Why did you choose Union?
When describing my college search, the first word that comes to mind is “nontraditional.” I spent my first year of college at a large university abroad, figuring out what it meant to be a college student, managing playing field hockey along with my classes, and adjusting to life on my own overseas. Half way through my first year, due to family circumstances, I decided I needed to be closer to home (or at least on the same continent). When looking at schools the second time, Union seemed like a perfect fit. Applying without having seen it was a leap of faith, but my sister had applied and loved the school, and my father spoke highly of it. After applying, I visited campus, and was excited to picture myself here. I felt sure that Union would offer me an experience that was engaging in a new way. At Union, I found exactly what I needed. I needed a community which would push me to take opportunities outside of my comfort zone, but which would also support me along the way. My professors here value me as an academic and as a person; I love being a part of such an engaging community where I feel a strong sense of belonging. I have never felt so academically and socially enriched as I do at Union.
How do you describe Union to your friends and family?
When I tell friends and family about Union, I tell them first how engaging a community it is. Coming from a tight-knit hometown, and then having gone to a large research institution without such a strong sense of commonality, I value that sense of engagement I feel by belonging to such a proud and vibrant community. I find that everyone at Union, and everyone with a family member who goes here, is bursting with pride for the school. In the same sense, I say that Union is nurturing: it would be hard to slip through the cracks at Union, because there are so many people looking out for you. I feel a genuine sense of concern from my professors and my peers at Union, and a genuine sense of mutual respect as well. Opportunities like the Steinmetz Symposium encourage us to value each other not just as social peers, but as fellow intellectuals as well. Additionally, at Union, there are a plethora of leadership and growth opportunities, and there is always a person or resource to help you navigate those opportunities. We are constantly getting emails about events on campus, whether they be Minerva events, club events, club sports events, or social events, so you don’t even have to go out of your way to find something to do— there is literally something different to do (for free!) every night of the week. I always highlight how much I value the way our community rallies around sports teams as well. I personally love going to football games, but our hockey program makes us unique in that we go to a small school with a big school atmosphere (and sometimes a big school ego). Most of all, when I tell my friends and those prospective students on my tours about what it’s like to go to Union, I always say that you can come to Union as you are today, and leave a better version of yourself.
What has been your favorite class assignment at Union?
My favorite class assignment was to watch the movie “The Godfather” in my “Gangs and Youth Violence” class. I love the movie, and have watched it many times with my sister, but I really enjoyed engaging in an intellectual discussion about it as it related to our class material.
What is your favorite place off-campus in Schenectady?
Though The Stockade District is a close second, my favorite off-campus spot would have to be Jay Street. The atmosphere is so quaint and charming, and I love going to Ambition or Raw for brunch.
Transferring to Union:
I transferred to Union after one year at a medium-sized research institution outside of the United States. At first, transferring colleges seemed like a daunting task —I was nervous about integrating myself into the social and academic environment on campus. As it turned out, I had nothing to be nervous about. Everyone I interacted with, especially in my first year, made it clear that they wanted to help me find my passions and to have the best Union experience possible.
Here at Union, I am a Political Science major and History minor. When thinking about my academic career, a few immersive experiences come to the front of my mind: my research, my internship experience, and my time studying abroad. My research experience on campus will culminate in my senior thesis project, through which I will research nationalism and prevalent political narratives in America. Last winter, I completed an internship through the Mayor of New York City’s Legislative Affairs Office in Albany. In this role, I attended State Assembly and Senate sessions as well as committee hearings, and learned about the political relationship between New York City and New York State. Before my junior year, I spent my summer at the Sorbonne in Paris studying the French language and French culture; this experience was culturally engaging and helped to round out my liberal arts education. The relationships I have built with faculty members on campus have been a defining part of my Union experience as well —my professors value me as a person, not just an academic, and have provided me with invaluable guidance and mentorship.
In my free time on campus, I serve as the President of the Panhellenic Council, I sit on Student Forum, and I sit on the Student Affairs Committee. I have been a tour guide since my second term on campus, and will be working as a Senior Intern in the Admissions Office throughout my senior year. I am a member of our college’s student-alumni association, The Garnet Society; and I am a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon. I also play piano, and am a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Order of Omega. There’s always something to do on campus, but a personal favorite activity is sitting on the grass and watching a football game on a Saturday afternoon in autumn.
I chose Union because I knew I needed an engaging community, a place where I would feel supported and comfortable enough to branch out into new interests and experiences. All members of our community are proud to be Dutchmen —and that pride rubs off on you quickly. At Union, I have found a holistically supportive environment that pushes me to be my best while offering help at every step along the way. Union has become a part of who I am, and my only regret is that I will spend just three years on campus.