Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite.” As is typical of his works, it features complex, mystifying and beautiful harmonies. Part of our job in a sectional is to learn to get these harmonies in tune, which helps the orchestra sound better.
On a recent Friday evening, my musicology class went out to dinner and attended a collaborative performance by contemporary string quartet ETHEL and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal. While introducing the show, our director of arts programming mentioned that the College had enjoyed hosting ETHEL for a three-day residency preceding the concert. Hearing him say this made me smile because I gained many great things out of their time here.
Recently, I accompanied classics professor Nina Papathanasopoulou and her "Classical Mythology" class on a field trip to the Metropolitan Opera in New York to see Richard Strauss’ opera "Elektra." As a music nerd and active student in the Music Department, I really enjoyed getting to see the work of some of the greatest performers in the world; I find that watching other people play is the greatest teaching tool in music, and I’m fortunate to see a lot of performances on and off campus.
This semester, I’m taking a Sophomore Research Seminar called “Secrecy: Power Privilege and the Invisible,” taught by Lucy C. McDannel ‘22, Professor of Art History and Anthropology and Director of Museum Studies Christopher Steiner. The Sophomore Research Seminars are a set of classes at Conn designed to let students get a head start at doing in-depth research by giving us demanding inquisitive assignments and culminating in a 15-page original research paper.
My seminar is an interesting interdisciplinary look into the many different topics and perceptions surrounding secrecy; some topics we’ve covered include secret societies, magic, and surveillance. Recently, we had the exciting opportunity to curate a small exhibit in the display cases outside the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives titled “Photography, Trickery, and the Invisible.” The exhibit focused on three types of photographs common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: hidden mother, spirit, and trick photography. Most of us had never curated an exhibit before, so it was a new and fun experience for the class.
In my senior year of high school, as I was receiving responses to my college applications, I logged once more into the Common App website and used the download feature to save copies of all my applications for future reference. Looking back at my application, I see a very different person than I am now. Perhaps the most dramatic change came from my answer about my top two choices for my major. I said I was interested in majoring in government and English although what I really wanted to say was undeclared and undeclared.
This past fall I was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as a student scholar. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This is the fifth in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing during spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center.
This past fall I was accepted as a student scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. The Center is one of five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. As a scholar in the Ammerman Center, I collaborate and learn from other scholars and professors to accomplish my goal of creating connections between my major (philosophy), the arts, and technology; I will graduate with a certificate in arts and technology, which reflects my participation in classes, seminars, independent studies, center sponsored activities, and an internship relating to the field. This is the first in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing in the spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center.
For my History of Arts and Technology lab, we created and performed exciting group improvisations in the span of just two hours. To prepare, Professor Nadav Assor told us to bring one to three things to class that we thought might be useful in a group improvisation session. He asked us to post what we were going to bring to Moodle, a website used in many classes to foster dialogue outside of class time, so that we could see what everyone was planning to work with. The section on Moodle included some videos with examples of improvisational systems, but even after watching these I wasn’t quite sure about the exact nature of the exercise. After looking through others’ posts, I noticed that my classmates collections of objects tended to include at least one or two things that a person can easily perform with, along with something completely random. Imitating them, I decided to bring my clarinet, sheet music for Willson Osborne’s “Rhapsody for Clarinet” and an Amtrak timetable.
This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, and my family came to Conn for most of the day. It’s a two-hour drive from my house in Northampton, Massachusetts, so while I see my family often, we agree that none of us needs to constantly schlep between New London and Northampton. However, my parents always drive to the College to celebrate my birthday with me.
There are moments when I look back with amazement at the many performances and lectures I have been to in my short time at Conn. Recently, I saw three powerful performances on campus all in one week: on Monday the Ammerman Center sponsored a visit by famed performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña. On Friday, I saw the theater department’s production of Mark Blitzstein’s “The Cradle Will Rock,” and on Saturday I went to the Women’s Empowerment Initiative performance of their 2017 show “She is a Tempest.” These three performances dealt with difficult themes, such as dividedness, inequality and oppression, and inspiring ones, such as effecting change, empowerment and living life to the fullest.
I was asked to purchase six books for a single class my first semester at Connecticut College. Being overwhelmed by the sudden onslaught of assignments in my first week of classes, I decided to purchase the books for that class one-by-one. A couple of weeks later, I walked into the bookstore and discovered that the lovely piles of books had transformed into empty shelves featuring a couple of incredibly tattered, used copies and many order forms. I’m always a little averse to used books because I want my books to look nice; I don’t like having books that have been marked by other people or treated roughly. I chose to buy new copies of most of my books for that class online, which only cost a few extra dollars, something I could afford.