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CSF Ambassadors

Learn more about our student leaders in colleges and universities across the U.S.

Sreya Atluri
Sreya Atluri

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Email:
sreya.atluri@gmail.com
Phone: (571) 216-9256
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sreya.atluri.24
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/sreyaatluri

The one piece of advice I wish I know going into college was:
One piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was to embrace all the experiences! College is an incredible, wonderful, and inspiring time, so be sure to take advantage of all the exciting opportunities! Meet new people, join clubs, engage with professors and mentors, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

What’s your favorite thing about UNC Chapel Hill?
My favorite thing about UNC Chapel Hill has to be the people – the people are absolutely incredible. Whether peers, professors, mentors, administration, and more, their passion and determination to give back to the community and create impact is awe-inspiring, and I’m continually inspired and humbled by their motivation. As a Robertson Scholar, I’m incredibly grateful to fully avail myself of opportunities both at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke, and being able to meet even more individuals across campuses is definitely the most memorable part of my experience thus far.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
I would say one of the best kept secrets is Graham Memorial, which is home to Honors Carolina. Not only do the office have a wealth of information, it’s a fantastic study lounge!

Describe the overall campus culture:
The overall campus culture is one that fosters inclusiveness, passion, and community – I truly feel home at UNC Chapel Hill, and I know that I’m supported by a phenomenal network with each step I take.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
The surrounding community offers so many fantastic opportunities! The Research Triangle Park has a plethora of different events, ranging from entrepreneurship to culture to research, and it’s amazing to be able to be immersed in such a wonderful culture.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
So many professors have had such a phenomenal impact on me, and I’ve just finished my first year! If you’re into business (I was incredibly fortunate to offered the Assured Admission Program (AAP) through the Kenan-Flagler Business School, and am currently pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration), Management, taught by Professor CJ Skender is amazing and a fantastic foundation course. I’ve also taken classes specific to AAP with Dr. Shimul Melwani (Foundations of Leadership) and Professor Chip Snively (Careers in Business), which were fantastic and a wonderful introduction to the business school. I’m also double-majoring in Economics, and Economics Statistics Honors with Dr. Stephen Lich-Tyler was very insightful and a really enjoyable course. I’ve also taken Intermediate Microeconomic Theory with Dr. Michelle Sheran-Andrews, which is also a great foundation course. I’m in the Entrepreneurship minor, and have thoroughly enjoyed my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class with Professors Buck Goldstein and Jed Simmons, and my first-year seminar Engines of Innovation Honors with Professors Buck Goldstein and Charles Merritt – these classes have motivated me to think differently about entrepreneurship principles, and have sparked a greater interest in entrepreneurship. Our Robertson Colloquium course was on Practical Ethics with Dr. Douglas MacLean, and was a very thought-provoking and inspiring course with concepts that I find still apply to me to this day. I took English Composition/Rhetoric in Business with Dr. Melissa Geil, which was incredibly informative and enjoyable. Bollywood Cinema, with Dr. Afroz Taj and Professor John Caldwell, was an engaging course that allowed me to reflect further on culture and society. I also took Great Decisions, a wonderful seminar style class on current events that was very engaging, and Yoga & Pilates with Timmons Williams, which was incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. All in all, I loved my classes!

I’ve also had the extreme fortune of being able to be involved with extracurricular organizations on campus, and I would highly recommend them! Ranging from Student Government to the Robertson Community Coordinators to the Carolina International Relations Association to the American Mock World Health Organization to a host of Kenan-Flagler Business School organizations, there are so many phenomenal opportunities to be engaged in Carolina and meet absolutely fantastic people!

Brandon Clausen
Brandon Clausen

University of Mississippi
Email: bmclause@go.olemiss.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
One piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was to get involved during freshman year! Time flies by very quickly and I wish I had started looking into some opportunities earlier on.

What’s your favorite thing about the University of Mississippi?
My favorite thing about the University of Mississippi is the beautiful campus and the pride that the students have in our school.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
The best kept secret has to be the “C-store” in the lobby of the Martin-Stockard residence halls, which sells pizza sticks and crispitos until very late at night.. The perfect midnight snack!

Describe the overall campus culture.
The overall campus culture is very tight-knit. You get the “big SEC school” feel but with a smaller campus.  You will always see someone you know on the way to class.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
The Oxford community is great! The life of the town (and some incredible restaurants and stores) resides on “the Square”. Some of the many annual events in town include Double Decker (a city-wide arts festival), the Oxford Film Festival, and of course the quintessential college football Saturdays.. There’s something for everyone!

