Class of 2022 valedictorian Allison Paglia standing outdoors with trees in the background

Allison Paglia ’22

Major: Economics, psychology

Co-curriculars: Club Ultimate Frisbee, Recreation Services Media and Marketing Team, Alpha Phi Omega, Easton Elementary Pen Pal program, Orientation leader, Gateway ambassador

Post-graduation plans: Working as a marketing automation associate at iCIMS, a New Jersey-based HR tech company; taking time off over the summer to study international marketing in Italy

Describe your senior year in three words.

I’m going to take some liberty here and use four: challenging in unexpected ways.

I’ve been faced with more instances of conflict resolution, crisis management, and maintaining group harmony than I would’ve ever expected out of senior year. It was anything but relaxing, but I’m glad those experiences have helped me grow as a person.

What does being valedictorian mean to you?

While none of my academic efforts were in pursuit of a title or honor, it is nice to be recognized for the energy I put into my schoolwork over the last four years. Being a valedictorian doesn’t necessarily mean I was the smartest person in the classroom. Often, I was not. Yet, I worked hard to achieve my academic goals. I’m proud of myself for accomplishing something I set out to do freshman year.

What’s your favorite Lafayette memory?

All of the late-night Ultimate Frisbee practices on Fisher Field. I remember visiting Lafayette as a prospective student and looking down at the football field, thinking, ‘I won’t be spending much time here.’ Little did I know I would spend four hours a week on that field, practicing under the lights with my teammates. I’m not a varsity athlete, but somehow Fisher Field still feels like home to me.

What’s the most impactful class you took?

I really enjoyed Prof. Susan Basow’s Cross-Cultural Psychology class and Prof. Andrew Vinchur’s Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology class. In Cross-Cultural Psych, we talked about how our own unique culture changes the way we think, act, and even perceive the world. Learning the science behind it was fascinating, and the lessons I learned still inform me in my everyday life. I also loved I-O psych, which is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes in the workplace. I learned a lot of practical information about how humans operate within organizations. Applying scientific theories to increase human productivity and effectiveness in the workplace is knowledge I hope to carry into my career.

Who was the most influential person during your time at the College?

Jodie Frey, director of Recreation Services, put a lot of trust in me to lead the department’s Marketing and Media Team for the last three years. I began with very little experience, but by the end of senior year, I grew much more confident in my ability to manage a productive and successful team. From day one she allowed me the space to experiment and grow into a better leader, and I am so thankful for that.

What will you miss most about Laf?

It’s so easy to grow as a person in college. Every day you meet new people, face new challenges, and learn new lessons. I’m going to miss the constant growth I’ve experienced at Lafayette, and all of the professors and friends who were a part of that journey.

Describe your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.

Sophomore year I got super sick with mono. For nearly two months, severe fatigue and headaches impacted my ability to maintain a hectic schedule. It slowed me down dramatically from the fast pace of life I was used to—and I hated it. I was forced to practice patience with myself. In the end, I learned how to adjust my expectations and be proud of small wins. Somehow, I managed to never miss a class during my bout of mono. Looking back and remembering how poorly I felt at the time, I truly don’t know how I did it.

What do you wish for your fellow graduating classmates?

Keep in touch! I know it’s easy to get lost in the chaos of adult life and transitioning into the workforce, but remember to reach out to those who made your Lafayette experience special. Now is the time to maintain those connections, or you might risk losing relationships you can’t replicate somewhere else.

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

Get meals with more people, not just the people you see all the time.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with upcoming seniors?

Do something you didn’t do over the last three years, whether that be joining a new club, taking a Group Fit class, playing an intramural sport with your friends, or spending time in new locations. Now that I’m leaving, I’m thinking back to all of the things I haven’t experienced at Lafayette. Grow your list of new experiences during your senior year so that you graduate with no (or at least fewer) regrets.

How has Lafayette changed you?

When I left high school, I thought I was done with sports forever. However, I discovered Ultimate Frisbee at Lafayette and have grown to love it more than any sport I played growing up. I’ll be living in the Lehigh Valley for the next year, and I already have plans to join club teams and a league in the area. My time at Lafayette convinced me to reconsider my relationship with team sports and even pursue them after college!

How do you hope to change the world?

I try to always smile when I enter a room. It’s something small, but entering with a smile tends to make others smile. The more we get the world smiling, the better.

The most important thing you learned about yourself at Lafayette is:

My time and energy are limited. While that is an incredibly frustrating lesson to learn, I’ve come to terms with the reality that I can’t do everything. It simply means I have to be more mindful of where and how I devote my time.

Commencement Highlights

Lafayette College's 187th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 21

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Categorized in: Academic News, Class of 2022, Commencement 2022, Economics, News and Features, Psychology, Student Profiles, Students