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What’s Next? Seniors Share Post-Commencement Plans

Yellow flowers in foreground in front of Parrish Hall in background.

In the days leading up to a most historic Commencement, a sampling of the Class of 2022 took a moment to share their next steps. From embarking on a dream job, starting a plum grad program, giving back to their communities, or traveling the world, the graduating seniors continue to embody the ethos of Swarthmore. Though their days at the College have come to an end, their connections will continue to deepen.

Here, 24 graduating seniors share what’s next.

Tolu BanjoTolu Banjo, a medical anthropology special major from Newark, Del.

"I’m looking forward to taking some time off before pursuing med school. I will be moving to New York to work as a lab technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center studying metabolites. I’m excited to expand my skills as a researcher, and I hope to tap into my artistic side and find joy in the little things life has to offer."

Ethan BergmannEthan Bergmann, an economics and mathematics major from Rogersville, Mo.

"I’ll begin work as a senior research specialist in the Princeton University economics department in July — the next step toward my long-term goal of pursuing a Ph.D. in economics. I am thrilled to be able to work at the forefront of the field and study topics I’m passionate about. My professors at Swarthmore made a difference at all steps of my academic journey. They lit the spark that made me want to pursue economics and supported me throughout the application process."

Marion CarrMarion Carr, an honors economics major from Amherst, Mass.

"I'm doing an economics predoc at University of Chicago's Becker Friedman Institute. This program is intended for economics students who want to pursue a Ph.D. but want some research experience first. It’s a research assistant job/fellowship, but has perks like free classes and seminars. I’ll be able to work with well known economists at UChicago (and get letters of recommendation) before grad school."

Shadae ChambersShadae Rashawna Chambers, an honors psychology and cross-cultural psychology special major  from Albrightsville, Pa.

"I’ll be working at Johns Hopkins University as a research assistant for its School of Nursing. I am most excited about getting to explore new places and meeting new people in Baltimore."

Fouad DakwarFouad Dakwar, an honors music and theater composition special major from New York, N.Y.

"Before starting my one-year master's program in musical theater writing and design at Berklee NYC this September, I plan to write and record a concept album about a world in which dreams can be bought and sold. Inspired by the lyric, "Have you any dreams you'd like to sell" in Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," this passion project has been on my mind for a while now, and I can't wait to finally make this dream a reality (pun very much intended)."

Shay DowneyShay Downey, a cognitive science special major from Tahlequah, Okla.

"I’ll be attending an opera masterclass in Thessaloniki, Greece. Upon completion, I'll start work with an Indigenous-led organization in Vancouver called Reconciliation Canada, where I will be a project manager for an Indigenous women's leadership initiative. I’m really excited to get to travel and hone my craft in a beautiful place. I’m thrilled that when I return I can work with First Nations peoples as an expansion of the work I've done in the U.S. with my own tribes."

Max FinkelsteinMax Finkelstein, an honors biochemistry and mathematics special major from Singapore

"I’ll be starting an M.D.- Ph.D. program at UNC-Chapel Hill. I expect to make a whole bunch of new friends and be challenged academically. But in entering a new environment, the thing that I most want to retain from my time at Swarthmore is the spark. There's something special about speaking with a Swattie, and I'm not sure how often I'll find that spark out in the real world. When I graduate, I hope to keep my Swarthmore spark."

Theo GrayerTheo Grayer, an environmental studies and political science major from South Orange, N.J.

"I’ll be working as an outdoor educator at a small nonprofit in Vermont called the Aloha Foundation. I’ll be developing and implementing curricula for middle and high school-age kids to build their leadership skills and teach them more about the outdoors. Growing up in the suburbs of New York, there is so much about the natural world that I wish I had learned when I was younger, and I am excited to be able to pass some of those things on to younger students. I am also excited to take some time away from the classroom to think about my last four years at Swarthmore and do some reflecting about what comes next."

Amy HarrisAmy Harris, an economics and political science major from Gouldsboro, Pa.

