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The class of 2020 launches into the future with passion, purpose and perseverance. 

by Lauren Davidson

The class of 2020 will always be the class that graduated during a global pandemic. But that’s not their whole story. It doesn’t define them. These newest members of Dickinson’s alumni community had incredible experiences as students and left an indelible mark on this institution. They traveled the world, broke records, earned prestigious awards, launched organizations, conducted meaningful research, won championships, discovered new passions and forged new paths. Here you will meet 20 of these scholars—20 members of the class of 2020 who represent just a glimpse of the extraordinary spirit and entrepreneurial acumen of this class of 522. 

Amara Anigbo

COMPUTER SCIENCE

Los Angeles, California 

Anigbo 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Posse Foundation Scholarship; Jeff Ubben Fellowship; Grace Hopper Scholar; Women in Technology Group Central Pennsylvania Scholarship Recipient

Study Abroad: Dickinson in England (University of East Anglia)

Dickinson Moment: My proudest moment at Dickinson was starting the Inclusivity in STEM group on campus. The group met throughout the semester to discuss issues regarding inclusivity and representation in the STEM field. The group gave students the platform to talk about sensitive topics that needed attention and encouraged professors to adopt more inclusive curriculum.

What’s Next: Product manager for Microsoft Mixed Reality.

Parting Thoughts: If I could go back in time and give advice to my first-year self, I would tell myself to believe in myself. I know it sounds cliché, but college is really the time to explore your interests and who you truly are. Push yourself outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself, but above all, believe in yourself and your abilities. 

Ken Bamba

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS & MANAGEMENT (computer science minor)

Elmhurst, New York  

Ken bamba 1 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Posse Foundation Leadership Scholarship; 2020 SLCE Community Engagement Award; Community Engagement Fellow (United Way); 2020 Office of LGBTQ Services Ally Recognition Award; 2017 SLCE Unsung Hero Award (MOB); 2018 SLCE Executive Board Member of the Year (MOB)

Study Abroad: 2017 Summer Program in the United Kingdom (England and Scotland); 2018 Summer Program in Japan; 2018 Fall Semester in New Zealand

Dickinson Moment: Attending an ally workshop for Dickinson’s inaugural Women of Color Summit in 2019 and seeing the incredible summit come together after years of hard work by inspiring and empowering women of color.

What’s Next: Advisory consultant in the Technology Advisory Program at Ernst & Young.

Parting Thoughts: Dickinson has given me the opportunity to grow and succeed through unique experiences and involvement in several organizations, like the Center for Civic Learning & Action, Residence Life & Housing, MOB and New Student Programs. Dickinson has allowed me to recognize that each of us has immense power and privilege that we must use for positive change. I hope that we work to stay engaged in our local communities, support marginalized people and speak up against injustice. 

Sarah Benziger

BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Yardley, Pennsylvania 

Benzinger lacrosse 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Unsung Hero Award presented by Dickinson athletics for selfless dedication on and off the field

Study Abroad: Queensland, Australia

Athletics: Women’s lacrosse

Dickinson Moment: Being a member of the relatively new Hera Society, a select group of senior female studentathletes, my proudest moment was when we hosted our third annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day event. This year was our best turnout yet of young girls who were excited to learn about various sports and to meet and look up to the strong female athletes of Dickinson.

What’s Next: Working as a certified nursing assistant at Chandler Hall Health Services while I prepare to apply for physician assistant graduate programs.

Parting Thoughts: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The more you try new things and partake in difficult conversations, the more you will learn about yourself and grow as a person. 

Kaliph Brown

PSYCHOLOGY, THEATRE ARTS

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Kalpihbrown 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Philadelphia Futures, Samuel G. Rose ’58 and David W. Long Applied Music scholarships; Dana Research Assistantship; Stabler Endowment Fund; Alpha Lambda Delta and Psi Chi honor societies; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.; Student Senate Director of Inclusivity

Study Abroad: Málaga, Spain (summer immersion)

Dickinson Moment: Being part of negotiating the improvement of the school’s Title IX policy. This experience allowed me to better understand the needs and experiences of the student body, as well as the responsibilities and perspectives of the administration.

