Student Reflections

As the 2014-15 academic year drew to a close, Columbian College students looked back at their favorite moments and memories—and ahead to new opportunities.

Collage of students
June 10, 2015

Kate Bell“The thing I love most about GW is the community—a community of friends and teachers and role models. I’ve felt really supported in my time here, whether from all the close friends I’ve made or from the professors who are committed to helping every student learn and grow and become better individuals. My favorite moment here was seeing Hillary Clinton speak at Lisner Auditorium. She’s one of my role models. It was very inspiring to be in her presence and hear her thoughts about the future.”

— Kate Bell, Philosophy

John Perrino“My most memorable experience was my media seminar class trip to Paris. We met with so many different and important journalists; we hung out with the publisher of the International Herald Tribune and were invited into the homes of CNN reporters. It just amazes me how our professors set up that trip. But they always astonish me with their enthusiasm. They are completely open to having a cup of coffee and bouncing around the theories we discuss in class. The collection of talent we have here is incredible.”

— John Perrino, Political Communication

Justin Brandt-Sarif“I was in ROTC, and one day during my freshman year I was coming back from an event in Georgetown with several of my ROTC buddies. We were all in uniform when we noticed the presidential motorcade rolling by. We stood at attention on the sidewalk and saluted the motorcade. The line of cars stopped, one of the windows rolled down and—would you believe it?—the president himself looked out the window and saluted us back! That was a pretty great moment.”

— Justin Brandt-Sarif, Political Science

Jonathan Nkangabwa“I came to GW certain I would be a bio major. But then I took Richard Grinker’s Sociocultural Anthropology class and everything changed for me. He has such passion for his subject that I fell in love with anthropology and switched majors. I have never regretted it. There are so many great things about GW. But if I am going to be honest, the coolest thing that happened to me was strolling through campus one day on my way to a stats class and seeing Magic Johnson. He was on his way to speak at SMPA and he stopped to take a few pictures with me. You never know who you’ll run into around here!”

— Jonathan Nkangabwa, Biological Anthropology

Jevin Hodge“On Election Night 2012, my friends and I watched the results come in from our dorm and then ran down to the White House to celebrate. The atmosphere was electric. There were people from all over the country—all over the world!—hugging and laughing and dancing. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. As a political science student, studying in the nation’s capital is like a dream come true. The environment, the people, the location, the classes—it’s all helped me see politics and political theory through a different lens.”

— Jevin Hodge, Public Policy and Political Science

Sarah Abramsky“My favorite class was Great Performances in Dance, a Dean’s Seminar by Dana Tai Soon Burgess. I’m undeclared right now, but I’m probably going to major in biology so I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to indulge my love of dance. His class talked about great performances throughout the history of dance. But what I really liked about it was that it didn’t just stop in the classroom. We went to dance performances at the Kennedy Center and other theaters around D.C. I love how he made the connection between the ‘class world’ and the ‘real world.’”

— Sarah Abramsky, Undeclared

Matthew Jiang“I took Professor Tom Long’s The Price of Freedom: Normandy, 1944. We researched the lives of soldiers who died in the D-Day invasion during World War II and then traveled to Normandy over spring break to visit their graves. It was a really emotional experience. I was struck by just how international our student body is. In that class alone, there were students from the U.S., England, the UAE and Korea. And I’m from China. Being here makes me feel like I’m part of a global society.”

— Matthew Jiang, History and Economics

Michael Olujimi“My most memorable experience was taking part in the ‘Battle of the A Cappellas,’ the annual competition between GW’s singing groups. I am part of the Voice Gospel Choir and we went up against groups like the GW Troubadours, the GW Vibes and the Sons of Pitch. Each group had to sing a rendition of Pharrell William’s ‘Happy.’ The GW MotherFunkers came out on top, winning the audience favorite award and the best overall act. But it was incredibly fun and a great way to meet other students in the performing arts.”

— Michael Olujimi, Biology

Melissa Matusky“I took an amazing English class with Professor Ayanna Thompson that focused only on Shakespeare’s play Othello. It was a lot of heavy reading but she made sure we were engaged not only with the text but with its connection to D.C. We went to the Folger Library and studied early modern books that influenced Shakespeare. We saw first editions of Shakespeare's plays. We talked with people who worked at the Shakespeare Theater Company and met a local playwright. And we capped the class by traveling to New York City to see Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine. It was an awesome, awesome experience.”

— Melissa Matusky, English

Cyprian Christian“On days when I’m overloaded with classwork or I’m having a hard time with something or if I just want to get away for a little while, I walk along the National Mall and look at the monuments. When I walk around the city, I feel like I’m not far removed from my future. My whole life and so many opportunities are right here in front of me. Going to school here is so inspiring.”

— Cyprian Christian, Economics and Arabic Studies