Student Snapshot: Arwyn Forbes ’25

Forbes '25

Student-athlete Arwyn Forbes ’25 enjoys the deep and wide research and writing opportunities a major in American studies and an English minor bring. They've interned with Dickinson’s House Divided Project, a writing-intensive position. Through that involvement, they worked with high-school students in an advanced history summer course, and they appreciated the chance to help teach and mentor younger students while honing writing, research and presentation skills. The track-and-field athlete also holds a school record for discus throw.


Butler, Pennsylvania.


American studies, with a minor in English.

Clubs and organizations:  

Track and field and club basketball.

Change A Life, Change the WorldHonors/scholarships/awards:

John Dickinson and Presidential scholarships.

Favorite book:

There are so many! A graphic novel which I’ve reread quite a few times is The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. 

Best thing about my Dickinson experience so far:

Figuring out how I want to express myself gender-wise in such a welcoming environment has been fantastic. I’ve had a lot of style development over the past couple of years.

I’ve also enjoyed the sheer breadth of knowledge available in each of my classes. Research is something I tend to enjoy, and my American studies and English classes have set me up to apply theory and critical analysis to current-day goings-on and figure out why global and/or national cultural climates are how they are. Thanks to Dickinson’s brilliant professors, my understanding of the world around me has deepened considerably.

Favorite place on campus:

Either the Kline/Durden Center or Spradley-Young’s bike dungeon.

Best thing about my major:

The Department of American Studies prides itself on how interdisciplinary it is in practice. Before I got to college, I was enthusiastically interested in politics, psychology, English, women’s & gender studies and history. I assumed that I would have to narrow my focus. The Department of American Studies, however, has allowed me to delve into all my interests without sacrificing getting a degree in a timely manner, and has even provided me with more useful lenses through which to investigate my passions.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… an astronaut, then a veterinarian, then a writer.  

Favorite class:

Multiculturalism: Race, Rhetoric, and Writing, taught by Assistant Professor of English Sheela Jane Menon. Professor Menon is very obviously passionate about the subjects she covers, and that enthusiasm amplifies how fascinating the source material (for example, the state-sustained racial politics of Malaysia or the legacy of systemic racism in America) is. Discussion flowed easily, and my genius classmates volunteered insightful analysis. 

About my internship:

I work under Professor of History Matthew Pinsker for the House Divided Project, which focuses on educating both people directly involved with Dickinson as well as the general public surrounding campus about Dickinson College’s history concerning slavery and civil rights.

Last summer, Professor Pinsker offered me an on-campus internship with the Knowledge for Freedom program, which offers primarily low-income and first-generation high-school juniors the opportunity to get a taste of the college experience academically and socially, while also providing a chance for them to earn a college credit and letters of recommendation from college professors.

I was excited to help the students figure out useful study habits, tutor them in mastering website-creation and video-making software, and generally be the sort of slightly older, helpful presence I would have appreciated as a first-year. Instructing without being overbearing, compiling historical information and using it to write informatively and compellingly with a pressing deadline and creating a spectacular (if I do say so myself) game-night PowerPoint presentation, which amused high schoolers and graduate students alike were all valuable skills I gleaned from the five-week experience.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

It’s important to agree to a wide array of opportunities when first settling into college, even if the ventures seem initially out of one’s comfort zone. It was extremely helpful to me to say “yes” when people have invited me to club meetings or hangouts and to accept an internship that required a level of extroversion I don’t usually exhibit. I’ve grown a ton in confidence along the way.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published August 4, 2023