All Stories


Aaron Appel '16

On experiential learning: "What I chose to do while at The Philadelphia Center would have been inconceivable had I not spent the last two and a half years living in this small-town Ohio community." [more]

Aaron Kokotek '11

On researching wolves in Minnesota: "We heard howls in the distance, howled in response, and heard the wolf pack reply to our call." [more]

Aaron Mucciolo '02

On ObieGame: "Five years ago two Obies created a game. Showing great wit, they named it ObieGame. Beyond this, facts are amorphous at best." [more]

Abbas Mohsin '13

On being a part of the Student Finance Committee: "Oberlin retains a special place in my heart because of the people, and being part of the student organization at the core of student life on campus helped me cultivate those friendships." [more]

Abigail Lofchie '12

On being a biology tutor: "I like... seeing students become comfortable with the material so that they can enjoy it instead of just seeing the class as a source of stress." [more]

Adam Kander '07

On the energy of the arts at Oberlin: "This is Oberlin at its best. The constant performance, observation, and absorption of art in all its various forms. Oberlin is a place where art and creativity thrive, as long as there are students around willing to give of themselves." [more]

Adina Langer '06

On a fateful spring break: "In the spring of 2004, I embarked on my first ever camping trip with two of my best friends from Oberlin ... I didn't know yet, but on that trip, I'd caught a permanent case of the research bug. I returned from my trip with a new zest for my history major." [more]

Aditi Banerjee '17

On finding friends on the field hockey team: "A camaraderie developed—probably born out of undergoing the rigors of preseason together—which blossomed into close friendships over the course of the season." [more]

Alen Cisija '12

On being a part of the Oberlin College men's soccer team: "We call it OC Love. We don't play for ourselves, we play for each other. I am honored to stand side by side with every one of those guys." [more]

Alex Darr '08

On Christianity at Oberlin: "I learned so much. I became a true leader. I learned how to make decisions as part of a team. I learned to be a peacemaker between friends... I discovered a lot more about who God is." [more]

Alex Edwards '12

On teaching the fencing ExCo: "I learned that teaching an ExCo is about more than just talking at the students and expecting them to learn - it's about listening and attempting to modify each aspect of the class to fit the students' needs. " [more]

Alia Kate '08

On her new rug-importing venture, Kantara Crafts: "I have just returned from Morocco with my first batch of rugs and the excitement is palpable; what started with my desire to make a difference on a local level two years ago has now turned into a veritable business." [more]

Alice Ollstein '10

On what a student co-op in Oberlin has in common with Nicaragua's strongest union: "As we sat in my host mom Jacinta's kitchen, I felt like a true partner, fighting alongside the UNAG because we want the same things for the same people." [more]

Alicia Dudziak '13

On joining OSteel: "I loved that I began to feel like a good musician even though my musical experience had been limited since age 10, when I quit piano." [more]

Alicia Smith '10

On the Oberlin Journalism Workshop: "Meeting and working with some of the best in American journalism, many of them Oberlin alumni, was truly inspiring." [more]

Allison Lint '09

On founding Violin for Vasculitis: "I am more often labeled an 'activist' than a 'touring violin virtuoso,' [but] that doesn't alter my goal. I am musically fulfilled through this project more than I ever could be as a healthy performer." [more]

Ally Sterman '09

On being a docent in Oberlin's world-class art museum: "I have been leading tours of the museum's broad and overwhelmingly impressive collection for almost four years now, and the joy of engaging visitors in discussions concerning art has only intensified." [more]

Althea Lamel '13

On growing: "I realized I had come a long way from the student who sat in that class three years earlier doubting herself. I had become the articulate college student who had intimidated me so much in my first semester of college." [more]

Amanda Medress '09

On the Oberlin College Dialogue Center: "We handle conflict through a social justice lens, which means acknowledging that differences in power and privilege inherently affect human interaction." [more]

Amanda Nichols '12

On making a video for an Ellen DeGeneres Show contest: "I had only known these people for a couple of months, and I was not only asking them to dance and sing in a public place, but I was also potentially asking them to do it on national television (if we won)." [more]

Amanda Turley '10

On fighting back: "My freshman year, I joined the planning committee for Oberlin's first ever Relay for Life. For the event, I started my own team: the Pirates Dueling Cancer, decked out in black and red pirate attire. That first year, we raised over $20,000." [more]

