These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things: Reflections on SJU from the Class of 2020

by Amelia Bielefeld, Annamarie Glaser, Lindsay Miller, Corinne Merlino and Isabella Succi

Amelia Bielefeld (Biology): Something that has really stuck out to me after almost four years at SJU is the amount of opportunities we are presented with, not to mention the diversity of these opportunities as well.  I have met some amazing mentors who are always ready to give advice and are there to help me as much as they can. Through these mentors, I have been able to do many things I may not have been able to do elsewhere, including research I’m really interested in. I’ve even been able to present this research at a conference in California.  And this summer, I went on a study tour of Cuba. Even with the flexibility of our class schedules, I have been able to take classes I would not have expected to take before coming to college.  As a science major, I have had room for many philosophy and ethics courses that have broadened my mindset and taught me new ways of thinking.  I also took photography and painting courses, two things I have always wanted to explore further.  All of these things, courtesy of SJU, have helped me become a more well-rounded individual.

Annamarie Glaser (Biology & Philosophy): As I start my final year at SJU, I have so many memories to look back on from my years here. There are countless things that I have loved about my time at SJU–the campus, the people, the opportunities to learn and grow. But what stands out to me the most are the professors. I know this may sound strange, but it was truly the professors here at St. Joe’s that have kept me inspired throughout the years. I fully believe that you will find no better group of teachers at any other school.  Most of our professors not only care if you come to class, but actually care about how much you learn from them. The small classes here allow you to build relationships with your lecturers, and I have found this to be extremely helpful. In particular, I appreciate the close relationship I have been able to form with my McNulty faculty mentor, Dr. Catalina Arango. Her guidance has been crucial to me during my time here. While I love SJU with all of my heart, there is now doubt that Dr. Arango and all of the professors are the best thing about this university.

Lindsay Miller (Mathematics & Actuarial Science): As I begin my senior year at SJU. there are numerous experiences I look back on fondly because of this school. I have made decisions that pushed me out of my comfort zone and I have great memories from service, internships and organizations I’ve joined.  However I think the best decision I made so far was studying abroad. I studied in Rome, Italy during the Spring 2019 semester. I always talked about studying abroad, but as more time at SJU passed and my schedule became busier and busier, the idea seemed too difficult to make a reality. However once I decided to go for it, I had all the resources I needed at SJU to pull it off. I consulted my academic advisors to help me plan my course schedule for my semester abroad AND all the semesters preceding it as well.  Certain classes, especially upper-levels, are only offered once a year, so I had to be intentional about selecting courses to fulfill requirements. Additionally, the Center for International Programs (CIP) is a tremendous resource on campus. They were there to provide support through the entire process (from picking the city I would stay in to arranging my student visa) and helped to make me feel excited and prepared, rather than nervous and overwhelmed. Now that I’ve been home for a few months, I miss Rome, traveling every weekend, and everything else about my adventure abroad.  But I look back on the experience with nothing but love and gratitude. Each person’s experience is different, but I cannot recommend spending a semester abroad more!

Corinne Merlino (Biology): Although preparing for my fourth and final year at SJU has been bittersweet, reflecting on my time here leaves me feeling nothing but gratitude. Gratitude for the people I’ve met, both my peers and faculty. Gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had. And most of all, gratitude for the endless support I’ve felt from this community here at SJU. Coming in as a freshman biology major, I expected my classes to weed people out. I thought my classmates would be cut-throat and competitive. But instead, my teachers only wanted me to succeed and spent as much time as it took to help me grasp concepts I didn’t understand. I also found that rather than being competitive, my peers were just as nervous as I was, and we spent late nights in the library studying together for exams. At the end of my freshman year, I was nervous to ask one of my professors if I could do research in her lab.  If it wasn’t for an older student convincing me that I was qualified and helping me with my application, I never would have pursued this opportunity.  Writing this as a senior, I truly believe that I wouldn’t be the student, researcher and person I am today without the support of my McNulty Program faculty mentor, Dr. Julia Lee-Soety. Whether it was supporting me in the lab as a Summer Scholar, inviting me to travel with her to conferences or giving me career advice, she always welcomed me into her office to talk (and vent!). Saint Joe’s is a community that is overflowing with support for the big and the little things, and that is, by far and way, my favorite thing about this place.

Bella Succi (Biology): After four years at SJU, I have found certain things here that mean a lot to me. In particular, I found the Science Center to be a home base. Don’t get me wrong! It isn’t exactly homey with its cinderblock walls and rooms full of hardtop lab benches. But somehow after all this time, it has become where I feel most comfortable on campus. Although the physical make-up of the Science Center isn’t the most welcoming, the people inside make it one of my favorite places at SJU. Every time I step through the doors, I am guaranteed to see a friendly face and have a quick conversation. This warmness even extends into the later hours of the night. There have been many nights studying for exams or running experiments when I have stumbled across another Hawk in the same situation who is willing to offer a word encouragement (or maybe a cup of coffee). The Science Center offers me a close-knit community among students and faculty alike, and a safe haven from the day-to-day chaos of college life, making it a place that is integral to my SJU experience.