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
Being a Chemistry major, many of my classes have taken place in Coulter Hall.  Some of my favorite professors are Dr. Hammer (who teaches Physical Chemistry) and Dr. Safo (who teaches Organic Chemistry).  I also loved my introductory sociology class with Dr. Snook and my introductory psychology class with Dr. Sufka.

John Connors
John Connors

Georgetown University
Email:
jpc251@georgetown.edu
Cell: 484-753-3441

The one piece of advice I wish I know going into college was:
Simply introducing yourself to people in your first few weeks of college is invaluable and it will always give you people to talk to when you walk around. Moving into college for me, as it was for many, was rather intimidating, and because of this I kept to myself a little more than I would have like. But, no one is judging you or will make fun of you if you just go up to them and say, “Hi, I’m _______.” Meet everyone you can: your neighbors, people that sit next to you in class, etc.

What’s your favorite thing about Georgetown?
My favorite thing about Georgetown is the level of alumni engagement. I play rugby, and one of the things I look forward to most is seeing alumni come to our game or celebrating with us on Homecoming and Georgetown Day. This is great in establishing a sense of community among current and former students, and it also helps with career networking. I have met countless graduates in many fields who are members of recruiting teams and world-renown companies. These people are always willing to give you advice and help you in the internship/job recruiting process.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
My favorite study spot, which is seldom crowded, is the fourth floor of the business school, Hariri Building. It is quiet and there are very comfortable chairs with desk tables attached that swing around in front of you for your laptop or books.

As for a non-study spot, the C&O Canal is a nice place to walk and unwind. If you walk from campus towards the river, it is on the other side of M Street and there are stairways going down to the canal walkway. I personally am a fan of cigars and this is a nice place to have one every now and then.

One of my favorite food places that is under the radar is Surfside, which is at 2444 Wisconsin Avenue NW. It is about a 15 minute walk from campus. They serve great food, including breakfast food, and you can customize it however you would like. The burritos are really good.

Describe the overall campus culture:
Academically, Georgetown is competitive, but in a healthy way. On weekdays, students are primarily in class, at work, or studying the whole day, and campus has a really busy feel Monday-Friday. This creates an atmosphere that is sometimes exhausting, but motivates you to get stuff done. In the business school specifically, we are graded on a rather strict curve, meaning that we are graded against our classmates. With that being said, we are always willing to help each other and study in groups, which I hear is not the case at similar schools with similar grading schemes.

As for extra-curriculars, certain groups are very competitive to get into (you will quickly find out which ones these are), and there are some that anyone can join. In the beginning of each semester, there are a few weeks of applications and interviews for these groups. Despite the grueling application processes and low acceptance rates for some organizations, everyone I know is very happy with extra-curricular communities of which they are a part.

Finally, Georgetown has a very vibrant social scene. Unlike many schools, this school does not have a large amount of Greek organizations (I think there are four or five total). Because of this, the previously mentioned extra-curricular groups often serve as social groups as well. In addition to these social events for the groups, there are also parties in apartments and off-campus houses. Because of the relatively small size of Georgetown, offs are you will see someone you know, or someone from a class that you can’t meet.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
Being in the nation’s capital for college offers the opportunity for very interesting internships that may not be available elsewhere. This past semester, Spring 2016, I interned at the Securities & Exchange Commission headquarters, which is something learning to balance work, school and socializing. Also, I have many friends who intern on Capitol Hill for members of Congress.

Additionally, D.C. offers many cultural attractions, the majority of which are free. The monuments, Smithsonian museums, Library of Congress, Embassies and many others give you the opportunity to learn outside the classroom. One time, my friends and I heard about a free event for students on a weeknight at the Embassy of Estonia, so we took a homework break and went, ate Estonian food and learned about the country.

Who are the best professors and what do they teach?
My favorite class in college so far has been “Moral Foundations of Market Society” taught by Professor Jason Brennan. This is an Ethics class for only business students that fulfills our Ethics class requirement. The curriculum focuses on the intersection of business, ethics and public policy. Professor Brennan is extraordinarily smart and the class is one of the most intellectually challenging I’ve ever encountered.

Another great professor is Professor Arthur Dong. He is usually an MBA instructor, but I was able to take his class first semester of freshman year through the business school’s First Year Seminar (FYS) program. These are small, round-table classes that are writing-intensive and give entering students an introduction to the philosophy of business. My particular FYS with Professor Dong was called “Grand Strategy.” We read books about the nature of strategy and competition (like The Art of War, for example) and connected these concepts to modern business strategy.