What’s Next: I am a behavioral health technician at Haven Behavioral Hospital of Philadelphia where I help provide care for a small geriatric population with mental illnesses. I will also be applying to graduate school to pursue a master’s in counseling psychology or a Psy.D.

Parting Thoughts: I value education because no one can take that away from me. I value friendship because there’s no such thing as a self-made person and support is essential to success. I also value a globally oriented mind, and Dickinson exposed me to an abundance of perspectives in each class I attended, domestically and abroad, and in my internships.  

Patrick Davis

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS & MANAGEMENT

New Providence, New Jersey 

Patrick davis 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Study Abroad: Málaga, Spain

Athletics: Baseball (captain)

Dickinson Moment: Being tapped as a member of the Raven’s Claw Society.

What’s Next: Looking to begin a career in finance in NYC.

Parting Thoughts: Dickinson is a place that provides students with an incredible amount of resources and opportunities. But it is up to the individual to be proactive and find ways to utilize them. Those who go out of their way to try new things, meet new people and take risks are those who will get the most out of their Dickinson experience.

Abby Duell

MUSIC, ITALIAN

Seattle, Washington 

Duell headshot 2 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Scholarships: John Montgomery Scholarship on the Recommendation of the Music Faculty; Ruby R. Vale Foundation Scholarship

Study Abroad: Bologna, Italy

Dickinson Moment: The opportunity to sing a principal role in Dickinson’s first opera (Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel) in more than 25 years. It was a new type of musical exploration, outside of choir, instrumental performance and solo lessons. The most meaningful moments for me were when young children, who are harsh critics of fairytales, spoke to me (as Gretel) after the show. That was when I knew I had done my job and made the story come alive for the audience.  

What’s Next: Like many entering the professional world in this unique time, I feel a great deal of uncertainty regarding the future. What I do know is that Dickinson prepared me well for pursuing objectives I feel are worthwhile. My original plan had been to audition for opera and theatre companies that have outreach programs serving schools and community venues. I have also auditioned for a professional opera chorus and applied for a fellowship in costume construction inspired by my work in the Dickinson costume shop. I am reading, staying engaged in current events, developing my sewing and Italian-language skills and sending my resume to small businesses in my area. I have used this time for reflection and feel that when we do come out of quarantine I will have a clearer view of what I want to pursue.

Parting Thoughts: Ask for help—your biggest allies are the people around you. 

Watch a video featuring Abby.

Elif Ersoy

INTERNATIONAL STUDIES (concentration in security studies)

Jackson Heights, New York 

Ersoy4 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Wheel and Chain; 2020 SLCE Executive Board Member of the Year (MOB); Posse Foundation and Gilman International scholarships

Study Abroad: Dickinson in South America

Dickinson Moment: Attending the first Women of Color Summit and being part of the second annual summit’s executive planning committee. The summit has provided a safe space for women of color on campus, and it was amazing watching women from different backgrounds come together in workshops to develop understanding and initiate change.

What’s Next: I am managing the finances at my family-owned business in Brooklyn. I am looking forward to pursuing a graduate degree, but I am still unsure if I want to pursue my master’s in international relations or business.

Parting Thoughts: Seize every opportunity to explore your community and the world. The service trips I’ve attended, the community-service programs I took part in and the knowledge I gained while studying abroad have all enhanced my college experience.

Adam Gamber 

MATHEMATICS

Greensburg, Pennsylvania 

Gamber pole vaulting 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Centennial Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year (first student-athlete in Centennial Conference history to receive this honor four times); John Dickinson Scholarship; Lloyd W. Hughes Senior Scholar Athlete Award; Caroline Hatton Clark Mathematics Scholarship

Athletics: Track & field (pole vault)

Dickinson Moment: The 2018 Indoor CC Championship meet, since the men’s Dickinson pole vault squad took three of the top four spots in our best showing ever. Watching my teammates jump PR bars and me cheering and screaming for them next to the runway is something I’ll always hold on to.