"I’ll be working at the research organization Mathematica. I will help evaluate the effectiveness of programs providing critical services including education, early childhood development, and family support. I am grateful to be working on social issues I care about among people who put quality, community-based research first. It is rewarding to know I can use my experiences at Swarthmore to make a difference in my first job. My plans also include a cross-country road trip, catching up on all the non-academic reading I've put off over the last four years, and finally joining adult-league soccer (every D3 athlete's dream!)."

Summer HeidishSummer Heidish, a political science and global Francophone studies special major from Winter Park, Fla.

“I will be moving to Toulouse, France, in the fall to teach English in an elementary school for a year through a program called TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France). I'm very excited to finally have the opportunity to spend an extended period of time abroad, especially since the pandemic prevented me from having a traditional semester abroad experience. I'm also very passionate about the language acquisition process — I think it's an incredible tool for self-discovery and personal character development. My language teachers and professors have always played a very formative role in my life, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to step into a similar position to help young English-learners in France."

Harrison HothamHarrison Hotham, an economics major from Wallingford, Pa.

"I’ll be moving to work for AlphaSights in Manhattan. Before I move there, I will be taking all of June to travel Europe with my Swarthmore soccer teammates (Conor Gill, Charley Ward, Joe Barile, and Woojin Shin). We will be going to Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, and Croatia."

Ayleah JohnsonAyleah Johnson, a global public health and economics special major from Fayetteville, N.C.

"I'll be moving to Chicago with my fiancé before starting my job in consulting. I'm really excited to use the break in between graduation and work to spend time with my family. I am grateful that I was able to save money for a surprise family vacation as a gift to my mom. It's rewarding to reflect on where my life is headed and the privilege I have now compared to when I first came onto campus. As a first-generation and low-income student, there were plenty of experiences I had never had before coming here. Still, I'm excited to spend my time creating new memories together with my family this summer and in the future."

Eleanor MillerEllie Miller, an economics major from Providence, R.I.

"I have accepted a position as an analyst at Analysis Group, which is an economics consulting firm in Washington, D.C. I have elected to defer my start date for a year in order to have the opportunity to travel and live abroad next year, which is an adventure I am very excited about. My plan is to travel with friends across Europe over the summer and then I'm deciding between two job/fellowship opportunities for the rest of the year in either Dublin, Ireland or Spain. Both these options really interest me, and I am excited to be able to live abroad and experience another country in ways not possible from just being a tourist."

Erik OlsenAndrew Olsen, an economics and engineering major from Valley Cottage, N.Y.

"I’ll be returning to New York State to work for an economic consulting firm and prepare for an eventual Ph.D. in Economics. On a more personal note, I look forward to marrying my fiancée later this year. I'm excited for how my work will intertwine business, law, economics, and government on a daily basis. I'm also looking forward to learning from expert economists in the antitrust and intellectual property fields."

Martin RakowszczykMartin Rakowszczyk, an economics and linguistics major from Rockville, Md.

"Although I'm starting law school at Stanford in August, over the summer I actually plan to take Yiddish classes at a college level. I've always been fascinated by the language and see studying it as a way to gain access to a whole new world of literature and reconnect with my ancestors."

Sagar RaoSagar Rao, an honors philosophy and biology major from Palo Alto, Calif.

"Next year I'll be studying at the Center for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal. I'm excited to spend a whole school year in another country, and in particular in the heart of the beautiful Kathmandu valley, studying with other Buddhist studies students. I'm sure the experiences I have and people I will meet will make the trip rewarding, to say nothing of the things I'll learn in classes!"

Destiny SamuelDestiny Samuel, a Black studies and educational studies special major from Philadelphia, Pa.