A third great professor is Professor Thomas Cooke, who teaches Business Law I. This class is one that I genuinely enjoyed everything about. Usually, classes at Georgetown are an hour and 15 minutes two days per week. However, this class is two and a half hours on Friday afternoon. The scheduling turns off a lot of people when they hear, but it is totally worth it. He is very funny, conversational and relaxed. Plus, we get a 10 minute break in the middle of each class.

Eric Deasy
Eric Deasy

DePaul University
Email:
 erdeasy@yahoo.com

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college:
Do as much as you can. Especially at a university like DePaul located in one of the largest cities in the nation, you should spend as little time as possible in your residence hall. Whether you’re from the city or not, I think all DePaul students should go out and explore, even if it is just to find a new place to study in the city. On a day you don’t have class, get some friends together and check out a new restaurant or a bookstore or a museum – and if they don’t want to go, go by yourself!

Best kept secret of DePaul:
The grassy spot by the concert hall on Belden and Halsted is the absolute best place to study on a nice day. When the sun is out, every student runs to the quad, but this place with tall trees and open space is the quietest, emptiest, most peaceful outdoor spot on campus. Lincoln Park residents also love to take their dogs there which is one of the biggest perks.

 Overall campus culture:
Be prepared (like on any other campus) for a mass exchange of opinions. At a liberal studies university like DePaul, students are taught to not shy away from sharing their own thoughts. At the campus activity fair, you will see a booth for the college Republicans right next to a booth for the DePaul Democrats right next to the booth for the woman’s right to choose booth right next to the sanctity of life booth. My advice is to not let your opinion be kept down because the odds are ever in your favor that someone on campus has the same view as you.

Best professors/classes:
I think every student finds one or two professors within their areas of study that are truly great teachers. As I write this, I have only had one year at DePaul so while my experience with professors may be somewhat limited, I do know some great teachers. Professor Margaret Storey in the history department is outstanding and I have taken/signed up to take four of her classes. She specializes in the American Civil War. Professor Glen Carman in the Spanish department is engaging, informative, and very knowledgeable of the language and knows how to teach it to nonnative speakers. Finally, Professor Ben Epstein in the political science department is helpful, excited to teach, and has the ability to take large concepts and break them down into understandable pieces.

Richelle DeBlasio
Richelle DeBlasio

University of Pittsburgh
Email: rnd9@pitt.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
Going into college, I would have liked to be more familiar with my abilities and limits. It’s very easy to overcommit between clubs, leadership opportunities, volunteering, etc. Take your first semester to ease into classes and get used to budgeting your time before slowly becoming more involved. That said, only do what you can handle.

What’s your favorite thing about the University of Pittsburgh? 
I love being a student at the University of Pittsburgh for many reasons, but one of my favorite aspects is that it has the feel of a small campus while being in the middle of a great city. Though thousands of students attend Pitt, I never fail to see friends and familiar faces wherever I go. The urban location means that you will never be bored by the surrounding city.

Favorite Pitt traditions include singing “Sweet Caroline” at football games, a fireworks and laser light show at the Cathedral for homecoming, and attempting to break a world record during Orientation.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.): 
The best kept secret is one that comes with having a large campus – lots of libraries! Don’t feel constrained to Hillman Library, our main study building. My favorites are on the first and 35th floors of the Cathedral of Learning, tables in Chevron Science Center, and the various study rooms in the William Pitt Student Union. In addition, there are several cozy cafes on campus that are great places to grab a coffee and read your books.

Describe the overall campus culture.
Since Pitt is a large university, it attracts many types of people. Generally, the students here are very strong academically but also value each other and ensure that they make time to foster lifelong friendships. It’s a collaborative and supportive environment; though classes are challenging and students care a lot about their grades, they’re also willing to help each other out. The campus has a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect to offset the rigor of classes. Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the culture at Pitt without mentioning how much school spirit we have! Students here love to unite for game days and are proud to H2P (Hail to Pitt)!

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
As someone with ambitions of entering healthcare, I have never felt deprived of opportunity. On campus, there are plenty of hospitals and businesses nearby that are open to giving Pitt students support. Personally, I do research in both bench and dry labs. The nearby hospitals also provide opportunities for volunteering, job shadowing, etc. Even if you aren’t interested in health studies, there is an Internship Guarantee program and the ability to conduct research in most fields (including the humanities and social sciences).

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
During my first year at Pitt, I was very pleased with the rigor and quality of instruction in my classes. I have yet to find a professor that disappoints me! Asking older friends for advice was always helpful as long as discretion is used to accurately gauge personal abilities and limits.

