French and Francophone Studies
Film and Media Studies (Swarthmore)
Peace, Justice, and Human Rights
What was your favorite class and how has it influenced your further course of study?
My favorite class would probably have to be Introduction to Peace, Justice, and Human Rights, which I took last Spring. Having it be so early in my tenure at Haverford made it all the more important to my academic direction here, since the curriculum really focused on bringing together various disciplines into a combined focus on what makes a human, what duties and liberties that human has, and how we might deal with breaches of that implicit social contract that we all develop. It's really rooted my education in two ways: Firstly, it forced me to acknowledge that my education must be for something. I have to use it to make myself into an agent for positive social change—the work I do cannot just remain in books and journals. Moreover, it let me realize that the disciplinary boundaries we consider in higher education are by no means solid. Rather than focusing in on a single discipline, such as anthropology or political science, it's helped me to broaden my scope toward a course of study surrounding the duties and powers of stories, and how they catalyse, assist, and even damage the potential for positive social change.
Why did you choose your major/minor/concentration? What influenced you to pursue this course of study?
Before coming to Haverford, I only wanted to learn how to read, write, and ask questions. After much more in depth thought, though, I've realized that I need my academic program to both broaden in its media and sharpen in its focus. Now, I much more strongly consider my goals to become fluent in a second language, and to better grapple with issues of stories and ethics across a wide variety of media. Because the world doesn't happen exclusively in books, and the rapid advancement of technology is perhaps the constant upon which we can safely rely, it is imperative for me to understand the significance and contemporary trends of visual media. And, in a growingly connected world, fluency in a second language will hopefully breathe life into the materials I study and the people I meet across the globe. Perhaps most importantly, though, these academic aspirations are rooted in the reality that I need to help other people, and that a well-researched ethical compass will hopefully yield positive dividends in any of my future endeavors.
Did you have a summer experience (research, internship, travel) that was connected to your classwork or thesis project? If so, how did that experience change what you thought about your course of study or influence your plans for the future?
This summer, I've received a Guggenheim scholarship to study the history and techniques of French theatre in Avignon, France. While theatre has never been a primary academic focus for me, the opportunity to better understand how people have expressed themselves and preached emotion and excitement over the course of the past several centuries in Avignon is a great honor.
What surprised you most about your course of study or what would others be most surprised by about your course of study?
What's surprised me over the course of the last few years is how critical the study of environmental ethics has become in my tenure here at Haverford. The contemporary state of our world—including how we plan to cope with, alleviate, and potentially reverse the effects of climate change, while keeping in mind theories of justice and ethics among the various regions across the world—may possibly be the most important topic we discuss in our lifetime. It seems that so many ethicists and philosophers have taken for granted the idea that our world will perpetually exist, but that, as far as I can see, is misguided, given the information we have today about shifting environmental trends caused by humanity. Now, more than ever, we have to ask ourselves the relevance of philosophies we've canonized over the past several centuries, given that humanity may end within a few hundred years, and this is forcing every ideology to shift. A somber surprise is that we cannot ignore the impact of climate change on all of humanity, and that our studies and our passions may not at all deviate from that reality.
What do you hope to do after graduating from Haverford?
Maybe, I'll end up as a college professor somewhere, teaching about stories and movies and literature and activism and art. Maybe, I'll become a jazz trombonist. Either way, I hope to live with ardor, to live and breathe within the intersectionality of art and activism.
But, most importantly, I'll vote in every single election, and I'll donate blood until the day I die!