How did you hear about St. Mike’s?
My dad went to St. Mike’s in the ’80s. He graduated in ’88 so that’s how I actually heard about it. I just decided to apply in my avalanche of college applications because I knew I liked the area and because my Dad went here. I didn’t seek St. Mike’s out necessarily since during the application process I was looking for something different from what I knew about St. Mike’s at the time. Later I found out that was a thing with a lot of my friends too: They got a book award or something, so like me, they figured it was worth a visit, and once we got here we started thinking, “I kind of like it, this is my speed.”
Why did you choose Saint Michael’s College?
I visited in the month of April of my senior year of high school and was not really able to narrow my decision to a set of very specific variables or differences. I just felt like St. Mike’s was right --it was more of a gut feeling, not anything specific. I felt content here. I felt comfortable here. And I felt like I would be able to learn things here. I like the Political Science Department and the Economics Department, so I knew that I would focus on those in some way. I really don’t know what it was.
How have you made it your ‘Home Away From Home’?
Reza Ramazani is an economics professor, and all the ‘econ’ professors’ offices are on the 3rd floor of St. Ed’s close to the corner with Jeanmarie (two of the main connected classroom buildings on campus), and every time I walk by, it seems, he’ll say, “are you homeless and sleeping here!?” -- because I spend a lot of time sitting in the hallway maybe working on my thesis or responding to emails before I meet with my advisers for my thesis. So I think just by posting up; I spend a lot of time in the academic buildings doing all-nighters. I very much spend a lot of time outside my house on campus so I just do all of my living in the library and the academic buildings, so that’s one way I feel like I’ve made it my home. I just spend a lot of time there. Even if I’m not doing work I’ll come to the library to read, just for fun. So living in the spaces outside of my residence is one way I make it a ‘home away from home.’
What do you like about St. Mike's?
Having access to outdoor activities through the ski pass and trips with the Wilderness Program. And being able to see the mountains from my dorm room.
What's your favorite class?
Gender and International Development, because it's been really challenging academically. I learned a lot about putting in good effort and learning from mistakes.
Do you have a favorite professor?
Herb Kessel, my economics professor. It's easy to have conversations with him about the class in a way that's informal.
What's your favorite spot on campus?
The bird's nest in the library because you can look out all over campus. It's quiet and you can get a lot of work done.
Jay Peak. I'd say it's the most underrated skiing. Not a lot of people make the effort to go but it's totally worth it.
What's one thing you've learned at SMC that's been surprising or inspiring?
I grew up Catholic but wasn't very involved with church. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much of an impact Campus Ministry has had on me here, especially considering it wasn't something I came in really interested in.
How do you give back to the community?
I'm involved in Common Ground, Green Up and Orientation. There's a significant faction of the student population that is involved. Students here really do care.
Where was your internship?
Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. It complemented my Anthropology major to have hands-on experience working with new and recent refugees and immigrants.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to hike, ski, climb, run, read, and learn languages.
20 years from now, what do you think a favorite college memory will be?
Ski days and ski memories with friends. It's such a central part of my winter and skiing helps me academically, too. It's a way to de-stress and decompress and have fun and get exercise.
What makes you happy?
The balance at St. Mike's has helped me find what is meaningful and important to me on my own, and have people push me to try things I might not have otherwise.
What are you going to do next? What are you excited about once you’ve graduated?
I’m going to work in a kayak shop. The woman who owns the kayak shop is a very accomplished paddling instructor with an international reputation -- kind of like Todd Wright, leader of the Colllege’s Wilderness Program. That’s actually how I made the contact ,because he knows this woman through the coaching thing that they do, so I’m going to go work for her for a little bit so I can learn more about that and develop my paddling and instructing skills. So I’m going to do that for a little bit. I want to go to grad school, but that’s going to be a process that I probably start in a year rather than think about in the next year. I’m excited to keep ‘nerding out’ about all the things that I’ve learned at St. Mike’s. I really have developed an interest in political economy, politics in general and also economics in general. That’s been cool because I didn’t know so much about that before being able to surround myself with the departments here; just keep learning about that stuff.
Anything else to add?
Last night I was with a group of friends talking about and listening to ’90s music. It’s an example of a thing I really like in groups of friends here, at least in my experience. Both in my first-year residence and also in the 200 Townhouses where I live now, there’s an open-door policy. I’ll get back from the library and I’ll see my neighbor’s lights on and go knock -- be like “hey Kristen, let’s hangout!” Same with my house, me and my roommate will be hanging out in our living room chatting about the day and one of our friends who live nearby will come and say “hey!” I like that the social and the academic and the service overlap. Sometime you’re talking about your senior thesis on a Saturday night with some kid who’s in your class or sometimes you’re talking about a completely different topic over dinner; it’s all super blended together. With the social and the academic, it’s more of one cohesive experience than different experiences.