Andrada Diaconescu
Andrada Diaconescu

Johns Hopkins University
Email: adiacon1@jhu.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Classes in college are much harder than in high school, and while this usually means spending more time studying, it also means taking advantage of the resources you have in order to study more efficiently. Hopkins has tons of academic resources that students can take advantage of in addition to professor office hours and TA help sessions. Although it may be hard to admit it at first, everybody needs help at some point. I wouldn’t have gotten through organic chemistry without my TA, so don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it!

What’s your favorite thing about Johns Hopkins:
My favorite thing about Johns Hopkins is how interconnected the various schools are. Undergraduate students can take classes at the Peabody Institute conservatory or preparatory. They can participate in research, volunteer, or intern at the medical campus. They are on the same campus as graduate students and often work together in labs. This mixture of students provides for a very unique campus environment.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
Pro tip: You can check out laptop chargers from the library for a couple of hours. That way, if you’re in the middle of a study session and your computer is dying, you don’t have to walk all the way back to your apartment.

Describe the overall campus culture:
Hopkins is a relatively small campus, but very dynamic and diverse. Students have the liberty to open their own club if everything that is already in place doesn’t fit their interests. Hopkins will sponsor any initiative that has enough student support. If it’s not already there, you can create it.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community:
There are many clubs and activities that offer students exposure to the Baltimore community. Despite what is commonly known as the “Hopkins Bubble” (a term so coined because the campus is in its own little section of the city), students have a major presence in Baltimore. I personally volunteer at a free clinic downtown as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients. There are other activities that send students to schools, clinics, parks, and the various neighborhoods of Baltimore. Recreationally, it is also very easy to spend time in Baltimore. Hopkins has its own niche in the city, but it is still very much connected via public transportation. Trains can take you anywhere from Boston to New York City to Washington DC. Students can also rent zip cars and go to the many state parks in Maryland for hiking and biking.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
I have yet to come across a professor at Hopkins that isn’t amazing at their job and very passionate about their subject. As a student who has taken both massive lecture courses (200+ students) and small discussion courses (7 students), I have learned that all it takes to get to know a professor is to make the effort to reach out to them. These are people who have spent their entire lives studying the subject of the class you’re taking. They are genuinely interested in the material and are more than happy to share their passion with you. They are very open to undergraduates, even allowing freshmen to work along graduate students in research projects. If you have an interest, Hopkins has a professor who has dedicated their lives to that topic. You need only seek them out.

Jeremy Garriga
Jeremy Garriga

Seton Hall University
Phone: (201)-966-7665

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was that when you need help, there are many different resources provided by Seton Hall to help you out. These resources range from free math tutoring to counseling and psychological services.

What’s your favorite thing about Seton Hall?
My favorite thing about Seton Hall would be the welcoming community that accepts new students immediately. It’s extremely easy to make new friends.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.): 
The best kept secret would be global medical brigades. This program will give you the opportunity to do community service outside the country at the end of the school year.

Describe the overall campus culture.
The overall campus culture is as stated before: very welcoming. Freshman immediately become comfortable around upperclassmen and make friends with the peers in their year.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
The opportunities offered in the surrounding community include community service, Greek life, work study, and homework help.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
One of the best professors that I know of would be John Minacapelli who teaches college algebra and pre-calculus.

Reena Goswami
Reena Goswami

Georgetown University
Email: rg976@georgetown.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
The best piece of advice I can give to an upcoming freshman is to be as open-minded as possible. This means joining a club you wouldn’t normally join or taking a class that you wouldn’t have in high school. I would recommend not to treat your plans on what to major in as set in stone; there is so much more to academia that you will be exposed to that you weren’t in the past, which might shift your future plans in a good way. Lastly, if you want an opportunity- go out and find it. Professors are there to help. If for some reason that opportunity isn’t available- make it for yourself. I started an A cappella group this past year with other freshmen and got some of the best friends and best memories out of it. If you go into college with a positive attitude and yearning to learn, it will give you the most formative and enjoyable years of your life.

What’s your favorite thing about Georgetown?
One of the best parts of being at Georgetown is being in D.C. Many students care about the issues facing our government, so political discourse mixes into everyday conversations. I love that almost every student is passionate about some kind of issue and are glad to share their views with you– this is my favorite part about Georgetown. For example, my roommate has taught me all about environmental issues and I would talk about social justice with my friend down the hall.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
Something about Georgetown not everyone knows is that the bioethics library is one of the most beautiful places to study– it is a wonderful place to escape the hustle bustle of the main library, Lauinger.

