Building Communities

Jessica Klimoff

Jessica Klimoff '16

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

College is not just a place to build knowledge and skills. It's also a space to build connections and community, a place where students come together to grow and exchange knowledge, ideas and insights. That's a message that Jessica Klimoff '16, a double major in sociology and English and a member of Social Justice House, received loud and clear in her first seminar at Dickinson, and she's living proof that it's true. 

Along with Jahmel Martin '16, Klimoff was awarded the George and Mary Louise D’Olier Shuman Prize, bestowed annually at Convocation on the sophomore man and woman who demonstrate superior academic performance and outstanding contributions to the extracurricular life of the college. Her many contributions during her first year on campus include co-organizing Trellis Talks, a new Friday-afternoon forum in which students can expand on class discussions in an informal setting.

Majors:

Clubs/activities/memberships:
Social Justice House, Adams Programming Board, Hillel, writing tutor, Mermaid Players, Neighbors-2-Neighbors, Trellis Talks.
About my Dickinson experience:
What I've gained from Dickinson is the ability to question the way things are right now and the empowerment to change the campus, whether by working with other student members of Jewish Life to make the Jewish community more inclusive and close-knit or by working on the Adams Programming Board to bring our dorm closer together.  
Favorite book: 
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Favorite class: 
That's a hard question, because I've loved all of my classes at Dickinson. My professors have been so accessible outside of class and interested in me as a student, and the discussions are always so exciting and interesting—they bring us together as a class. I especially loved starting off with my First-Year Seminar, Utopias, Dystopias and Engineering Progress and having  English 220 last semester.  
Favorite Movie:
Amélie.  
Favorite place on campus:

The garden between East College and Old West! I pass by it so many times every day coming to and from my dorm, and every time, I have to pause and look at all the flowers.

Favorite Dining Hall food: 

Vegan applesauce cake all the way!

As a kid, I wanted to be  .  .  .
I had a lot of different plans, including tightrope walker and baker. The only constant was that I wanted to have a retirement career as a mail deliverer, so that I could walk around all day and chat with people in all the neighborhoods [on my route]. 
Biggest influence:
My dog, Toto! He is small but wise. He taught me that caring for others (namely, him) can bring me happiness. Also, he gives a lot of love. He is living proof that the love that you give to others is the love you will receive in return!  
Most important thing I've learned so far:
I think it might be the idea of deconstructionism, which we covered in my English 220 class as well as in my Consumer Culture class last semester. It's the idea that every word is defined by its differences from other words. In order to really understand a word, we have to break down its differential relationship to other words by finding so many meanings for it that it can't be defined only by its opposite. We multiply the meanings of the word.

What I took from that idea is that the closer we look into a problem, the more solutions we can find, just like the close examination of one word only gives it more meanings. It's exciting and empowering to know that you don't have to restrict yourself to searching for one answer. Instead, you can find the path to many more answers. 

See more Student Snapshots

Published Oct. 17, 2013