Growing up, Emily Rincavage '14 decided that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of children in need by becoming a teacher, like her mother. But an extraordinary experience during her study-abroad semester in England led this John Dickinson scholar to a different, yet equally altruistic, path.
Clubs and organizations:
Liberty Cap Society, Alpha Phi Omega and the Office of Community Service & Religious Life (community advisor).
On choosing a major:
I love both of my majors. Because they are so different from each other, I couldn’t choose just one.
I really cannot choose, because I have had so many professors who have influenced me and believed in me. But one of my favorites is [Assistant Professor of Mathematics] Jennifer Schaefer.
I sat in on her class when I was a prospective student, and I got there late, because I had gotten lost on campus. But she welcomed me and also talked to me after class. I’ve since had her for three classes, and she is always willing to help.
Favorite class so far:
Buddhism with [Associate] Professor [of Religion Dan] Cozort. For the final project, we had the option to write a paper, present a PowerPoint presentation, attend 10 meditation sessions on campus or go to a Buddhist ceremony. I decided to attend a New Year’s ceremony at a Buddhist center in Frederick, Md. I was really uncomfortable with all of the chanting, but the monks were welcoming, and they invited me to a brunch after the ceremony. I realized that we are all the same.
As a kid, I wanted to be . . .
. . . a teacher, like my mother was, before she had my sister.
I am pretty crafty. I made most of the little decorative things in my apartment. I also knit—I recently knit myself an ear warmer—and I used to cross-stitch, too, but it hurt my hands too much. Basically, I have the hobbies of an older woman!
On studying abroad:
I studied in Norwich [England] in the fall of my junior year. One of my professors there was a student as well, seeking her Ph.D. in creative writing and psychology at the University of East Anglia. She had paid her way through school at Harvard, and during the summers, she had worked with crime victims in New York City. Learning about her experiences really inspired me to look into [a career in psychology]. That led me to a summer internship at a rape crisis center and hopefully a job in that field after graduation.
It would have to be my summer internship at the rape crisis center. I also worked the hotlines and went on hospital visits as a STAR volunteer, and I really think that I was able to make a difference in a few people’s lives. I hope that [those experiences] will continue to help them on their path to recovery.
This sounds really cliché, but I want to “do good,” and make a difference. In psychology, we learn predictors of mental illness, and this semester I am studying predictors of who thrives after a trauma versus who just survives. I want to level these predictors, close the gap and help those who might not otherwise receive help.
Biggest influence on my life:
I would have to say my mom. I recently spent the day with her at her store, just savoring our last day of break together, and after I left, her co-worker told her that we not only look alike but have the same fiery personality and mannerisms.
My mother taught me to work hard and that even though life would never be easy or fair, that I need to work my hardest anyway. She also taught me to love, and to care for others more than I care for myself. I really owe every part of me to my mom.
Most important thing I've learned so far:
It's O.K. to fail, because failure is part of the learning process. I still hate it, but now I know that failure is a learning experience and a part of life.
In a perfect world . . .
There would be no inequalities. Every baby born into the world would have the same chances to thrive and to be what he or she wanted to be.
Published March 19, 2014