Meet the Majors

Macy Kasbo ’22

Chemistry and Translation Studies Concentration

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About Macy

Class of 2022

Hometown: Aleppo, Syria

Chemistry and Translation Studies Concentration

House: Talbot

Could you explain a concentration? Why did you choose translation studies for yours?
A concentration at Smith College allows you to study a field, which isn’t necessarily common across undergraduate institutions, alongside your major. Being at Smith, I’ve had the unique opportunity to delve into two completely different fields of study: chemistry and translation. I grew up speaking three languages, so translation has always been central to my life. I was first introduced to translation studies at Smith through my first-year seminar taught by the incredible Professor Bellesia.

How did having parents who emigrated from Syria influence what you studied?
Actually, my family and I are all originally from Syria. We all had to immigrate to the US when we were forced out of the country due to the war. I am incredibly fortunate to have landed at an empowering institution like Smith. My background informed my interest in translation studies. I grew up speaking three languages and had to immigrate to a number of countries, so from colonialism to social politics, I have had numerous life experiences influence my interests in translation studies.

Finding a home at Smith surrounded by supportive and brilliant students and professors would definitely qualify as my favorite memory of Smith.

What other languages do you speak and how have they helped influence your work?
I speak French and Arabic fluently and a little bit of Spanish. As professor Giovanna Bellesia once said to me: “You have to thank your lucky star that you grew up speaking three languages.” I have a completely unique perception of the world that I would not have had as a monolingual and that definitely influences my daily life and my academic work.

What is your major and how does it intersect with your concentration?
I’m majoring in chemistry and I believe that it does intersect with my translation studies concentration. From learning to appreciate and value foreign culture and ideas to attempting to reconcile two entirely different cultures and formulate my own voice through translations, languages and the translation field hold valuable lessons that can certainly apply to chemistry where scientists from different backgrounds come together to lead discoveries that can revolutionize our way of life.

What’s your all-time favorite Smith memory?
This is definitely an unfair question because I have so many favorite memories at Smith! But, if I had to pick one memory it would be when I realized that Smith had become more of a home to me. Life is hard for everyone and I experienced more of that recently, but finding a home at Smith surrounded by supportive and brilliant students and professors would definitely qualify as my favorite memory of Smith.

If someone was considering studying either your major or concentration, what would you tell them?
Go for it! Translation studies is for everyone; it’s a field where you perceive the world through a unique lens that helps you understand people a little bit better. It’s a field of study where you can dive into depth exploring different cultures, observing how people lead their lives in different countries, and discovering the underlying social and political stigmas surrounding languages. Translation studies can shape you into a translator who can bridge two languages and cultures to facilitate understanding, which is crucial to our world today.

Translation studies can shape you into a translator who can bridge two languages and cultures to facilitate understanding, which is crucial to our world today.

Describe a moment with friends or classmates that particularly sticks with you.
During SURF, my friend called me frantically because our reaction in the lab wasn’t working, so I drove 40 minutes from my off-campus housing to Smith to work on it together. Eventually, our experiment didn’t work, so we went out to grab boba tea!

What’s your “Big Dream” for your future?
To revolutionize the medical field using chemistry!

What spot on campus will you miss the most?
I’ll miss Ford Hall so much! It’s such a beautiful building where you can study in the atrium, hang out with friends in the seasons room, or go on the terrace and enjoy the incredible view.

If you could tell an incoming first-year anything about Smith, what would it be?
It’s okay if it’s hard at first, it’s going to get better and you’re going to love Smith. Take your time and enjoy every moment!

What do you think has been the most “Smithie” thing you’ve done in life so far?
Taking many women and gender studies classes at Smith that have completely changed my perception of feminism for the better.

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