We reached out to seniors to pose the question, “Who inspired you during your Lafayette journey, and why?” The answers we received varied, and included roommates, family members, professors, and mentors. One commonality is that all of the people mentioned brightened and enriched the time that each one of these seniors spent calling College Hill ‘home.’

Caitlyn Dempsey ’22

Who inspired me?

“My freshman year roommate, Donna Hanna ’22, inspires me to be a better person and laugh in the face of stress. She is unashamedly kind, intelligent, funny, and supportive. Donna and I were paired randomly in Ruef our freshman year, and have been inseparable ever since. I’m so grateful for our friendship, and she has truly helped me move through college and pushes me to be a better person. There’s no one quite like Donna Hanna.”–Caitlyn Dempsey ’22

Caitlyn Dempsey ’22 and roommate Donna Hanna ’22 smile

Caitlyn Dempsey ’22 and Donna Hanna ’22

David Bukowski ’22

Who inspired me?

“My time studying with Lewis Baratz has been my most unexpected and most rewarding experience at Lafayette. As a professor and a friend, he helped nurture and engage my newfound passion for the harpsichord and Baroque music. During my time with Prof. Baratz, I have gotten a top-tier musical education, vastly improved my keyboard technique, and met numerous professional early music performers. My fondest memory with Prof. Baratz is playing Concerto for Two Harpsichords in D Major by Antonio Soler with him during a Marquis Consort performance. (If I had been told four years ago that I would perform a harpsichord concerto at Lafayette, I would have asked what a harpsichord was.) I have always loved music, but he helped me discover and explore it in a way I never had before. I’m not a music minor or major, but Prof. Baratz  took my passion for the harpsichord seriously and contributed greatly to my Lafayette liberal arts education. I came to Lafayette knowing nothing about early music, but thanks to Prof. Baratz, I am leaving Lafayette as an early music enthusiast and performer.”–David Bukowski ’22

David Bukowski '22 and Prof. Lewis Baratz smile

David Bukowski ’22 and Prof. Lewis Baratz

Stefano Mancini ’22

Who inspired me?

“I saw Prof. Foroughi’s dedication to student success even further while writing a thesis with her. She regularly went above and beyond in providing support and feedback at all stages of the process, and she challenged me to express my ideas concisely and steep everything I do in the mentalities of early modern England and the critiques of power in feminist theory. I cannot thank her enough for her student engagement and for the work she puts into creating lessons that inspire.”–Stefano Mancini ’22

Stefano Mancini smiles

Stefano Mancini ’22

Madeline Squarcia ’22

Who inspired me?

“There have not been many constants for the past four years. As is quite normal for college students, I have worked slowly, deliberately, and sometimes painfully to ‘find myself’—to come to terms with who I am, and where I am meant to be. This, of course, is an ongoing journey. I owe a great deal to the few constants who have provided me with stable footing to keep moving forward. Christine Cohen (coordinator for leadership and service at the Landis Center) and Prof. Benjamin Cohen (chair of engineering studies) are these constants.

“Since my first year, I have been a part of America Reads, a highly impactful tutoring organization. Christine is the program coordinator—also known as the best boss lady ever! I cannot tell you how many times I have told my friends and family that I literally have the best boss. From her expertly picked meme emails to her regular reminders to ‘take a break’ and ‘go outside and have fun,’ Christine always puts her tutors before herself. She is one of the most selfless, kind-hearted, and respected leaders I know. Her passion for her work with Landis and America Reads inspires me every day. She goes above and beyond what is required of her to ensure that the many tutors she works with feel comfortable and supported in their roles. As the assistant director for America Reads, I have been privy to the little things Christine does to make our work more special, like bringing her signature homemade sweets to every staff meeting. My work and collaboration with Chris have developed my leadership skills, cultivated my passion for environmental education, and helped me find a family of active citizens on campus. I owe a great deal of my happiness and sense of purpose to Christine.

“Prof. Benjamin Cohen has been my academic mentor before he or I knew it. Toward the end of my first year, when I was struggling to know what major should define the rest of my life (of course, a major does not define the rest of one’s life, but this is how it felt at the time), he provided me with guidance and a safe space to work out the knotted web of thoughts that were running through my brain. He heard me say that I am passionate about improving our relationship with the environment, which I now understand to be our sociotechnical and socioenvironmental systems. Prof. Cohen opened the door to the major that allowed me to explore and contextualize my passions. Now, as I am an engineering studies and environmental studies double major, Prof. Cohen acts as my academic, independent study, and food/farm/technology/sustainability/engineering/environmental studies adviser. Through the conversations that Prof. Cohen has facilitated, academic decisions he has advised, and coursework he has assigned, I have cultivated my passion for sustainability and justice. My majors and the support from Prof. Cohen have helped me to develop a deeper understanding of myself and my interests. As a result, I feel confident that I will find a fulfilling and impactful career path.

