Perks of Being a Senior

You get to hang out with the President at her house!12919651_10206141408316204_3264127441256859673_n

One of the things seniors look forward to at the end of the year is attending Bryn Mawr’s Senior Dinner. Each year, the President opens up her home to celebrate the near- completion of our senior year, and our time at Bryn Mawr. It’s especially fitting because during our first week on campus as a freshman, we are invited to the President’s house for a dessert reception, and we end our time at BMC by returning to the same place!

12809724_10206141409116224_8017842457559840766_nIt was so much fun to get dressed up and see friends and peers in this happy and celebratory atmosphere. Dinner was of course delicious, (a huge thank you to everybody who helped put it together and make the night so memorable!) and President Cassidy made her way to each table during the dinner to share in our conversation and celebration. We are very lucky to have a President who is so invested, not just in the college itself, but in each and every one of its students. For example, I had the awesome opportunity to take a course with President Cassidy in the fall. Her commitment to teaching at the college, as well as being at its helm, is just one of the many ways she shows her connection and investment in students and the community.

And… hang out with the President in New York City!

IMG_9642Each year, students who are receiving a Bryn Mawr grant are asked to submit a scholarship profile, with the goal of being able to share our voices and experiences with donors of the college. We get to virtually share with them a little bit about our background, what we’re studying, and what we hope to do after graduation.  A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a scholarship event hosted by President Cassidy at an alumna’s apartment in New York City. I was extremely eager to accept, and last Wednesday, I got to attend and meet two of the incredible individuals who have helped make attending Bryn Mawr possible for me and my family.

IMG_9652My Bryn Mawr Grant is generously funded by the Class of 1958 Scholarship Fund, and I was honored to be able to meet a couple who has graciously donated to that fund so that I could have the privilege of saying that I am a student, and soon-to-be graduate of Bryn Mawr. I, and the other current students who were invited (who were from all class years!), got to mix and mingle with some of the donors to the many scholarships BMC provides to make attending our college more feasible and realistic for families. It was inspiring and incredibly humbling to be around and speak with so many individuals who were all committed to helping make attending Bryn Mawr a reality for me, my peers, and future mawrters to come. I am forever grateful to the members of the Class of 1958, and to all donors and their families for their generosity and dedication to Bryn Mawr students.

And… get invited to the Parent Welcome Reception for the Class of 2020!

IMG_9766As a thank you to senior tour guides in the office, we are invited to attend one of the Welcome Receptions hosted by the Admissions Office for parents of newly admitted students who could be part of Bryn Mawr’s Class of 2020. I can hardly believe that we are already welcoming the next class of baby blues. I have worked as a tour guide for the last three years, and each year as I give tours to future generations of mawrters, I can’t help but think back to my first visit on campus. One of the best parts of being a tour guide is seeing the look on students’ faces as they walk around campus for the first time.

As with all Bryn Mawr events, the food and company were fabulous, and it was an honor to meet and speak with parents about why I chose and stayed at Bryn Mawr. Members of the campus community were present, as well as President Cassidy, and together, we got to welcome our guests to BMC, and share everything we love about it. It was a fun event, and I’m so thankful I got to attend! This weekend is full of admitted student events, and I can’t wait to welcome the Class of 2020 to my second home!

Being a senior has a ton of perks, and these were just a handful! There is just about a month left before graduation, and just over two weeks until my thesis is due… While it feels overwhelming at times, I keep reminding myself that done is almost so good, and to celebrate each day I have left in this beautiful place. More to come!

Day at the Museum

Have you ever wondered how much a group of students could geek out about Anthropology and museums? Well after spending the day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City last Friday, I can personally tell you that it is *a lot*. In a couple previous blogs, I have talked about my love for Bryn Mawr’s new Museum Studies program. After our visit on Friday, I am even more inspired by, in love with, and excited to see the program grow.

IMG_9464We started our visit off with a lunch of authentic New York pizza and conversation with six incredible members of the museum’s education department. Each educator talked to us about their path to their current position, and as somebody who is interested in museums and their intersections with education programming, I was fascinated to hear how they had become part of the museum’s team. After lunch, we made our way into the inner-workings of the museum building and quite literally got to go behind the scenes. On the way to our next stop, we walked through hallways lined with offices and cases full of artifacts. It was breathtaking to realize that even though the museum has an amazingly large amount of artifacts and objects on display, there are even more artifacts that are not on permanent display. If only museums had infinite amounts of space!

