Ry Stratton smiles

Major: Government and law, minor in music 

Co-curriculars: Kappa Kappa Gamma (chapter president, recipient of Lafayette College President of the Year, Chapter of the Year, and Excellence in Academic Achievement awards under leadership), writing associate with the College Writing Program, music theory tutor with The Resource Hub (MUS121: Music Theory I and MUS222: Music Theory II), representative on Government and Law Student Hiring Committee, academic research assistant for Prof. Joshua Miller (2021), Government and law laboratory under the leadership of Prof. Andrew Clarke (2020-2021), Concert Choir (2019-2020), recipient of honors in Government and Law Department for thesis “Tunnel Vision: Examining Far-Right Radicalization as We Are ‘Glued to Our Screens,’” recipient of Minerva and Emil V. Novak Prize, recipient of Eugene P. Chase Phi Beta Kappa Prize, Pi Sigma Alpha

Post-graduation plans: Attending Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

What's the most important thing you learned at Lafayette?

The most important thing I have learned in my time at Lafayette is that the most valuable investment you can make at this age is in yourself. College, by its very definition, is such an investment. Not only was this education an investment into my intellectual and career development, but the Lafayette experience shaped my development as an individual. If my high school self were to meet me now, she would not recognize the amount of confidence I have gained in the past four years. It is putting effort into myself that has enabled this growth. Whether it is discovering new hobbies, learning about yourself, or finding an empowering circle, to prioritize your own development at this age is paramount.

What one lesson or memory from Lafayette will remain with you for the rest of your life?

Ironically, my most memorable experience at Lafayette is the one year where I was not on campus. 2020 was the worst year of my life, yet also the one that brought me the most growth. To much of the Class of 2023, it felt as though we finally adjusted to college and had our entire sense of familiarity ripped away. We lived in uncertainty, not knowing when—or if—we’d ever regain what we had grown to love. Lafayette promised us a return come fall, and all seemed well until they pulled out the rug in July. Living in this state of uncertainty, while heart wrenching, made my peers and I learn to ‘make do.’ We created our own backup plans and tried to make the most of an unfortunate situation. And unexpectedly, I look back on fall 2020 with fondness and admiration. My friends and I took our ‘making do’ and made something great.

What advice would you give to high school students who are considering Lafayette?

As I admire the accomplishments of those around me, I’ve found that there are two primary ways to flourish at Lafayette: You can grow wide branches or you can grow deep roots. Many of my peers take the former route, extending their branches across a variety of co-curricular and academic activities. But in my case, I’ve found the greatest opportunity when I extended my roots deep into the things about which I was passionate. In my major, I became involved in extracurricular research, faculty hiring, and pushed myself to receive honors. Within my sorority, I challenged myself to take on the role of president. As a Music Theory tutor and writing associate, I have actively sought to make education more accessible while fostering personal connections with students from all walks of campus life. In prioritizing my roots—my major, my sorority, and education—rather than my branches, I have formed lifelong connections across the Lafayette community. So, prospective students, when you admire the Lafayette community around you, don’t feel pressured to expand your branches as wide as possible. To people like me, finding your niche and extending deep roots is far more rewarding.

Student Spotlight

Meet the 2023 valedictorians

Congratulations to these 15 academic stars, who are poised to take on the world and make a difference across a gamut of professional fields.

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Categorized in: Academic News, Class of 2023, Commencement 2023, Government and Law, Music, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students