Princess Adeyinka ’20, anthropology and sociology, government and law

Inspiration: her mom

“She has inspired me in so many ways, and a lot of what I do is to make her proud and to know that her sacrifices were never in vain.”

“The lion is often called the king of the jungle, but I think everyone knows that it’s the lioness who actually runs it, especially when it comes to her cubs. That’s my mother! She will fight tooth and nail to protect her children and has been doing so since the day I was born. When I was 5 years old, my mother brought me and my younger brother to America for a chance at a better life, like so many immigrants. Leaving Nigeria wasn’t really hard for me, I mean I was just a child. But I know it was very difficult for my mother. To have to leave her sister, her brother, and her mother behind to ensure our safety was one of the bravest things she’s done, amongst many. She has inspired me in so many ways, and a lot of what I do is to make her proud and to know that her sacrifices were never in vain.”

 

 

Rosie Rivera ’20, government & law, Spanish, classical civilization

Inspiration: Markus Dubischar, associate professor of classics

“I cannot, and do not, want to imagine what my college career would have been like without Professor Dubischar, and I will never be able to thank him enough!”

“Both of my parents are Latino immigrants—my mom is from a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico, and my dad was from Chalatenango, El Salvador. My dad passed away when I was 2 1/2 years old, so my mom raised me and my sister on her own. Spanish is my first language, but I learned English shortly after beginning preschool. After spending most of elementary and middle school thinking I wanted to be a scientist or a doctor, I discovered my love for literature, history, and language in high school. My Latin classes captured all of these subjects in one, and I fell totally in love. I carried this love into college but wasn’t sure I could do anything with it—because what could a major in Classics offer me after graduation? As a first-generation college student, I didn’t want to let my family down and waste the amazing opportunity I had been given through Posse: to attend a prestigious liberal arts college with a full-tuition scholarship and a built-in support network both on campus and back home. But, I met Professor Dubischar during XLC, sat in on his mini-mythology course, and immediately decided that I needed to learn more from him. Fortunately, he was offering a class on Greek Tragedy that fall, and I made sure I was in it. Before I knew it, I had enough classes for a minor and figured why not just major! From visiting during his office hours to running into each other on the fourth floor of Pardee to grabbing coffee from Skillman or smoothies from Mojo, Professor Dubischar quickly became not only my favorite professor but also one of my favorite people on campus. We can talk about almost anything—usually we start off discussing something Classic-y, like the double burial in Antigone, and somehow end up debating whether or not chocolate and mint should mix (they should). I cannot, and do not, want to imagine what my college career would have been like without Professor Dubischar, and I will never be able to thank him enough!”

 

 

Kaila Aguerre ’20, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, art

Inspiration: an old friend

“Although Chris is physically no longer here, he’s always with me, always reminding me to take it one step at a time. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.”

“I got a call late in August 2018 one night from my brother: Our friend, Chris, had committed suicide. You see, I met Chris when I was 14, a severely depressed girl, lost with who she was and who she wanted to be. Chris, without me knowing it, had shown me that I was worthy of this life, that I could do anything that I had wanted to. And what destroys me, is that I never told Chris how much he meant to me. In December 2018, I let Chris know how much he means to me: I ran my first race, a marathon, in his honor. He was rightI could do anything I set my heart to. Although Chris is physically no longer here, he’s always with me, always reminding me to take it one step at a time. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him. And I now call myself a marathon runner.”

 

Ayat Husseini ’20, international affairs, anthropology and sociology

Inspiration: Robert Blunt, associate professor of religious studies

“In the three years I’ve known him, Professor Blunt has shown me so much empathy and kindness. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for his support.”

“Professor Blunt has been central to my academic and personal development. As my professor, he pushed me to engage critically with difficult texts and to write with clarity and poise. As my mentor, he has helped me navigate difficult situations and figure out what I want to do in the world. He has pushed me to listen to myself and to become who I want to be, rather than who I think others want me to be. In the three years I’ve known him, Professor Blunt has shown me so much empathy and kindness. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for his support.”

 

Nyla Durdin ’20, international affairs

Inspiration: her mom

“She is a badass, intelligent, and incredible force to be reckoned with. She’s the reason I am all that I am.”

“When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was when my mom and I would pretend we were sisters when out in public. We’d be eating at a restaurant or out shopping, and I’d ask her questions about when ‘mom’ wanted us home and say the things I thought a younger sister would say. I think it’s because I desired the type of relationship I thought a sibling would bring. It worked, and people believed us because my mom looked very young. She was young. She had me when she was 24. She is also very small—she’ll say 5 foot 3, but I’m thinking a solid 5 feet sounds more accurate. The sister game never lasted, and by the time we were back at home, she instantly shifted back into mom mode. She had to, because for so many years, it was just me and her. She had to be good cop, bad cop, mentor, discipliner, my No. 1 fan, and everything in between. Can you imagine having to do it all? My mom is tough; she’s the kind of parent that knows where I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m with, but is still, somehow, the ‘cool’ mom. I always did and always will tell her everything. I never felt like I had to lie or keep things from her growing up, except, of course, for those couple times in high school when I was sleeping at ‘Nicole’s house.’ Her girlfriends call her “tiny angry Asian,” which is equally hilarious as it is true. She made me realize at a very young age that there is nothing stronger in the world than independent, tough, resilient women. When I was little she would ask me, every single day, ‘What’s more important than good looks?’ to which I would reply, ‘good brains!’ There’s nothing more powerful, nothing more impressive, and nothing more special than this relationship my mom cultivated and the life she gave me. She is a badass, intelligent, and incredible force to be reckoned with. She’s the reason I am all that I am.”

 

 

Categorized in: 2020 Celebrations, Commencement 2020, Featured News, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students

1 Comment

  1. Amy Blythe, Director of Parent & Family Relations says:

    FAVORITE story of the season! Thank you for sharing your inspiration and for sharing YOU with us. You will all do great things!

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