Senior Reflections

As they receive their diplomas, members of the Class of 2022 share their reflections and memories of their time as students at Oxy. The students below are pictured as first-years and again as seniors.

Teagan Jarvis               Kia Mackey            Alejo Maggini             Jason Park

Teagan Jarvis

Economics, Media Arts & Culture major

What will you miss most about Oxy?

I’m definitely going to miss the communal aspect of Oxy, whether it's having my closest friends within a stone’s throw or seeing some of my favorite professors and employees around campus!

What is special about the people at Oxy?

I feel as if most people at Oxy (students, faculty, and employees) are extremely genuine and personable. Building relationships has been one of my favorite things to do at Oxy due to the incredible individuals that surround the college

Are there specific professors that really stand out for you?

Professor Wong, Professor Umanskaya, Professor Harris, and Professor Matsuoka really deserve some praise. These professors impressed me by not only sharing with us their knowledge and passions but also by encouraging growth and development in aspects outside of the classroom. I'll always appreciate the time and effort that these professors put in with all of us students. 

What’s the most important thing you learned at Oxy and will take with you into the world?

Care for and appreciate the people around you while you can. 

Can you talk about one way Oxy has prepared you for the next chapter?

I think Oxy has the potential to create a more educated, socially aware, and emotionally intelligent individual than the one who came into the college their first year. I am extremely grateful for my own personal development through my time at Oxy and am eager to advance through my paths in life. However, I'm just as eager, if not more, to witness my peers on their respective paths.

Kia Mackey

Biology major, Public Health minor

What will you miss most about Oxy?

After leaving Oxy, I will miss running into friends, teammates and professors on the quad. Oxy’s small, mostly on-campus community has really created a tight knit community where I know most people I run into at our two main dining halls and library on campus. What I will miss most is the people I’ve made relationships with at Oxy and the ability to easily meet up with them in the Green Bean or run into them on campus and catch up about life updates. 

Talk about one highlight of your Oxy experience that you will always remember.

Throughout my senior soccer season I battled multiple injuries that had me in and out of practices and games. In the middle of the season, I was able to play the second half of the CalTech game after an extended period of sitting out of play. I remember the cheers from my teammates and my friends in the stands as I stepped on the field, just so excited for me to be playing again. That made me realize that my love for being a part of the Oxy Women’s Soccer team surpassed what happened on the field, and lay in the community and relationships I have built with everyone I met through the program. 

Are there specific professors that really stand out for you?

I am very fortunate as a biology major to have had amazing professors that not only are effective instructors, but also care so much about their students. Specifically, I am so grateful to have had Professor Cheryl Okumura as my lab Principal Investigator and mentor. I took two classes with Professor Okumura, which were no walk in the park as her grading and assignments really tested me as a student. However, her extensive feedback always taught me what I did wrong and how to fix it in the future. I left both of her classes a better student. Spending so much time with Professor Okumura in class, lab and as her teaching assistant, I formed a relationship with her where I started calling her my Oxy mom as she not only helped me academically, but also guided me through difficult times during online classes and the adjustment back to in person during my senior year. 

Can you talk about one way Oxy has prepared you for the next chapter?

At Oxy I’ve developed my skills as an effective communicator and learned the importance of these skills in almost any field. I’ve learned at Oxy and throughout the pandemic that words are important, be it via writing, images, speaking, etc. Communication is a powerful tool that can divide people or bring people together around a common passion, the difference is how you use it and what your intentions are. 

Alejo Maggini

DWA and Economics major, Education minor

What will you miss most about Oxy?

I will miss walking around campus saying hi to lots of friendly faces. That's the beauty of studying at a small liberal arts college. I get to cross paths with classmates, dancing partners, inspiring faculty, and dedicated workers. I will miss our Oxy community. 

What is special about the people at Oxy?

There is always something interesting to learn about everyone at Oxy and spaces to connect with each other. From problem-posing in an Education classroom and student-run efforts to address injustices in L.A. to campuswide intentional restorative justice conversations and a Presidential Inauguration, people at Oxy encourage you to work together to make a positive impact in the world.