IMG_9465Besides being in awe of having the opportunity to see a side of the museum that not many visitors get access to, by walking through the hallways of the museum behind the scenes, we got to literally walk in the footsteps of Margaret Mead, who through her work helped popularize American Anthropology. This is where the geeking out came in! As an Anthropology major, it was surreal to be a place where not only one, but two prominent individuals in your field had once worked and left their mark on. Franz Boas, who is known as the father of American Anthropology also worked at the AMNH, and according to one of the curators we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with, the museum is where Boas decided American Anthropology should be taught using a four- field approach including Cultural, Biological, Linguistic, and Archaeology, a practice the Bryn Mawr Anthro. department still practices today.


Fellow Banter Blogger Maeve and I in front of Margaret Mead’s office!

The curator we spoke with also talked to us about what it was like to work with Margaret Mead, and even had her rocking chair right in his office, which one of my classmates got to sit in! She once told him that the classroom should not get in the way of students’ learning, a comment that has continued to stay in mind. I was struck by it, because it really highlights the need for programs like Museum Studies at BMC, and the other PRAXIS courses we offer that make field sites outside of the college integral to students’ learning. Our syllabus came to life, as we were able to see the artifact that is pictured on its first page. That is a cool feeling! We can learn incredible amounts from lectures, discussions, and our textbooks, but nothing can compare to the learning you get from immersing yourself in a place.

Our next stop was the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples where we got to hear about the intricacies of museum display, communication with cultures represented in the hall, and the effects of popular media on the museum. After all was said and done, we had about an hour of free time to explore the museum before we had to board the van back to Bryn Mawr. While we all would have loved even more free time to explore, we were all exhausted after such a full day of learning, questioning, and discussing. I’m sad that my time in the Museum Studies program is coming to a close, but as I’ve said before in my blogs, I am beyond ecstatic that the program will continue to grow and expose students to these incredible places and the people who make them what they are today.

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Home for the Holidays

IMG_8803It’s so good to be home and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of senior year! When I was packing to come home, I left all of my heavy sweaters and boots at school because I never dreamed I’d need them in El Paso, which is known as the Sun City. We earned that name by having nearly 300 days of sunshine a year. After this weekend, you wouldn’t be able to tell! The day after Christmas, it started raining, quickly turned into into sleet, and by nighttime, it was snowing! Our area had been under a Winter Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service, but usually that means we get a dusting if we’re lucky. When they predicted 6 to 9 inches we didn’t believe them! Low and behold, it kept snowing and snowing all day and night.

It was so much fun to wake up two days after Christmas to a winter wonderland in the desert. I put on my scarf and hat and started playing! You know you grew up in the desert when you ask your mom things like, “How do you build a snowman?” and “How do you make a snow angel?” In the past when it has snowed, there is usually only a shallow layer and so when you try to make an angel you hit the dirt below. We must have had over half a foot because I was able to make one without any problems, but boy was it cold. D: With the help of my mom, we made a snowman that actually looked like a snowman! I searched the house for things to use for his face and buttons, and eventually decided on some chocolate kisses, leftover cranberries, and of course a carrot for his nose!

IMG_8808Despite having this awesome and unexpected snow storm, we still had to work against the sun as it kept popping out from behind the clouds just long enough to keep melting off our snowmen’s eyes and nose. After an hour outside, we decided to head in hoping the best for our frozen friend. Our fun in the snow was a wonderful surprise and a nice break from the warmer temperatures we were having in Bryn Mawr. While I’ve loved the cold and snow, I’m definitely ready for it to warm up just a bit. I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday weekend and best wishes for the New Year! More next week in… 2016! (Can you believe that? I certainly can’t!) Happy New Year to all!


The Sun City eventually did live up to its name, and unfortunately, my Olaf finally found out what summer feels like. 🙁

In Las Vegas we… go to museums?

For many students, Fall Break comes at the perfect time. About half way through the semester, homework, midterms, and extracurriculars have been keeping us busy and by this point, we are all in need of a breather. This break found me and two of my best friends in Las Vegas for some desperately needed relaxation and girl time. Senior year, while exciting, has been hectic and we were all ready to have some fun and leave our planners behind for the week.


The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, Nevada

Our first day in the city of neon and bright lights was spent admiring just that… the signs that made Las Vegas the cultural icon it is today. The Neon Museum is located just 20 minutes away from the strip in the downtown area. Our tour began during the heat of the day at noon and as all of the pieces are exhibited outside, we definitely got our dose of Vitamin D! It was fascinating to see all of the signage and remnants from the city’s past. Our tour guide was fantastic and gave us significant historical facts about the different hotels and casinos the signs came from and it was awesome to learn about the city’s founding before exploring it ourselves over the next few days. After the Neon Museum we made our way to the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. I think it’s the Bryn Mawr in us… learning doesn’t just stop because we go on vacation!