“Both Prof. Cohen and Christine Cohen have, individually, been by my side through all the trials, tribulations, and successes of my past four years at Lafayette. They have helped pick me up when I was low and honored my accomplishments as if they were their own. They help me see the best in myself and ensure that I never sell myself short. They are my mentors, cheerleaders, teachers, and friends. I could not be more grateful to have had their constant positive presence in my life. I know that their impact reaches far beyond just me, and I will carry the lessons they have taught me about myself and life throughout the rest of my journey. Thank you to both of you for keeping me grounded through these crazy, unpredictable, and transformative years. I am forever grateful!”–Madeline Squarcia ’22

Madeline Squarcia '22 smiles

Madeline Squarcia ’22

Lucy Kade '22

Who inspired me?

“I began college not knowing what to expect and had a difficult freshman year. I called my parents a lot (maybe TOO frequently), and my dad always picked up the phone no matter where he was—work, home, or even grocery shopping. He has always given me great advice, and advice that I didn’t appreciate until I got to college and could actually put it to the test. His motto is ‘try new things,’ which I remind myself every time I am confronted with an opportunity to join a club or committee or pick a new ice cream flavor. He has been an endless source of optimism for me even when battling his own three autoimmune diseases or dodging COVID. I wouldn’t be in the spot I am today without his encouragement—or his readiness to answer the phone.” – Lucy Kade ’22

Lucy Kade '22 jumps in the air with arms up, in front of a scenic view.

Lucy Kade ’22

Billy Devito ’22

Who inspired me?

“There are numerous professors I would love to acknowledge who have inspired me to reach the highest accolades of my academic and professional careers. As a government/law and theater double major, I would have to say that Prof. Bruce Murphy and Prof. Josh Miller in the Gov/Law Department have been there for me since day one, and have helped me in my ever-challenging Lafayette journey. Prof. Suzanne Westfall and Prof. Michael O’Neill have done the same on the theater end. These professors have made my Lafayette experience all the more incredible, and I will never be able to thank them enough!”–Billy Devito ’22

Billy Devito '22 smiles

Billy Devito ’22

Ed Martin ’22

Who inspired me?

“After scandalous flyers were placed around campus advertising essay writing services to students of the College in 1979, the editor-in-chief of The Lafayette was quick to respond, as upon ‘an initial glance at these flyers, headlined The Campus News, might have led one to think The Lafayette had been replaced by another journal.’ Although the article remarks that it ‘seems like these people can really do a lot for the average student,’ the author asks students why they would ‘pay for it twice.’ He further explained that ‘when you pay tuition at the beginning of each semester, you gain access to certain resources and privileges that outsiders cannot use,’ and that ‘Lafayette’s faculty (in conjunction with the individual student) will provide any of the services listed above—and do a better job of it.’ In a parting bit of wisdom, the author argues that ‘an education is built on trust,’ and that ‘our instructors here, at Lafayette, are not so far removed from the students that they cannot understand the problems students face.’ Instead, he argues that ‘openness and sincerity are the only way an academic institution can survive,’ reminding students that ‘we are here to get an education and to learn how to think—not how to cut corners.’

“The editorial, signed E.P. III, was just one of many that my late uncle, Edward Petraiuolo III, wrote in his time at Lafayette. While unfortunately never getting to meet my uncle, I was left with perhaps one of his most precious possessions: his name. As a history student, I am constantly asked to examine the past and try to understand it within a modern framework. Since coming to Lafayette, I have been trying to do the same with my uncle’s legacy. Much like him, I came to College Hill to ‘get an education and to learn how to think.’ While the former is quickly coming to an end, the latter is a lifelong goal to which I hope to apply all the education I have received here. As my uncle before me, I cannot express the privilege I have been given by being able to attend Lafayette, nor can I state just how helpful my professors were, being just as helpful as my uncle said they would be.

“Although my time at Lafayette is dwindling, my uncle’s legacy will continue to serve as my inspiration, as he not only exemplified who I hope to be as an Edward, but also as a Leopard—never cutting corners and always aiming higher.”–Ed Martin ’22

Ed Martin '22 smiles

Ed Martin ’22

Categorized in: Class of 2022, Commencement 2022, Featured News, News and Features

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