What’s next: I’m hoping to pursue a career as a statistician or data analyst in the renewable energy or environmental protection fields.

Parting Thoughts: Be a mentor. It’s great to have mentors, but the best feeling in the world is being one and seeing a person you’ve taught and coached and supported succeed and do things they never thought they could.

Ian Genao

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS & MANAGEMENT

Bronx, New York 

Ian genao 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Young Alumni Trustee; Posse Foundation and Ruby R. Vale Foundation scholarships

Dickinson Moment: Although Dickinson itself provided me with the space to find my passion and people, MANdatory has been my most meaningful activity on campus. MANdatory allowed me to develop early in my Dickinson career and connected me with a lot of resources/places that I find myself in today. This organization was the basis of my success while at Dickinson.

What’s Next: I will be joining Bloomberg’s sales & analytics department.

Parting Thoughts: I am extremely proud of and happy with my four years at Dickinson. As I leave, I cannot help but think of something that was said to me as a first-year student: “Dickinson is what you make it.” I plan to take this advice and apply it to wherever I find myself. Knowing that I have the power to shape where I want to be is what will continue to keep me going. 

Watch a video featuring Ian.

Shantel Hernandez

INTERNATIONAL STUDIES (concentration in Latin America and minor in women’s, gender & sexuality studies)

Bronx, New York 

Hernandez 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: SLCE Excellence in the Advancement of Diversity & Social Justice Award for the Latina Discussion Group; Posse Foundation Scholarship; Iota Iota Iota (Women’s & Gender Studies Honor Society); Wheel and Chain  

Study Abroad: Dickinson in South America

Dickinson Moment: Every Latina Discussion Group meeting was meaningful.

What’s Next: I will directly be serving my community as an educator. I hope to transmit as much knowledge, opportunity and confidence as I can to help close the achievement gap. At the same time, I will apply for grad school and serve my communities.

Parting Thoughts: You are not affirmative action. Channel your inner warrior; you carry revolutionary DNA. It is not only about you but those who come before and after you. You are the next ancestor; always honor and celebrate yourself.

Zoe Kiefreider  

ART & ART HISTORY (with honors), POLITICAL SCIENCE

Hawthorne, California 

Kiefrieder global 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Posse Foundation Scholarship; Winner of the First Year Photo Contest and the 2020 Study Abroad Photo Contest; Honorable Mention at the Juried Show (2019, 2020); Mid-Atlantic College and University Housing Officers Award

Study Abroad: Rwanda: After Genocide and Apartheid Mosaic (2019); Málaga, Spain (summer program)

Dickinson Moment: Receiving honors in art & art history during a global pandemic. I always tried to center my research on Latina artists. I would feel defeated after spending hours trying to write a research paper because the literature just didn’t exist. I used this frustration to fuel the art that I made in my studio. I created conceptual art pieces about what it feels like to be in a marginalized group with little to no representation in the contemporary art world. My goal was to create art that dominated the space in such a way that the viewers could not deny my existence and experiences as a Latina woman. I am proud to say that my thesis is being printed, bound and preserved in the Dickinson College Archives and will be published and available on Dickinson Scholar.

What’s Next: After spending four years across the country, I am planning to settle in Los Angeles with my family. In such unprecedented times it is hard to envision what is to come, but for now I am focused on my family’s safety. I plan to organize and archive my artwork to prepare a portfolio for either graduate school or gallery show submissions. The Museum of Latin American Art told me they liked my work. I am excited to see where my path takes me.

Parting Thoughts: Don’t ever feel like you do not deserve to be heard or seen. All those hours I spent in the oversized book and art section were worth the fire that grew inside me and pushed me to make my final pieces of artwork. It fills me with joy to know that someone like me can go to the Dickinson library and find my story—that those who come after me will not feel like they don’t belong in the art world.  