"I’ll be working in Philadelphia as a research assistant for an education organization. I will be working on a project focused on the implementation of STEM programs in Philly schools. The people I will be working with all have vast and varied experiences in education, teaching, and education policy, and I’m eager to work and learn alongside them all. This is especially exciting for me to have found an opportunity that aligns with my interests in education, that will bring me back to serve in my hometown, and that will ground me as I gain practical work experience in the community before applying to graduate programs and hopefully continuing work in education."

Ruby SchlakerRuby Schlaker, a history and educational studies special major from Providence, R.I.

"Beginning in the fall, I’ll be student-teaching through the Swarthmore Educational Studies Ninth Semester program at Science Leadership Math Academy Middle School (SLA-MS) in West Philly. I’m so grateful to have the chance to be immersed in the world and ideas of young people again for the first time since COVID-19 hit. Even more exciting, I get to do this in the project-based learning model classrooms at SLA-MS, and work with Hilary Hamilton ’12 as my cooperating teacher."

Hannah SobelHannah Sobel, a music and mathematics major from Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Before grad school, I'm taking some time to work with the music community at large. I have a few composition projects in the works, but the first project is my trip to Alaska. I'm headed to Fairbanks in July as part of Composers in the Wilderness, a group of composers who are going backpacking and then will write Alaskan-wilderness inspired music to be performed in New York City. I'm very excited to meet the five other composers selected to go on this trip. I've been getting to know the contemporary composition community a little better throughout this year, and I'm so impressed with the music of everyone I meet. I'm excited to see what I can learn from these composers, and more simply, I'm excited to continue growing as a musician."

Dulce VenturaDulce Ventura, a biology and educational studies special major from Renton, Wash.

"This fall, I am extremely excited to be heading to Northern France on a French English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright Grant. As the first in my family to graduate college, this Fulbright is a reward to me, my family, and friends. It will be my first time out of the country, and I had never thought that my first international voyage would be a long-term relocation. I hope to continue uplifting and supporting immigrant communities in France and to learn as much from them as they do from me!"

Ella VetterGabriella Vetter, a peace & conflict studies and sociology & anthropology major from Coatesville, Pa.

"I will be moving to Philadelphia with some of my closest friends from Swarthmore. I will be working at [the talent management firm] TRUE Search as an analyst. I am most excited about deciding who I want to be in the world as a new graduate. I want to go to concerts, travel, spend time at the beach, and watch a ton of T.V. Other than that, I am not too sure. I hope to do some deep reflection on my college experience and what I most care about to decide where I want to go next, whatever I do, I will make sure that I love it."

Sarah WeinshelSarah Weinshel, an honors biology major from Minnetonka, Minn.

"I will be getting an M.Phil in biological science (genetics) at the University of Cambridge, which is a one-year research master's degree. The lab I am working in studies epithelial cell polarization in Drosophila fruit flies, and in my research I will use genetic and molecular approaches to inhibit protein function and see how this impacts cell polarity. Outside of the science, I am really excited to immerse myself in culture and life in the U.K., and be exposed to the international community at Cambridge."

Rubing ZhangRubing Zhang, an honors film & media studies major from China

"I will be attending the film program of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. I've been working toward my goal of becoming a filmmaker throughout my time at Swarthmore, and I'm glad that I will be able to carry on my effort to the next chapter of my education. Also, this summer, I’ll be [assistant-teaching] for a film production summer program for high schoolers -- the same program that I participated in as a high school student, which helped me to make sure filmmaking was what I wanted to do. This will feel like a full circle to me, back to where it all started."

Robert ZigmundRobert Zayd KiaNouri-Zigmund, a peace & conflict studies major from Glenside, Pa.

"Next year I am excited to begin a master's program in Islamic Studies, with a concentration in Shi'ism, at George Washington University in D.C. I will be studying alongside renowned scholars in the field, and am super excited to explore liberatory and justice-focused aspects of Islamic thought. I have greatly enjoyed my time at Swarthmore, and hope to take the wisdom I have gained from so many inspirational people here into my life. I plan to continue Arabic, and I hope to travel in the next few years to Egypt, Jordan, and/or Iran."

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