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

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."

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