Allison Miller

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

St. Petersburg, Florida 

Allison miller 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades: Baird Sustainability Fellow; Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium Campus Sustainability Champion

Study Abroad: School for Field Studies, Bhutan; Nepal Mosaic; Dickinson Arctic and Alpine Climate Research Experience

Dickinson Moment: The most memorable experience I had at Dickinson was interning at the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE). I’ve been able to work on the BE.Hive on Campus conference, participate in an externship with Rare, meet leaders in the environmental field through the Rose-Walters Prize and much more!

What’s Next: Currently I have internships with EcoChallenge and a local Florida company. I am also working on an environmental advocacy campaign. I am searching for full-time positions that will start in the fall and am particularly interested in positions in international development and sustainability.

Parting Thoughts: Network! The Dickinson alumni network is powerful. Reach out to anyone that you think is doing interesting work and talk with them. Through this network, I gained a mentor and spoke with many alums in my field. I am excited to connect with more Dickinson alumni in the future! 

Watch a video featuring Allison.

Harry Qiu

RUSSIAN, INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

Shanghai, China 

Harry qiu img 1360 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Scholarships: Kenderdine Fund (travel funding for attending the European and Eurasian Undergraduate Research Symposium in Pittsburgh)

Study Abroad: Moscow, Russia

Dickinson Moment: Giving a speech on “Nuances of Nationality Policies in Uzbekistan and Xinjiang” at the European and Eurasian Undergraduate Research Symposium in Pittsburgh in spring 2019.

What’s Next: Attending the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Parting Thoughts: 但行好事, 莫问前程 (Dan Xing Hao Shi, Mo Wen Qian Cheng). Do your best and God will take care of the rest. 

Watch a video featuring Harry.

Austin Seabolt

POLICY MANAGEMENT

Chester Springs, Pennsylvania 

Austin seabolt 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades: Student Leader of the Year Award through Dickinson athletics for work with the Red Devils Sports Network

Athletics: Football and baseball

Dickinson Moment: The first time I picked up a camera and shot an athletic event—it’s when I realized what I wanted to do as a career.

What’s Next: Video production at Villanova University.

Parting Thoughts: Put yourself out there to find something you’re passionate about. Don’t just settle for the career that will make you the most money or give you the most notoriety—find something you truly enjoy doing. 

Nicole Tamvaka

NEUROSCIENCE, MATHEMATICS

Athens, Greece 

Tamvaka nicole 1221 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Alpha Lambda Delta, Pi Mu Epsilon and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies; John Montgomery and Global Campus scholarships

Dickinson Moment: During my senior year, I was chosen to serve as a student interviewer for the admissions office. I am honored to have had the opportunity to represent Dickinson and be trusted to help shape incoming classes of Dickinsonians. Additionally, I traveled home to Greece and introduced Dickinson to the Fulbright Foundation in Athens, as well as my high school, Pierce–The American College of Greece. Through these experiences I not only mastered new skills, but I was able to reflect on my own experiences and appreciate the great impact Dickinson has had on my growth and success.

What’s Next: Pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences.

Parting Thoughts: “Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so that you’re old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.” —excerpt from Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy 

James Turner

EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, HISTORY

Ridgefield, Connecticut 

Turner jimmy 20200221 2019 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society; D3football. com All-South Region; First-Team All-Centennial Conference; ROTC Scholarship; Sergeant Harry Goldberg Military Science Award; ROTC John Dickinson Saber Award; All-Region Football (2018, 2019); Team MVP (2017, 2018, 2019); Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018); Rookie of the Year (2017); Jimmy McGeehan Wearin’ the Red Award

Athletics: Football (captain 2018, 2019)

Dickinson Moment: Beating Franklin & Marshall to win the Wagon.

What’s Next: I will be commissioning as a second lieutenant upon graduation and serving at least four years in the active-duty Army. My plan for after my service time is to be a high-school history teacher.

Parting Thoughts: Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Address your weaknesses, and double down on your strengths. Challenge yourself mentally and physically every day. Challenge your preconceived notions to see other perspectives. Challenge others, and most importantly yourself, to be better.