Ambre Dromgoole '15

On discovering the community of Afrikan Heritage House: "I had found a community that I knew would have my back, a community that I have now come to love and am unable to see myself without." [more]

Amy Hess '12

On learning tango: "Nothing is as awkward as the first class of Argentine tango. Take two very nervous strangers, both aware of their mutual ignorance of dancing, make them stand chest-to-chest and hold each other, and you get some very red faces." [more]

Amy Hourcade '15

On her winter term in Tokyo: "I was thrust out of my comfort zone, thanks to Oberlin, and have never been happier." [more]

Andrea Goltz '17

On being there for others: "When I got tired, I'd always have Ren to go to. I'd sit in a little nook in her supply room-turned-office for five minutes, ten minutes, an hour, and just talk about life, or about the various merits of carrots, whatever was on our minds." [more]

Andrew Flachs '11

On their Winter Term project: "Touring as the saxophone and classical guitar duo Syzygy proved to be a defining moment in both of our burgeoning musical careers." [more]

Andy Bartholomew '07

On biking across Japan: "From March 15th to June 10th, I cycled from Kyushu to Nagano. Nearly every day I flash back to some moment of my trip to Japan. I'll hop on my bike, or see a train, and I'll remember my first day on the road or jumping on the Shinkansen." [more]

Anita Fahrni '65

On changing the world, one book at a time: "After returning, I started to collect, sort and send books. Within 10 years, over 220,000 books would find their way from my garage to libraries throughout Mongolia!" [more]

Anna Arays '10

On passion: "I spent my junior year working in Special Collections: looking at rare books, taking them apart, putting them back together, petting, and loving them. The job was fantastic: this is what I'd always been looking for." [more]

Anna Band '13

On supportive friendships: "Among the many things I've learned from my best friend is to be proactive about my life. You can't just sit around and wait for opportunities to come to you - you have to take matters into your own hands." [more]

Anna Brown '11

On exploration: "For my whole life, I lived on the same 15-acre piece of rural property. At Oberlin, the opportunities to get out and see the world kept popping up... my biggest fear [now] is that I'll eventually run out of new places to visit." [more]

Anna Ernst '10

On her first-year dorm: "I hope that incoming Obies who decide to live in Barrows or Dascomb will experience the same feeling I felt often my first year... It was simple, but I felt like I was home. I think that's good community for you." [more]

Anna Zeemont '13

On embracing writing: "Oberlin revolutionized the way I think about writing - which in turn shaped me not just as a learner but also as an individual." [more]

Anne Hoffman '08

On habits developed at Oberlin: "I spent mornings at Black River, nursing coffee and developing an addiction from which I have no intention of recovering. I read political theory that made my brain feel like it was on fire. I read Chaucer in the original Middle English." [more]

Anne Richmond '83

On moving to India after graduation: "There is nothing like being immersed in another culture -- no longer being the majority -- to force one to recognize what profoundly cultural beings we really are." [more]

Arianna Gil '16

On finding a personal space: "Establishing meaningful relationships with supportive professors through hard work and dedication is the most important thing you can do as a new student." [more]

Aries Indenbaum '09

On Oberlin's student-run circus: "Circus stood for the things I valued: inclusion, family, daring, theatre without drama, strength, flexibility, clumsiness, music, love. If anyone asked me what I cared about, circus would be one of the first words out of my mouth." [more]

Arjuna Pettit '14

On pushing boundaries: "I still remember the sense of accomplishment that I felt after completing the final exam for Bio 100. I had conquered the beast." [more]

Ashley Docherty '13

On discovering intramural sports at Oberlin: "At Oberlin, I expected to just exercise my mind; playing intramural basketball gave me a chance to get moving and be a part of a team." [more]

Ashwin Kambhampati '14

On answering the "What's your major?" question: "I am an economics and mathematics major. I feel, though, that I am an Oberlin major; the liberal arts approach helping me discover the subjectivities involved with looking at the world though different lenses." [more]

Asishana Osho '10

On being pre-med: "Oberlin has a great reputation among graduate schools. According to one of my [medical school] interviewers, we are known for producing some of the 'most talented, most versatile and most driven applicants.'" [more]

Assiatou B. Diallo '08

On the interdisciplinary nature of her Oberlin experience: "I love learning, and my own life sits at so many intersections. At Oberlin, I felt at home with my peers who were passionate about using their academic studies for social change." [more]

