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Student Snapshot: Brianna Geesaman ’21

Dickinson student Brianna Geesaman '21 in Bologna, Italy, during her study-abroad year.

Tour guide, a cappella singer and actor Brianna Geesaman ’21 (IB&M, Italian studies, music) is loving her study-abroad year in Italy, where she sings in the university choir, tutors English and volunteers at a fair-trade store. Below, she discusses what drew her to Dickinson and to her majors, why she loves being an Inferno, and the philosophy that helps her to move out of her comfort zone and enjoy what life has to offer.


Reamstown, Pennsylvania.


International business & management and Italian studies, with a minor in vocal performance.

Clubs and organizations:  

Infernos a cappella group, Dickinson College Choir, Liberty Cap tour guides, Tritons, Alpha Lambda Delta, Mermaid Players and National Society of Leadership and Success.


Robert K. & Juliana P. Nilsson Scholarship, Truman Bullard Scholarship and the Inge Paul and John R. Stafford Scholarship for Bioinformatics.

Favorite book:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Favorite movie:

La La Land.

On choosing my major:

This was not a clear and easy path for me. One of the reasons I decided to come to Dickinson was because I wanted to be able to explore my interests and not have to choose a major right away. After my first Italian class I decided to become an Italian minor because I fell in love with the language, the culture and the Italian department. And after taking a couple classes in the international business & management department, I decided to declare my major in it, feeling like it best fit my interests and skills. Once I decided to study abroad for a year and not just a semester, I realized that double majoring would be easy to accomplish. I could not be happier with my decisions.

On choosing Dickinson:

I visited a lot of small, liberal-arts colleges that are similar to Dickinson; however, Dickinson was my top choice. I was captured by Dickinson’s welcoming environment.

Favorite place on campus:

Admissions. I spend a lot of time there during the week because of my involvement in Liberty Cap Society and Tritons. I love to meet prospective students and talk to them about their interests and about Dickinson. The staff in admissions is always welcoming and bubbly—they just make your day better!

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Soup and bread bowls! They are so delicious!

Favorite professor:

My favorite professor is Associate Professor of Music Amy Wlodarski. She is an incredibly talented, driven and caring individual. I have had the honor of having her as a professor for Music History 102 and as a director for the Dickinson College Choir. Her passion for learning, teaching and inspiring others can be seen in both settings. Her class was challenging, and it helped me fine-tune my reading, writing and comprehension skills, which I am able to use in all disciplines. Her devotion to creating music that inspires and communicates feelings is inspiring, and I look up to her.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Seriously, I would watch the movie on repeat. I watched it so many times that I memorized all of the dialogue and, of course, all of the songs, and I would act out the entire movie while watching it. I always thought Judy Garland was so talented as an actress and singer. She was and is a role model for me.

On studying abroad:

I am studying abroad in Bologna, Italy, for the 2019-20 academic year. This experience has been challenging, both academically and personally, but so worth it. I am taking three classes in Italian and one in English. I do extracurriculars like vocal lessons, choir at the University of Bologna, tutoring in English and volunteering at a fair trade store in Bologna.

The highlight of my experience so far (besides being able to travel to so many beautiful places in Italy) has been living with my lovely host family. They live outside of the city center, about a 20-minute bus ride into the city. Their home is gorgeous, and it is surrounded by picturesque landscapes. I eat a delicious dinner with them five nights a week, and we engage in conversations in Italian. They are also fostering a 1-year-old with whom I have been able to interact, and I've babysat from time to time. The family atmosphere is perfect for me, and my language has improved so much more than it would have if I’d lived in an apartment my first semester. Clarissa and Pietro are lovely, caring people whom I’ve learned a lot from, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to live with them.

Proudest accomplishment:

I am extremely proud to be a part of the Dickinson a cappella group the Infernos. This was my first family on campus, and I am very grateful for all of my fellow Infernos. They are all talented individuals who have made an impact on my life. We are all close and we support each other. We work really hard to create music, but we also have a lot of fun while doing it. We have placed the last two years at the A Capella Competition, and I am proud of our commitment to do our best and share our talent with the community. I miss them this year, but I wish them the best of luck. 

Personal philosophy:

“Everything happens for a reason.” I have tried to remember this phrase throughout high school and college. It is important to live life and make decisions based on your time and what is best for you. Unexpected curve balls should be taken as learning experiences, and times of calm should be enjoyed. Opportunities arise for a reason, so take advantage of them, because more often than not, they make a positive difference in life.

The best thing about my Dickinson experience:

The best thing, so far, about my Dickinson experience is living my longtime dream of going to Italy. Not only have I been able to visit Italy, but I have been able to live here, experience the culture and learn the language. I have been encouraged and supported by my family, friends and advisors to take this huge leap out of my comfort zone, which will have a positive impact on my studies and my life.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published January 10, 2020