Reason #24 You Should Visit
More than 1,000 courses
Class of 2020
Psychology Major, Chemistry Minor, Pre-Med Track
Now located: On campus
What other clubs, sports, other activities are you normally involved in?
Active Minds Co-President, Pan Asians in Action, Gold Key Guide
If you had to pick a kind of chemical to represent you and fellow Smithies, what would it be and why?
I would represent Smithies as water. Water is cohesive; the individual molecules form hydrogen bonds with each other and stick together. Smithies are like that; we stick together and support each other when times are difficult. A lot of our power comes from collective action.
What's a secret passion of yours or something new you've started since the pandemic?
One of my passions is cross-stitch! I started before the pandemic, making patterns that said things like “be bold” or “queer.” I'm trying to do more now that we are ~socially distancing~. I was planning on cross stitching my graduation cap, so I have a really cool pattern for it. It's an anatomical brain with flowers around it because I love neuroscience.
What on-campus project are you collaborating on right now and how did you get involved?
I am currently working on the Jandon Center’s effort to provide masks to all the remaining students left on campus. My friends who are on campus and I are all makers, working directly to fabricate masks for students. Once we have met our goal, we are hoping to continue making masks to donate to essential workers in the Northampton community. I got involved because I was inspired by my mom. She is a nurse, but even after her 12-hour shifts, she’s still coming home and making masks to donate. At first, I was working independently, trying to get a sewing machine on my own—I ended up borrowing from Dean Etheredge who is actually a Smith alumna. When I found out the Jandon Center was organizing this effort, I connected with them and we’ve been collaborating ever since!
“It feels good to be involved in doing something that will make my peers and community members a little bit safer and more prepared.”
How many masks have you made? Is there a particular pattern you're using?
My friends and I have made about 100 masks at this point and we're hoping to make even more. I am using two patterns; the first pleated style is a little more simple. I started making more of the second one because I personally find them more comfortable and my glasses fog up less when I wear both glasses and the second mask.
Why was it important to get involved in this effort right now?
I think it's really important to try to take tangible action if you have the resources, the mental bandwidth and the time. The current pandemic is something that is such a huge issue that is going to require effort and care from lots of different people. While the action of making masks might seem small, it feels good to be involved in doing something that will make my peers and community members a little bit safer and more prepared.
How have you seen the Smith community coming together in ways that surprised you or stuck with you?
The Smith community mobilized so quickly after the announcement was made that we would shift to remote learning. Within 24 hours, friends and I were petitioning the administration to ensure that students who cannot return home had adequate support to stay on campus. Within 48 hours, we had an impromptu graduation ceremony. Even alumni rapidly organized to create an emergency housing resource for any displaced students. It honestly did not shock me. I have come to learn that Smithies step up in times of need. While this semester has been extremely difficult at times, there has also been so much joy and support from within the community.
“Smithies stick together and support each other when times are difficult. A lot of our power comes from collective action.”
What's one message you'd tell incoming students about being at Smith?
Smith is a truly unique experience. It is dynamic and multifaceted and will introduce you to some of the brightest and most caring people you will ever meet. You're going to be pushed to grow and consider experiences that differ from your own. You're going to figure things out about yourself and ultimately come out of these years as a more nuanced thinker and capable leader. It isn't always going to be easy, but I am rooting for you and so is every other Smithie.
Is there any other message to the wider Smith community you'd like to include?
During these times it is so important that we strike a balance between caring for ourselves and recognizing the resources and privileges we have and can share with others. If you can, find a mutual aid network to assist folks who truly cannot leave their homes. Check up on your friends and co-workers. Take time outside if that feels good for you. We aren't going to get through this alone, but we certainly can together.
Smithie Snapshots is a new profile series highlighting members of the Smith community, located all over the world.