Avery Waite '10

On Oberlin's Contemporary Music Ensemble: "In this new music, I heard nothing, only an ugly idiom that my ear could not, would not grasp... Then something happened that I'll never forget." [more]

Avital Isaacs '10

On the spirit of Oberlin: "Oberlin draws the creative, the overstimulated, the passionate, and puts them together for four years to marinate." [more]

Becca Orleans '16

On combining interests in creative writing and environmental studies: "In providing a text that shares experiences of running and strength in running, I hope that this collection helps women feel more empowered to openly move throughout the environment." [more]

Ben Ferber '11

On there being too much to do at Oberlin: "I always thought I was good at time management, but handling five classes, three plays, two student organizations, an RA job, a radio show, and a social life as an Oberlin sophomore is a little like juggling chainsaws." [more]

Ben Klebanoff '09

On Oberlin's Student Senate: "Students take active roles in all levels of the Oberlin administration, help determine the courses that are available for students to take, and help make hiring decisions." [more]

Ben Newhouse '04

On the lessons learned working for the Oberlin Review: "[I've taken] with me the grinding productivity, invention of necessity, and constant grace under constant pressure that I acquired down in Burton basement." [more]

Benjamin Jakubowski '11

On organizing a winter term project about coal's life-cycle effects in central Appalachia: "thanks to the strength of the Oberlin community and the support that is so close at hand, the road between imagination and realization isn't as far as it might seem." [more]

Beth Rogers '07

On moving to China: "I struggled in basic conversation, couldn't communicate emotion, couldn't deal with the subtleties of the language at all, and couldn't read anything ... in some ways I think I re-discovered the potency and complexity of language during that time." [more]

Brandi Ferrebee '10

On alumni support: "I've had the good luck to have several incredible alums on my side, helping me through those new experiences I've chosen and nudging me towards the new ones which they instinctively know I will need." [more]

Brendan Nuse '17

On language as a gateway: "I am still a little surprised that a job as a translator of standardized test instructions ended up teaching me about Ohio history, but, then again, my experiences with Chinese at Oberlin have always been enlightening." [more]

Brendan Veeneman '07

On learning beyond one's major: "I think it is a uniquely Oberlin phenomenon that introductory courses are every bit as interesting and rigorous as upper level courses, and it was this strength that encouraged me to diversify my education as I desired." [more]

Brenna Larson '14

On choosing an Oberlin path: "My Oberlin career, like many, has been far from linear, and I am glad that I have strayed from my plan. A planner at heart, changing gears, changing life goals, was a rocky and emotional process, and one I would not undo." [more]

Brianna Murray '18

On the Music in London winter term project: "During this three week trip, I was able to experience life outside the United States for the first time as well as immerse myself in the musical culture of a vibrant city." [more]

Brook Luers '12

On attending the Tank pig roast: "Events like this, where wildly different people end up hanging out together, are common at Oberlin." [more]

Caitlin O'Neill '11

On study abroad: "Even though there were days when I missed my family and friends so much that it hurt, days when I thought that another rainy day would drive me up the wall, I would not trade my experience for the world." [more]

Carl McDaniel '64

On his climate-neutral home in Oberlin: "For almost three decades we imagined building a passive solar house ... After a very intense two years, we moved into Trail Magic, our home among kindred spirits dedicated to creating a more durable future." [more]

Carla White Freyvogel '79

On being one of the first female runners: "Running became a political statement for me... while other women made statements in class, delivering heart-pounding lectures, papers, and demonstrations, I put on my shoes and ran with the men." [more]

Cassandra Dean '17

On becoming a good researcher: "I am now able to conduct research at a higher level than most people expect of an undergraduate student, and my ability to network and schedule have improved dramatically." [more]

Catherine Oertel '99

On teaching at Oberlin: "I have initiated new synthetically-oriented research projects in my laboratory here, but I have also continued my work on organ pipe corrosion with students who have been attracted by research that connects science and art." [more]

Celina Siegel '18

On living in tiny communities: "They are exhausting and overwhelming and stressful in a way that only intense familiarity can be. They are also wonderfully intimate and deeply comforting and rewarding." [more]