Talk about one highlight of your Oxy experience that you will always remember.

My third time performing at Dance Production, the first one in-person, will live in my heart forever. After three years of expectation due to the pandemic, I had the pleasure of co-choreographing a Ballet Folklorico piece with my dear friend and dancing at Thorne Hall with a fantastic group of Oxy students. Dancing a piece that celebrated my roots in Argentinian Folklore next to people I treasure and in front of a supportive and excited audience made me feel connected to Oxy as my home far from home. Dance Pro gifted me with friendships for life and a unique sense of belonging to Oxy.

Are there specific professors that really stand out for you?

As an aspiring educator, I particularly appreciate it when a professor connects with their students beyond academic instruction and shares their humanity or provides advice and words of encouragement. I owe Professors Alan Knoerr and Elizabeth Barber for celebrating diversity and making me feel at home in their Folk and Historical Dance Troupe and Professor Anthony Chase for connecting me to Los Angeles and encouraging me to delve deeper into community realities from a people-centered approach. In theory and practice, Professors Lan Chu, La Mont Terry, and Daron Djerdjian have taught me to always listen to all sides in a conflict, analyze issues from all possible angles, and trust individuals and communities. I thank all of them for their guidance, support, and friendship, which I keep close to my heart and remember every time I step into a classroom.

What’s the most important thing you learned at Oxy and will take with you into the world?

Collaboration and community building are crucial for long-lasting change in any endeavor, group, or institution, no matter its size or context. Teamwork requires respecting others' identities and being open to listening to new perspectives. I worked in a city-academic partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of International Affairs and Oxy’s Young Initiative for three years. The most meaningful and creative outcomes occurred at the intersection of students' curiosity and passion, professors' guidance, and city officials' real-life experiences dealing with these challenges every day.

Can you talk about one way Oxy has prepared you for the next chapter?

Oxy has reaffirmed that my ideas, background as a first-generation international student, and identity belong to the professional and academic worlds. I leave Oxy with a greater sense of trust in myself thanks to my supportive peers, encouraging faculty, loving workers, and empowering community. I sincerely hope that Oxy continues advancing its mission for Equity and Justice through community-building, collaboration, and active listening to ensure that everyone feels welcome and connected to our community. I will always be grateful to Oxy for this experience and ready to support its mission.

Jason Park

Politics major

What will you miss most about Oxy?

I will miss the students, peers, professors, staff, and administrators with whom I have developed personal and professional relationships. While I may not be present on campus after my commencement, I am eager and committed to maintaining these relationships. 

What is special about the people at Oxy?

The Oxy community has a culture of uplifting, empowering, and caring for one another that I have thrived in and that I will never forget. 

Talk about one highlight of your Oxy experience that you will always remember.

One area of my Oxy experience that I think is worth highlighting is the programming and events that SLICE and student organizations put on. The College staff and students who organize them genuinely put a lot of hard work, effort, and creativity into them, and through these spaces that they create, I have felt a strong sense of community with others on campus.

Are there specific professors that really stand out for you?

The faculty of the Departments of Politics, History and Spanish will always hold a special place in my heart—not only because I am a politics major and a history and Spanish double minor and took the majority of my classes in those departments—but because of their mentorship. Over my four years, they have pushed me to wrestle over complex issues that our country and society faces and challenged me to become a better scholar, writer, thinker and aspiring future public servant. 

What’s the most important thing you learned at Oxy and will take with you into the world?

My time at Oxy has taught me to cherish the people whom I meet, wherever I go. Achievements and accomplishments are great but what matters more are the people with whom I am able to learn, grow, and develop alongside.  

Can you talk about one way Oxy has prepared you for the next chapter?

From the Career Center to student organizations like Oxy Democrats, Oxy has opened many doors for me to pursue and take on greater leadership roles and opportunities within the Democratic Party. During my time at Oxy, I have worked for legislators, statespeople and campaigns at all levels of our government. I also began my own journey as a rising star within the national, state, and local levels of College and Young Democrats as well as the Party at large.