Sewanee is full of extraordinary people with fascinating stories. Here they share those stories–in their own words.

Winnie Pajcic, C’25

"I wore a weighted vest, sweatpants, and sweatshirt for all my training to get ready to wear all the gear. It’s hot—but so is fire. Mentally, you have to be able to stay tough. I learned that on the lacrosse field. You get beaten down and then you pick yourself up, because you have teammates around you who need your help. "

Felix Wilson, C’23

"Part of why I became a religious studies major was my curiosity about the world around me and other people’s perspectives. These ongoing service projects have been a great way to explore those ideas in an immediate way. I’ve always known Sewanee, but now I’ve found a new place for myself here. And it’s a place of purpose."

Tari Kandemiri, C’18

"Two years ago, I got a DM from someone I didn’t know. I looked at her bio and it said 'ESPN.' It turned out that she was a producer approaching me about hosting a halftime show during the college women's lacrosse season."

Claire Strysick, C’23

"I think that’s one of the unique things about Sewanee: There is so much research happening here and there are so many ways for students to get involved. That isn't something that every college student gets to do. So I’m grateful because I’ve been able to do more than just figure out what I want to do for a future career—I’ve had the chance to already start doing it."

Cameron Noel, C’21

"I would often look at so many plays and movies and find myself complaining, ‘Where are the characters who look like me?’ And I thought, ‘Well, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, then go write what you do want to see.’ I want to take what I’ve learned and write those stories for my community."

Kenedi Clinton, C’24

"In eight weeks, we took 5.5 million patient visits worth of data, scrubbed it and filtered it, determined a means of identifying overuse, and built out an interactive dashboard for SCHN to visualize how different factors contributed to overuse. We managed to show that ER overuse in the region is more than double the national average and determine where primary and urgent care centers were most needed and which conditions were most commonly associated with ER visits classified as overuse."

Cuca Ramirez, C'24

"We talk a lot about women in STEM, but for me it's more complex in that I have different identities. I'm a first-generation college student, my parents are not fluent in English, and I'm Latina, among other factors. I think some people are surprised to see someone who looks like me in the lab and their notions of what a researcher is might be questioned–and I'm fine with that."

Cathy Carlisi, C’89

'I told him, “I really like art,” and he said, “Then major in art. Do what you love and the money will come.” I remember thinking, “He’s crazy. I will starve.” What he was talking about, although neither of us knew it, was purpose. My talents are centered on images and language, around creativity, ideas, and eloquent execution. And the world needs creativity more than ever—creative people who will come in and say, “What if? Who says you can't do that? Whoa, what if you try this?"' 

Mian Ahmad Shah, C’24

"It’s a time when clients are calling and asking, “What is happening?” And I am on the ground, shadowing Alonso and seeing exactly how a wealth management firm reacts to these unprecedented global events. This has been an amazing time to enter the market and I am learning so much. It’s a huge step toward getting that job on Wall Street."

Szonja Szurop, C'22

"I knew that students could initiate their own majors, but I didn’t know exactly how."

Will Stacey, C'25

'When we’re training or developing race strategy, my mountain bike coach is constantly reminding me, “The name of the game is to stay focused, stay positive, and keep moving forward.” Easy to remember. Harder to do.'

Elizabeth Konradi, C'23

"I went to Poland to assist with Ukrainian relief efforts. Since I returned, I feel like I’m constantly reflecting on the experience."

Oliver Hutchens, C'23

“Working with the Sewanee Herbarium has been my first step into a community of people who feel the same way I do, who see what I see in botany. But I also feel a very fundamental drive to grow that community.”

Keisha Phillips, C'22

"Being part of the [German] department has helped me discover my identity as a Black German woman and has really piqued my interest in my own personal identity. That’s the thing I think I’ll miss most about Sewanee—being in a very supportive place that’s built me up and pushed me to go outside my comfort zone."

Bill Engel, Professor of English

"Learning to fence and learning about English literature are very similar processes. Meaningful learning requires more than just memorizing concepts and reciting them as instructed."

Want to share Sewanee in your own words? Click here!

More about Sewanee