Inside the Bellagio’s Botanical Garden

We spent Sunday at our hotel’s pool soaking up the sun and relaxing in the cool water. The weather in Bryn Mawr was beginning to become chilly and so the dry heat was definitely appreciated. Monday morning brought us to the Strip where we walked up and down the row of incredible hotels, attractions, and shops. According to an app on my phone, we walked over 25,000 steps that day! We walked through the luxury shops at Caesar’s Palace and were in awe of the architecture that surrounded us everywhere we went. I have to say the Bellagio had the most beautiful interior with their botanical gardens decorated for the fall season with warm colored flowers and giant pumpkins. We then made our way back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.

12144710_10205075537670104_7801690509009651373_nAfter a summer of binge-watching MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, I was a happy camper Monday night when we ate at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill inside of Caesar’s Palace. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Gordon had been there himself! The food was absolutely incredible and I can only imagine how delicious his other restaurants are. I guess I’ll just have to go to all of them to confirm! He has four just in Las Vegas including a steak restaurant in Paris Paris. That one is definitely on my list to visit the next time we come to town.


Just hanging out on the rim of the Grand Canyon… nbd.

I’d have to say the highlight of my break was on Tuesday when we took a day-trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. Seeing the Grand Canyon was on my personal bucket list and I cannot begin to describe how majestic, serene, and magnificent it was. Words are simply not adequate. To see something so much larger than us, made by the force of nature, and containing such beauty was an absolutely meaningful experience that I can’t really compare to anything else I’ve ever witnessed. I would love to go back and actually hike from rim to rim as well as white water raft through the canyon. We’ll see how adventurous I am in the future!

We spent our last night in Las Vegas making an elementary school aged dream of ours come true by seeing Britney Spears in concert at Planet Hollywood. While I have to admit I was doubtful the show would live up to my circa 2001 expectations, her show was stylistically and musically so cool! When she sang “Oops I Did It Again”, “Ba12115767_10205085036827577_3461082386324415742_nby One More Time”, and “Lucky” I swear I was transported back to my CD playing, CD album toting first grade days. I can vividly remember watching a DVD of one of her concerts on repeat when I was about 7 while singing into a hairbrush as a microphone. It was such a nice throwback and a perfect way to end our week in Las Vegas.

Our seven days off of school went by completely too quickly, but we had the time of our lives and made so many memories in the process. Top it off with a visit from a very dear friend this weekend and it all made for an unbelievable week. Now it’s back to reality and back to the grind, but this break will be the push to get us through to Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks!


Tournament of Bands 2009 pics 001

High School Marching Kirsten #throwback

Last weekend, I attended my first football game since my high school marching band days. Even though I must have watched and played through at least 40 games during that time, I am still hopeless when it comes to understanding the sport. Despite this, I could not pass up the opportunity to see my first (and probably only) NFL game. Bryn Mawr’s Student Activities Office is a fantastic resource on campus that plans and organizes different events and excursions to help students get off campus and experience venues/activities we might not be able to get to on our own. In the past, they’ve organized trips to the King of Prussia Mall, Phillies baseball games, and even the haunted house attraction Eastern State Penitentiary puts on each year, and that’s just a few of their events.


View of NYC from the third level of MetLife Stadium

The NFL game was one of these Student Activities excursions. Our small ticket price covered entrance to the game and transportation to New Jersey where the Philadelphia Eagles were playing the New York Jets. It was so exciting to see the New York City skyline as we wove through traffic trying to get to the stadium. As we entered the parking lot, it looked like a sea of cars and trailers interspersed with grills, tents, and all sorts of food from very, very dedicated tailgating fans. We parked right between some Jets fans and let’s just say I was glad we weren’t wearing any Eagles gear. We navigated the cars and buses and made it to the stadium where there was a growing line of people waiting to get in. We made our way through security and decided to explore the gift shop before the massive crowds flooded in. If the shop wasn’t enough to entice you, there were stands upon stands of every food you can imagine… from cheesesteaks to hot dogs and everything in between. Finally, the game began and in the end, we witnessed the Eagles win their first game of the season. We must have been good luck charms!

IMG_7649It was an incredibly fun day to spend with friends and a neat way to get off campus for a little bit. Not to mention, the weather for it was absolutely beautiful! It was good to enjoy some sunshine before Hurricane Joaquin brought the clouds, chilly temperatures, and rain to us. I definitely can’t wait to take advantage of more Student Activities events this year.