BackgroundInterview Date:October 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Queer
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school in Pennsylvania with a graduating class of about 500 students. There was somewhat of a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: Environmental Science
Minor: Earth and Planetary Science
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in EROS which is an LGBT Alliance group, Student Environmental Alliance (SEA), and Food Recovery Network
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
I would say SEA because I’ve been in it my entire time here and have even gotten multiple jobs from it.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It’s mostly lab work. Every few weeks there is a test that you’ve been studying for.
Is there anything you feel the Environmental Science department does especially well or poorly?
I think they do a lot of great work with getting you actual real-world experience. You go out in the field and do things. I’ve never had a problem with not being able to find a job because they’re always sending us internship and job opportunities. We have a partnership with NOAA so that they have to take a certain amount of Washington College students each summer.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s pretty collaborative. They usually have us working in groups, and, even if it’s not a group project, we usually end up working in groups anyways.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Exploring Solid Earth
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Earth, Atmosphere, and the Environment
How accessible have your professors been?
Extremely. I can contact them by email all the time. I can just walk into their offices when I want to. I even text with some of them. They’re very easy to get a hold of.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m very happy with my major choice. I chose it because I’ve always loved all sorts of sciences and I’m very passionate about the environment, so I put them into one.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: I started Queen Anne’s Hall in a double and then moved to Worcester Hall in a single.
Sophomore: East Hall in a single.
Junior: Sassafras hall in a single.
What has been your favorite living situation?
How was transitioning from your town in Pennsylvania to Chestertown, MD?
It’s been great actually. I really like the town here better than at home. There’s a lot more to do here for me at least. I know a lot of people might complain about there not being a lot to do, but, compared to my hometown, there’s a lot to do.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve experienced a great level of safety. I’ve been through some situations where I’ve had safety scares and public safety has always had my back and nothing bad has happened.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Luisa’s Cucina Italiana
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I guess anywhere that is a park or where you can hike.
Pros and cons of being in Chestertown, MD?
Pros: (1) It has a lot of opportunities for Environmental Science majors.
(2) It has a charm to it. Everyone here is really friendly.
(3) I really like First Fridays when the galleries open up.
Cons: The nearest Wal-Mart is in Delaware about 30-minutes away. That can be frustrating sometimes.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
I like to get my work done on the weekends and do some jobs that I have. If I’m not doing that, I’m probably doing crafts or watching shows or something.
What have been some of your favorite times at school so far?
I really like when they have Shore Fest and Fall Fest before final exams and those are a lot of fun.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through the classes that I’m in. Most of them are in my major.
How would you describe the social scene?
There is Greek life here, so they usually have some sort of party. There are athletes, and many of the teams have their own house off campus. There are many international students who hang out together and they all live together and make food on the weekends. [There are about 128 international students at Washington College.]
Has being a person who identifies as LGBT influenced your social scene?
No, I don’t think so. I’ve never had a problem with anybody.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
It depends on who you’re talking about. A lot of the Asian students do not typically mix with the other students. LGBT students usually mix. Black Student Union and Cleopatra’s Sisters like to hang out with each other, but they don’t shy away from anybody who’s not in their organization either.
How was transitioning from a big high school to a small college?
I don’t think I felt a difference. I think I like [Washington College’s size] better. I like having the one on one time with professors and other students. I feel like I’m paid more attention to.
Do you feel people are generally happy with their choice of Washington College by senior year?
I’d say so, yes. Most people, if they have a problem with the college, they’ll still like the school but they’ll have a problem with how the administration handled a situation.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not particularly, but I’ve talked to them about jobs in the future.
Have you used the career center? If so, how helpful were they?
It’s been extremely helpful. They’ve helped me polish my resume. They have a career closet and they’ll give you clothes if you don’t have anything that fits you for an interview. They do practice interviews with you so you know what to expect. I’ve also done their career fairs.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
I have. We have a GIS lab as part of the school. I’m also learning how to code in Python and C++ on my own.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating are they to your needs?
I do use financial aid. I’ve actually never spoken with the office. They apply it automatically, so things have been pretty smooth.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Washington College before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that I should have a car. During freshman year I couldn’t drive, so I couldn’t go anywhere and felt like I was stuck.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If there is a local festival going on, check it out. There’s usually a parade every single holiday. There’s a farmer’s market on Saturdays and First Fridays on the first Fridays of the month.
What is something a prospective Queer student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
We have a club called EROS on campus that is encouraging respect for sexuality. It is extremely helpful. I’ve never faced any hate or anything. The campus is pretty accepting. There’s also a local chapter of PFLAG, which is really accommodating if you’re ever having problems paying for things or if you’re transitioning they’ll help you find groups to pay for things.
Reasons to attend Washington College:
1) It’s a great place to get close with a professor. If you’re going to grad school, you form great relationships with them so they’re more likely to write you a recommendation. It also means you get more time to ask questions.
2) For Environmental Science majors, it’s right on the Chesapeake Bay, so it’s one of the best places in the nation to go for Environmental Science. You have a lot of partnerships with local places, like bird banding stations and all sorts of things.
Reasons to not attend Washington College:
1) The professors actually know when you’re not attending class. If you’re not going or slacking off you’ll probably get an email about it.
2) You have to have a car here if you want to go somewhere.