Before coming to Dickinson, Emerlee Simons ’24 was a competitive Irish dancer who competed in national and international arenas. Now, she’s an All-American and Centennial Conference (CC) All-Sportsmanship student-athlete, Baird Sustainability Fellow and Presidential Scholarship awardee. She is also a student-program coordinator for Dickinson’s Dialogues Across Differences program, and she’s served two internships so far, including one that offered the opportunity to help plan the New Jersey governor’s 2022 Conference on Housing and Economic Development. Below, she discusses the class that took her out into the regional migrant community to assist essential workers, her love of finding connections between her areas of study and more.
Princeton, New Jersey.
Clubs and organizations:
Track and field, Dialogues Across Differences (program coordinator), American Studies Majors Committee, Multilingual Writing Center (Spanish tutor), Spanish Majors Committee, Spanish Club and Orientation (assistant).
Presidential Scholarship, Amy Snow Prize, Baird Sustainability Fellow, Sigma Delta Pi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Dean’s List, Centennial Conference All-Sportsmanship Team and USTFCCCA Academic All-American.
On choosing Dickinson:
Given that I hadn’t decided on a major yet, my college search was focused on liberal-arts colleges that would provide me with the opportunity to explore a variety of academic interests. Having attended a small high school, I valued the close relationships that can be built in a tight-knit community of excellence, and I sought to replicate that environment in college. I was also attracted to Dickinson for its commitment to internationalism, in large part due to my experiences living abroad during childhood and adolescence. Finally, I was looking for a Division III track and field program that would support my athletic, academic and personal pursuits. These criteria, combined with the college’s beautiful campus, welcoming community and generous scholarship support, made Dickinson an easy choice for me.
Favorite place on campus:
Biddle Field at sunset.
Best thing about my majors:
I was drawn to American studies because of its interdisciplinarity; the major encompasses a fusion of ideas that cover history, literature, political science and more. American studies is not exclusively a study of America. The major emphasizes a transnational focus, which complements the work in my Spanish major and minor in Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean studies. I am constantly drawing connections between all of my classes and beyond, which has stimulated fascinating ideas that are readily applicable to contemporary events.
During fall of my sophomore year, I took a class with Lecturer in Spanish Asunción Arnedo titled Spanish for the Health Professions. The course had a service-learning component through the Keystone Health Agricultural Workers Program; my peers and I traveled throughout the Cumberland Valley to serve as medical interpreters for Spanish speaking, migrant farmworkers. We often went directly to the farms where they live and work, staying late into the night to provide Covid-19 vaccines. It was gratifying to help people who may have struggled to access vaccination services otherwise. The workers helped me with my Spanish, while I helped them with their English; it was beautiful to build mutually beneficial, cross-cultural relationships with these individuals.
About my internships:
Last summer, I was a marketing intern at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The agency plays an important role in providing access to affordable housing in my home state of New Jersey, and I was proud to be part of this work. As part of my role, I also helped organize the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development, which was a joint effort across multiple government agencies via Microsoft Teams. I learned a lot about social media management, event planning, writing and editing and translating documents into Spanish.
In summer 2023, I was a strategic communications intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, where I split my time between the messaging and digital-content strategy teams. I learned how to devise a targeted approach to the planning, creation and publication of both written and creative content. I also was in charge of the weekly newsletter, wrote articles for our bank intranet and led a social-media campaign designed to market our interns to internal and external audiences. I found that working for such a historic institution was not only a valuable opportunity to develop my professional skills but also to learn about the federal-reserve system and its importance in our society.
I was a competitive Irish dancer for more than a decade. I reached the highest of six levels and had the opportunity to compete at both national and international competitions. Irish dancing has given me a greater sense of connection to my heritage, while also teaching me life lessons that I continue to use as a sprinter and college student. I am now pursuing a rigorous process to receive certification as an Irish dance teacher.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published August 17, 2023