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Over their four years at Conn, the members of the Class of 2023 joined Pathways and Centers; interned with Microsoft, Google, David Dorfman Dance and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center; and studied abroad in Brazil, Cameroon, Belgium and Japan. They conducted research with faculty on artificial intelligence and biodegradable 3D-printed reefs, and partnered with community organizations to address homelessness in New London and poverty in Peru. They debated in Arabic in Turkiye, played chess in Seattle and won an NCAA Championship in men’s soccer in North Carolina. They’ve won Watson and Fulbright fellowships and Beinecke and Critical Language scholarships. They’ve been accepted to graduate programs at Harvard, Yale and Oxford, and will soon begin careers at Microsoft, Disney, Bank of America and the National Institutes of Health.

Despite the immense impact of the first global pandemic in nearly a century, these tenacious seniors are leaving Conn with the liberal education they came for and the skills they need to make their mark on the world, just as they have on our campus.

Meet six of the indomitable seniors from the Connecticut College Class of 2023.


Headshot of Jack Howell, Class of 2023

Jack Howell

From Durham, Connecticut

Neuroscience major, Psychology minor

Headshot of Jack Howell, Class of 2023

Center/Pathway affiliation: Public Health Pathway

Question 1 Since 2019, I have been a mentor for neurodiverse middle school students through Eye to Eye, a national nonprofit organization and campus club. I am also a member of Active Minds, the Pre-Health Club and the Nu Rho Psi honor society, and I work as an educational assistant at Middlesex Community College tutoring mostly first-generation college students of diverse backgrounds in English, biology and chemistry.

Headshot of May Kotsen, Class of 2023

May Kotsen

Princeton, New Jersey

History and American Studies double major

Center/Pathway affiliation: Holleran Center for Community Action, Museum Studies Program

Favorite quote: “History is the fruit of power, but power itself is never so transparent that its analysis becomes superfluous. The ultimate mark of power may be its invisibility; the ultimate challenge, the exposition of its roots.” —Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Un-writing American history: My honors thesis reimagines what constitutes evidence in the historical method. I explore the ways in which the present-day prioritization and overreliance on written evidence is prioritized not because it is the most “accurate” or useful method of historical preservation, but because it can best justify and silence histories of settler colonialism and enslavement. I argue historians must turn toward methods that have been used by overwhelmingly non-white communities, such as oral histories and material culture. Each chapter is a case study on a particular method, including African American quilting, Hodinöhsö:ni’ wampum belts, Latin American testimonios, Black American freedom songs, community museums, and oral traditions at the dinner table among Italian American immigrants. Writing this thesis has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding.

Seneca Nation With Conn’s Lowitt-Lear fellowship, I interned at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum on the Seneca-Allegany Reservation. This experience shaped me in astronomical ways as an American citizen, as a historian, as someone interested in museums and as a human being. Working in a museum and living on a reservation, I developed an arsenal of new skills, new ideas and new viewpoints. I walked out of that internship with a new conceptualization of what history was, how community museums could serve as a liberatory force and how to better approach teaching accurate American history.

Space for truth I believe that spaces in which truths are spoken and histories are revealed can be liberatory. Mybdream is to run a combination community center, historical society and museum that would both meet the needs of the community (including food, housing and employment) and serve as a space for community members, especially youth, to learn about their family histories and better understand the problems their communities face.


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