Describe the overall campus culture.
To speak on the culture, Georgetown is very diverse, with students from countries all over the world, each with their own unique story to share. I have met people from Idaho all the way to Vietnam. The student body is welcoming and I found it so easy to make friends.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
There are an infinite number of opportunities in D.C. For those who are politically-oriented, the Hill is the most fitting spot to intern. For those who lean towards science, the NIH is close by. Many social justice organizations are also centered in D.C. — the opportunities are endless.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
Since I’m a rising sophomore, I am excited to learn from all the influential professors at our school in my upcoming years. I am a biochemistry major, so two of the best professors I’ve had this past year were for General Chemistry, Professor Glick, and Foundations of Biology, Professor Elmendorf, who both reinforced my desire to study science. I have heard that Professor Morris, who teaches Intro to Women and Gender Studies, and Professor Sanders, who teachers the Problem of God, are both excellent.

Joshua Hamburger
Joshua Hamburger

Vanderbilt University
Email:
joshua.d.hamburger@vanderbilt.edu
Phone: 410-245-5363

What’s your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?
The conversations that I have with people truly make this place special. It doesn’t matter where you are or when it is, as I constantly find myself engaged in truly intellectual discussions with my friends. I’m a curious person and the people around me have a vast array of knowledge. I could walk out of my room and within a few feet I could be talking with my friends about the prevalence of ACL surgeries in football, what it’s like to join the Marines, or why there is a conflict between Macedonia and Greece. I constantly find myself discussing an array of topics, which forces me to know something across many disciplines. Everybody I know has their own interests, and I enjoy discussing what they are so passionate about.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
Two classes have stuck out to me, and they are both about sports. The first was race, gender, and sport. The other was the sociology of baseball. Both of these classes were made up of a high proportion of athletes, and that provided a perspective for me that would otherwise go unheard without them. Being able to delve deeper into passions of mine was a true joy. I looked forward to attending these classes every day.

Most rewarding experience:
Starting freshman year, I decided to join the campus newspaper after seeing a friend very involved with it. I initially covered sports through sophomore year, enjoying the opportunity to talk with athletes and cover games. Then, I was named managing editor last year, as I became more involved with all facets of the paper and covered a greater variety of topics. This upcoming school year, I am serving as Editor-in-Chief, which is truly an honor that I never had imagined when I initially stepped on campus. I am extremely excited to take this year focusing on covering the campus and leading an impressive staff of my peers. There is no bond like those that I have with my fellow staff members, and I would encourage everybody to join a club that they are passionate about and can devote a significant amount of their time to.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
Vanderbilt’s prime location in Nashville makes it a unique place to go to school. Nashville has been of the country’s fastest growing cities, and I’ve seen that happen in the time I’ve been there. There’s a lively music scene where it earns most of its exposure, but it really offers a lot as a modern Southern city. There are several well-known neighborhoods that all have their own unique characteristics. The downtown is very lively as well. There is always something to do either on campus or off campus.

Steven Isett
Steven Isett

(Steven pictured on the left)
Tufts University
Email: steveisett@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.isett.9

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
Be yourself and don’t be nervous about making friends.

What’s your favorite thing about Tufts?
Spending time with friends and the food

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.): 
The Granoff Library may be the best place to get some quiet study time

Describe the overall campus culture:
Extremely friendly. Everyone I’ve met is very open and accepting and willing to have a discussion about anything

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
There’s a lot of volunteer opportunities with nearby high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
Jennifer Eyl is great for religion and intro religion courses.

Alyssa Lattomus
Alyssa Lattomus

Washington College
Email: alattomus2@washcoll.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I know going into college was:
The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college is to try and study for each class a little bit each day to stay up to date with all of the material.

What’s your favorite thing about Washington College?
My favorite thing about Washington College is the relationships you get to form with your professors.  Because we have small class sizes, it is much easier to get to know your professor and go to them when you are struggling or need to ask a question.

Best Kept Secret:
Student discounts at most of the restaurants/shops in the community

Campus Culture:
Washington College’s campus culture is very welcoming and nonjudgmental.  Students, professors, and faculty are all friendly and helpful.  There are many ways to become engaged on campus socially and to succeed.

Best Professors:
Dr. Verville-Biology, Dr. Marteel-Parrish-Chemistry, Dr. Hamilton-Mathematics. I chose to list Dr. Verville, Dr. Marteel-Parrish, and Dr. Hamilton as the best professors because they make the material exciting and interesting to learn.  They also go above and beyond to help students outside of the classroom and genuinely take an interest in all of their students.  Dr. Verville teaches Honors General Biology, Microbiology, and Immunology.  Dr. Marteel-Parrish teaches Honors General Chemistry and Materials Science.  Dr. Hamilton teaches Multivariable Calculus and various other applied mathematics classes.

