Hometown: Oakland , CA
High School: College Preparatory School
Intended Major: Religion (Honors)
Possible Career: Teaching, Activism, Theology
Virginia's academic and personal interests have changed dramatically since she arrived at Swarthmore. Coming in as a potential journalist or editor, at Swarthmore she discovered her love for teaching children and studying theology (which she has not yet figured out how to reconcile). In the Religion Department she found a close-knit, intellectually-challenging and truly extraordinary community of scholars. She has also been deeply involved in the tutoring and teaching opportunities provided at Swarthmore, particularly through the Education Department. In addition to being a teacher's aide and working in after-school tutoring programs, she designed and taught for two semesters an interdisciplinary program for sixth grade students in the underprivileged nearby town of Chester, PA, based around the theme of knitting (which was a hit for boys and girls alike!).
She has used her scholarship in a wide variety of ways. In the summer after her freshman year, she designed and co-taught a three-week-long, full-day summer program for a group of sixth grade students from the "Murder Mile" in Oakland, CA, focusing on Oakland's diversity. In the summer following her junior year, Virginia pursued an internship in NYC with a nonprofit called the Tatenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, as the Religion and Diversity Education Summer Intern. She designed a rigorous, standards-based and interdisciplinary middle school curriculum about immigration, which will be used in several New York City public school classrooms. In addition, she spent two and a half weeks hiking the 211-mile John Muir Trail in California (from Yosemite National park, at 4,000 ft, up and over Mt. Whitney, at 14,505 ft, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States).
She has been active in the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, the Interfaith Center, Swarthmore Progressive Christians, the Swarthmore Christian Fellowship, and the Good Food Project (as part of the "composting crew"). She hopes to spend next year on the trail, either abroad or on the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, before going on to graduate study in religion and ultimately, the classroom.