Quisqueya Witbeck '16 was an organizing theme major in global health and diplomacy at Union College, where she also minored in history and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. She holds a Master of Science in global studies and international relations, with a concentration in development and global health, from Northeastern University. Today, Quisqueya is a writing consultant for the Northeastern University English Department. She works with undergraduate and graduate students to improve their writing in all academic disciplines through individual consultations. It is her responsibility to ensure that clients’ questions are answered and their concerns are met regarding all aspects of the writing process. This can include brainstorming, editing for clarity, restructuring arguments or reviewing the content included in a piece, be it academic or professional. In Quisqueya’s spare time, she enjoys reading and research related to her previous areas of study and following various creative pursuits. She also volunteers for both Union and Northeastern, where she works on projects ranging from fundraising and professional development to event planning and young and intergenerational alumni engagement.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
Writing is as much an artistic pursuit as it is a functional one so it is often very time and detail-intensive to help my clients achieve a balance between developing their personal style and following existing, linguistic metrics.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
The people I meet continually inspire me. I have been very fortunate to meet and be mentored by numerous individuals, not least of which are my parents and grandparents as well as my friends and professors from Union. I am inspired by the interesting and necessary work across disciplines that they have done. I am inspired by both people who tirelessly pursue their goals and by those who have the courage to change course and pursue adventures or react productively to the unexpected.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
I encourage today’s women (and men) to follow their goals and interests in academia and the professional world even if they are not the most conventional or easy to explain. Global society can always use more trailblazers and if your passions lead you to the intersection of disciplines, seek out and create as many opportunities for yourself as you can. If your interests are “easier” to describe or fall into one field, never cease to believe that your pursuits and perspectives are uniquely valuable in and of themselves.
What was your most formative experience at Union?
One of many formative experiences at Union was being introduced to the field of ethnomusicology by Professor Jennifer Matsue, through her ‘Introduction to World Music’ class. The information in the class itself was profoundly interesting and without it, I would not have had the foundations to draw upon for my master’s research, and will have for future study.