Cassie Lowell
Cassie Lowell

Harvard College
Email: clowell@college.harvard.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
That you should get to know as many upperclassmen as you can, as soon as possible. They know the ins and outs of student life, tricks that make your life easier, and what to do or where to go if you need resources. They’ve been in your shoes before (or know someone who has), and in my experience have always been willing to point you in the right direction.

What’s your favorite thing about Harvard? 
The people, and with the people comes their enthusiasm. People at Harvard have taken the opportunity to be at a world-class institution by the reigns, and as a result, are incredibly driven and determined to make their dreams happen. The students are people who will talk ad nauseam about their passions if you give them the chance. They’re also really appreciative of what other students do, even if it’s wildly different from their own interests/talents– they just find the world we live in to be absolutely fascinating, and want to absorb as much as humanly possible.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
It’s not really a secret if I say, now is it? :)

I’m always hearing about random cool events from people, ranging from Presidents of South American nations doing Q&A’s to late-night broomball on the ice rink. Honestly, just ask around about what people are doing, and take a look at flyers every once in a while. Make the effort to at least occasionally check these events out, because they’re absolutely worth it.

As for the “college life hack,” I’d recommend knowing the good nap places where you can catch a quick 15 minutes mid-day without judgement. My favorite is the Law School Library’s “Nap Room,” full of beanbags the size of small cars.  It’s glorious.

(Even if you have no athletic experience, you should also try Quidditch! It’s a little ridiculous but wicked fun, you meet a really diverse and awesome group of people, and you can travel to competitive tourneys on the college’s dime! This totally isn’t a shameless plug for my team…)

Describe the overall campus culture:
People tend to assume that Harvard is incredibly competitive about academics to the point of being cutthroat, but that’s entirely untrue. Harvard is incredibly collaborative, and professors encourage students to work together, so long as they present their own ideas/work on assignments. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did a problem set alone– you learn so much more talking about the problems and seeing how other people approach them, especially when there are multiple ways to arrive at a solution. Dining Halls in the evenings turn into huge study centers. It’s common for groups to meet there, but if you want to study alone yet share solidarity with other working people, you can always find tables for that too. (And as a bonus, there are free snacks!)

The social scene at Harvard is generally built off of extracurricular activities, as well as the House System. Practically everyone is a member of at least 2-3 clubs, and the vast majority of my friends have come as a result of things like team dinners in the dining halls or club social events, which essentially every group does. 99.5% of Harvard students also live on campus thanks to the House System, which involves a very Harry Potter-esque sorting event (and day-long celebration!) that gives you a smaller community within Harvard. Starting sophomore year, you stay in the same house until you graduate, and each of the 12 houses have their own facilities like a dining hall, library, art studios, and gyms that encourage students to mingle and make friends that they will see often.

You’ll also get to know people in your concentration (major) as you go along. This becomes noticeably true once you get to the smaller tutorial/seminar classes, but the level of cohesiveness varies subject to subject. (Eg, I know nearly all the engineers in my year from constantly hanging around the labs to do work, and my friends in small concentrations like Folklore / Mythology or Linguistics know literally everyone also studying that subject. In bigger concentrations like Compsci, Econ, or Social Studies, you may only ever meet a subset).

“Work hard, play hard” is also an apt motto for Harvard College overall. You can always find a party somewhere on a weekend if you so choose, but it’s also really easy to find people who are content to hang out in pajamas, eat ice cream, and watch a movie. As a school with a lot of history, we also have really strong traditions associated with particular events (eg Harvard-Yale Game, Head of the Charles, Housing Day) that bring people flocking out to Harvard Yard.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
I’m convinced you could spend your entire life just attending special events at Harvard and still not see everything. Foreign dignitary visits, world-class scientists giving lectures, and all kinds of concerts and performances (at minimum a half dozen every weekend) are all commonplace, just to name a few! Being an undergraduate at Harvard also gives you the chance to do workshops at the business school or do research at the medical school. We also have strong ties with MIT, so there are a ton of Harvard-MIT events where students of both universities come together to do cool things.

And of course, there’s always something going on in Boston proper!

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
When your school has 40+ majors, 2400 professors, and full access to classes at the graduate schools as well as MIT, this is an impossible question for just one person to answer. There are too many cool things out there taught by incredibly talented and award-winning people that any one student can really only scratch the surface.

