By Shannon Sigafoos

Alyssa Megson ’21 hails from New Jersey. Adriana Ventura ’21 came to Lafayette from Texas. And Ayllin Schoengut Hecker ’21, a Bolivian native who grew up in London, ventured across the pond for her college experience. 

That the three connected at Lafayette isn’t surprising. Megson and Ventura shared a first-year-seminar course and ended up getting to know each other relatively quickly. They connected with Schoengut Hecker through living in the same building, and through a mutual friend. It’s the women’s differences, however, that they believe has made their friendship stronger. 

Ayllin Schoengut Hecker '21, Alyssa Megson '21, Adriana Ventura '21 pose together at a football game

Ayllin Schoengut Hecker ’21, Alyssa Megson ’21, Adriana Ventura ’21 at a football game

“I feel the fact that we didn’t have things in common helped our friendship grow. At first, Adriana and I were intrigued by each other because Dallas, Texas and Berkeley Heights, New Jersey are very different places. It’s really interesting meeting people who are diverse,” says Megson. “Our conversations at the beginning were about everything and anything. We learned from each other, and that was the interesting part.”

Their varied backgrounds and diverse life experiences only served to enrich their friendship, as they seamlessly connected with one another. This was especially valuable to Schoengut Hecker, who, being from the UK, recognized that the interests and extracurricular activities she had taken up during high school varied from the experiences of most American students. 

“I did a lot of things in high school that were related to leadership and volunteering, and it took me a minute to embrace my experiences and feel confident in who I am,” recalls Schoengut Hecker. “I feel like that’s important when you meet people, because when they see that you’re genuinely being yourself, they feel more drawn toward you.”

While all three women are chemical engineering majors, they took somewhat different paths over the past four years as far as campus organizations they became part of, and causes they supported. They supported each other through those endeavors, however, whether that meant coming out to be in the audience for dance company shows or volunteering with programs that the others created.

Ayllin Schoengut Hecker '21, Alyssa Megson '21, Adriana Ventura '21 on campus

“We were all part of different activities, but remained connected by including one another in our respective interests,” says Megson. “We’ve definitely always made sure to support each other.” 

Though the three were separated and all at their respective homes throughout the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, they made sure to check in on each other. Being able to connect on the phone or virtually will also come in handy in the future, when they begin jobs, graduate schooling, or new roles. 

“I’m really going to miss our in-person interactions because I know when we’re together, we can speak about so many things and really reflect on whatever the topic might be. Being on campus allows those sporadic moments to happen,” says Schoengut Hecker. “Being away from each other won’t be easy, but we’re going to all make the effort of staying connected with each other.” 

Categorized in: Class of 2021, News and Features, Students