Elisa Varlotta

MATH, SPANISH

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Elisavarlottam5jo1689 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Study Abroad: Dickinson in South America

Athletics: Tennis (captain senior year)

Dickinson Moment: I have more of a collection of memories. … I remember walking to class through the academic quad with the sun shining down, closing my eyes and feeling grateful; walking to the gym or tennis courts or to practice the violin; going to my little section of the library to study; meeting up for lunch with friends; or just walking to walk through campus, through Carlisle. And while these all may seem like small moments, they made me stop and smile and appreciate the present moment and recognize that I was happy to be right there, happy to be at Dickinson College, and I won’t forget those feelings.

What’s Next: Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Colombia.

Parting Thoughts: We are entering the “real world” at a perfect time to use our voices and our skills to make our world a better place. It is our duty to keep educating ourselves and finding ways to do meaningful work. 

Sam Waltman

EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, HISTORY

Lexington, Kentucky  

Waltman 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies; John Montgomery Scholarship

Dickinson Moment: Fixing my peers’ bicycles at the Handlebar was my favorite part of each week. From learning basic bike repair in my freshman year to running my own open hours, working at such an important oncampus organization was enormously meaningful for me.

What’s Next: I am completing a collections internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall. In the spring, I will be attending George Washington University to earn a master’s degree in museum studies and pursuing my goal of working in museum collections and exhibits.

Parting Thoughts: The most profound impact that professors, staff and supervisors at Dickinson had on me was pushing me to attempt tasks and reach for achievements that I previously thought out of reach. This belief in me helped me grow as a student and as a person and gave me confidence. I believe this to be Dickinson’s greatest strength—the commitment from professors and staff to see students reach their fullest potential.

Justina Warnick

NEUROSCIENCE, SPANISH (chemistry minor)

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 

Warnick 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Lambda Delta and Sigma Delta Pi honor societies; International Horse Show Association All-Academic Award; Forney P. George Scholarship; Mohler Prize; Margaret McAlpin Ramos Award in Spanish; Dickinson College Freshman Chemistry Award; John Montgomery and Mary Dickinson Club scholarships; Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Primary Care Scholarship

Athletics: Equestrian team

Dickinson Moment: Completing a 30-page essay for my Spanish independent study. I combined my passions for film analysis and immigration advocacy in the course I designed titled Intersectionality in Contemporary Spanish Film. I was so proud to have formulated my own thesis and to have eloquently defended it in a 30-page essay in a foreign language.

What’s Next: I will be pursuing an M.D. at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine as a primary care scholar. Currently, I am interested in pediatric medicine, but I am open to exploring other options.

Parting Thoughts: If exactly what you want to do doesn’t exist, invent it. 

Cooper Wingert

HISTORY (with honors)

Enola, Pennsylvania 

Wingert national history academy visit20190709 jo 001 400x400 dsonmagsummer2020Accolades/Scholarships: Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society; Morris W. Prince Prize for Distinguished Work in History; Gilder Lehrman History Scholar; Thomas Morrow Prize in Australian History (University of Queensland)

Study Abroad: Queensland, Australia

Dickinson Moment: As a contributor to the Dickinson and Slavery Project, I worked with fellow students in scouring the college archives for evidence of institutional ties to slavery. Communicating those findings changed the way I viewed the campus. It also underscored in my own eyes the importance of historical work that strives to recover the lives, contributions and experiences of those left out of familiar narratives. I was honored to serve on a committee formed by the President’s Commission on Inclusivity that recommended the renaming of one campus building named after a prominent pro-slavery theorist. In May, the board adopted our recommendations and redesignated the building as Spradley-Young Hall, after two formerly enslaved men—both long overlooked but who profoundly shaped the Dickinson we know today.

What’s Next: Ph.D. in history at Georgetown University.

Parting Thoughts: Never say no to a Dickinson lemon bar. 

Read more from the summer 2020 issue of Dickinson Magazine

TAKE THE NEXT STEPS

 

Published August 17, 2020