As an engineer, my favorite courses in STEM are the design-based classes like ES96 (Junior Design Tutorial) and ES227 (Medical Device Design), just to name a few. These classes focus entirely on production of a final product to solve a real-world engineering problem, which could be anything from dealing with heavy Boston snowfall to helping runners improve their form. You generally get real world clients for these projects, like Mass. General Hospital or even NASA! You need to invest a lot of time in these classes to achieve a cool result, but there’s a lot of pride in seeing your ideas come to life by the end of the semester. Many projects from these classes also go on to get patents/publications, and sometimes become startups!

I’ve also never heard a negative review of the East Asian Language teachers. I managed to navigate living solo in Japan for a summer from just 1 semester of the Japanese beginners course. My roommates have also really enjoyed their Chinese and Korean classes, both at the introductory and higher levels. They’re fast-paced and challenging, but also a lot of fun, and you make a ton of friends from practicing!

Cassandra Popovski
Cassandra Popovski

University of Pittsburgh
Email: cjp64@pitt.edu

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
Get out of your comfort zone. College is a whole new world with endless opportunities, so grab a friend and try something new!

What’s your favorite thing about University of Pittsburgh?
My favorite thing about Pitt is the school spirit; the people here love their college. Make sure to get to some sporting events this year!

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
There is always free entertainment somewhere on campus, check the posters around Oakland and you’re guaranteed to find something fun.

Describe the overall campus culture.
The city of Pittsburgh was built by generations of steelworkers, and that hardworking culture is embedded in Pittsburgh’s identity. The University of Pittsburgh has adopted that same mentality of working hard and building success. When you need a break, there are plenty of fun, cultural things to do to celebrate how amazing Pittsburgh is.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
Pittsburgh has many districts, each with its own unique personality. See a show at the theaters in the cultural district, get authentic international foods in the strip district, or enjoy the breathtaking view from Mount Washington. Also, Pittsburgh is such a strong medical community with hundreds of opportunities to do medical research, biomedical engineering, volunteer at nearby hospitals, and network with esteemed doctors in the area.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
The best learning environments tend to be the ones in which a professor is teaching in his/her interest and research area. Here, you are learning from the experts!

Roisin Sabol
Roisin Sabol

University of Pittsburgh
Email: roisinsabol@gmail.com

The one piece of advice I wish I know going into college was:
The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was that a lot of professors test more heavily on what they present in class than on what you read in the textbook. It’s a better idea to study from your lecture notes than from the textbook!

What’s your favorite thing about the University of Pittsburgh?
My favorite thing about the University of Pittsburgh is getting to experience the city of Pittsburgh. As a Pitt student, you get into all of the museums for free, and you can take the Public Transportation (buses) for free! It’s so easy to get around and learn more about the city.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
The best kept secret on campus is hidden in plain sight…The Cathedral of Learning is my favorite study spot because it’s generally quiet and it’s absolutely beautiful. Plus, every Tuesday there are Therapy Dogs on the ground floor. You can take a break from studying and try to de-stress.

Describe the overall campus culture:
The campus culture at Pitt is very inclusive. Everyone seems to want to help their classmates succeed instead of trying to “eliminate competition” like you see at other universities. It’s easy to find friends to study with!

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
There are countless opportunities in the neighborhoods surrounding Pitt’s campus, and it’s easy to get to them with your free bus pass. There are as many places to go shopping (Shadyside, Squirrel Hill) as there are to find a great meal (Strip District, Lawrenceville). You can go ice skating downtown in the winter and you can go running through Frick Park in the spring. There is something new to do every day because of all the different types of neighborhoods you find here.

Who are the best professors and what do they teach?
I’m a science major, so most of the teachers I’ve had teach big science lectures. I highly recommend Dr. McGreevy for Biology because she is just so enthusiastic and makes lectures really fun. I also loved having Dr. Wandelt for Biology; she’s hilarious and brilliant!

Kimberly Salazar
Kimberly Salazar

California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
Email: kimsalazar@hotmail.com
Phone: 760-315-0155

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
The one piece of advice that I wish I knew going into college was that you will feel homesick, out of place like you don’t belong a lot during the first couple of months and that’s okay. You’re adjusting yourself into new surroundings without your daily support group right by your side but soon with time these feelings will go away.

What’s your favorite thing about California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo?
Cal Poly has different things to offer. There’s a variety of things to do around the campus when you decide to take a study break. The beach is ten minutes away, downtown is only 5 minutes away, and there are plenty of outdoor adventures to encounter like Montaña the Oro, Serenity Swing, Morro Bay, the list is endless.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
There are some really fun classes that you can take for credit, like horseback riding, chocolate making, bowling, jam making. These classes are really competitive so they are pretty tough to get if you don’t know about them right away.

Describe the overall campus culture:
Although the diversity isn’t the highest at Cal Poly, there are many different culture events and clubs that occur on campus throughout the year. For example there’s Culture Fest that includes all of the culture clubs to present and there are other events similar to that like Poly Cultural weekend, the lantern fest, etc. Cal Poly is making an effort to help increase diversity and awareness.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
The community that’s around us is very aware of student presence and is open to helping students out. For example in internships, many businesses offer a variety of different positions for students to have. It’s a very warm and welcoming community.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
So far the best professors that I’ve had are Brian Jones (Math 118), Lana Grishchenko (Math 161) Jacki Belknap (English 133), Amy Howes (Bio 161), Connie Hanretty-Church (Psychology 202), Emily Taylor and Matt Ritter (Bio 162). They are very helpful and understanding people.

Sydnee Shannon
Sydnee Shannon

Sydnee Shannon
Email: syd.shannon@yahoo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sydnee.shannon?sk=wall

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
I wish I knew that it is okay to say no to getting involved in extracurriculars. I was so excited to join clubs, honors societies, and research that I ended up overextending myself, and signed up for way too many things so I ended up feeling overwhelmed rather than really getting involved in the leadership of the organizations I truly cared about.

What’s your favorite thing about the University of Maryland – College Park?
My absolute favorite thing about University of Maryland is Terp Thon, our Dance Marathon. I have the privilege of being on the executive board for the Dance Marathon and I get to work with the amazing students, staff, and Miracle Families. It’s an amazing year-long movement with so much energy, and everyone becomes a family as we work to raise awareness and funds all For The Kids. Having the opportunity to continue my community service, while being a part of one generation fighting for the next, has been by far one of the best experiences of my college career. Visit terpthon.org for more information and to register or donate today!

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.): 
The best kept secret isn’t really a secret at all and that is the benefit of being so close to Washington DC. Not only is a fun place for weekend trips, but it also provides internship and research opportunities.

Describe the overall campus culture.
Overall the campus is full of Maryland spirit and thrives on the energy from basketball games, comedy shows, and any opportunity to where the Maryland flag with pride. Everyone is very welcoming and open and you have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
There are tons of opportunities for internships, research, and community service in the entire area around College Park and Washington DC. University of Maryland has a great partnership with companies in the area, and not only do we have a generic career fair, but we also have major/field specific career fairs. Besides that, being close to DC provides so many chances to explore parts of our history, the beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival, and tons of food and festivals throughout the year.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
I don’t know if I could give a list of best teachers, just because I think University of Maryland has a ton of great professors that really and truly care about and engage with their students. I took a class called National Security Dilemmas that I personally found incredibly fascinating as it was a debate based class that looked at some of our country’s greatest national security practices from different angles.

Alexandra Vlk
Alexandra Vlk

Towson University
Email: xvlk@verizon.net

The one piece of advice I wish I knew going into college was:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Asking questions is the best way to learn. And keep an open mind because there is always more to learn!

What’s your favorite thing about Towson?
The incredible professors! As a science major, I spend most of my time in Smith Hall and I often end up chatting with the professors. They are filled with experience, knowledge, and advice that they are willing and excited to share with their students.

Best kept secret (this could be a location, class to take, club to join, etc.):
There is an awesome upper extremities human cadaver dissecting class offered most January minimesters. This is an excellent hands-on experience to put that anatomy and physiology knowledge to work!

Describe the overall campus culture.
Welcoming and friendly. The students, faculty, and staff are consistently friendly and willing to answer questions or help out if needed. And there is such a wide variety of fun clubs/organizations to get involved in (you can browse the organizations at the Involved@TU website).

What opportunities are offered in the surrounding community?
Towson University is within walking distance from Towson High School and there have been tutoring/mentoring/outreach opportunities available there, if you reach out. Towson University is also located in close proximity to many hospitals and other professional offices – I assume they would be welcoming to students who wish to be involved. Community outreach opportunities are often advertised in the T3 daily announcements or in the SGA weekly emails. Also, clubs and organizations often send out emails regarding outreach or volunteering opportunities.

Who are the best professors and what classes do they teach?
They are all great! All the professors I have had or met have been absolutely incredible – passionate about the subject they teach and always willing to answer questions, provide greater depth of the material covered, and offer advice (studying techniques advice, career advice, etc.).