Chantal de Somer '09

On writing a novel: "I was afraid I would not be able to finish the novel by the end of the semester, but I did it. It is not polished, but it is a complete story. Coming to Oberlin and taking creative writing classes has improved my writing in more ways than I can count." [more]

Charles Abbott '14

On Oberlin's inclusive music scene: "Collaboration plays a fundamental role in the community's constant appetite for great art. This inclusivity is indicative of the communal Oberlin personality that makes it such an incredible place." [more]

Charlotte Landes '13

On making new friends on a service trip: "Everyone was open to each experience we encountered, greeting each inevitable trial with a smile, a shrug, and a 'we'll figure it out.'" [more]

Chase Palmer '08

On opportunity: "I spent many years grappling with what type of profession I wanted to pursue in my life. I considered medicine, legal work, and many other paths. But one thing always remained the same: my passion for helping others reach their full potential." [more]

Chelsea de Souza '16

On learning to choose: "Oberlin has helped me with something that I have struggled with my entire life — the strength to make choices and believe in them despite any regrets that might follow." [more]

Chetan Poudel '14

On being an international student at Oberlin: "The international student orientation days always come to mind as serving as the springboard that launched me headfirst into the charms of Oberlin's diverse and global connections." [more]

Christina Spencer '11

On injury: "For the past week, I've had to sit out from the Yeowomen's Basketball team with a sprained ankle. Being unable to play or practice has only intensified my passion for this sport. Now, I crave basketball." [more]

Christopher Ayoub '15

On making new friends: "Our relationship began with laughter and silliness, and Kelin has been my dorky big sister away from home ever since." [more]

Christopher Gollmar '10

On teaching experimental typography: "It's esoteric, I guess, this interest of mine, but Oberlin is the kind of place where esoteric interests tend to flourish." [more]

Christopher Sanders '08

On the lifelong connection to Oberlin's values: "Oberlin instills in each student a dedication to improving the lives of others... I continue to incorporate my four years of experiences into my everyday life while working in the U.S. House of Representatives." [more]

Cindy Camacho '11

On becoming a scholar activist: "With the help of my wonderful mentor, Daphne John, associate professor of sociology, I am able to use the academic tools that I have gained at Oberlin to fight the battles of injustice." [more]

Claire Coleman '17

On the common language of music: "In trying to redefine myself in a new place and establish my new identity as an Oberlin student, I soon realized that what had once made me stand out instead now connected me to everyone around me." [more]

Claire Jenson '12

On academic passions: "I'm fortunate to go to Oberlin, to live in this world of thrilling academic inquiry and discovery, because the community keeps my mind constantly ticking, asking, and considering." [more]

Clinton Doggett '43

On memories of Oberlin: "It gets so you know almost everybody. I recall especially the first day after we all got back from summer vacation at the start of sophomore year, greeting people as we all streamed back and forth across Tappan Square." [more]

Colin Jones '08

On volunteering in post-Katrina New Orleans: "The values of service, hard work, and solidarity in the pursuit of justice that were instilled by Oberlin pushed us forward." [more]

Connor Lee '09

On learning to bake bread in a co-op: "Once I got over the fact that I could fit a few Hansels and Gretels inside the oven, it was just like any other kitchen, just larger and more awesome." [more]

Corey Patrick Harkins '12

On creating the Ecology Meditation Mindfulness ExCo: "Each week we intertwined meditation and mindfulness activities into our learning ... we always left with mud on our jeans and smiles on our faces." [more]

Corina Bardoff '07

On the improv scene at Oberlin: "[It] is so accepting and completely full of fantastically talented and inventive people who want nothing more than to "yes" what you give them." [more]

Cria Kay '16

On getting to New Orleans: "Navigating time commitments and cost restraints, I was surprised by how many opportunities appeared in front of me." [more]

Crystal Sheffield '12

On visiting Oberlin: "As I planned my schedule of classes to visit, I found myself tempted by the different departments listed and the variety of classes offered. I barely had time to fit in a conservatory class because I was so engrossed in the college." [more]

Cynthia Malasky '11

On working with IWP: "For two months, I have been in charge of the Oberlin region, working with two other student interns to teach English classes, serve as interpreters, and prepare for court cases for undocumented and contracted immigrant workers." [more]

Dagmawi Gebreselasse '14

On embracing independence: "Since coming to Oberlin, I have been fully responsible for my life and making important life decisions...I have started listening to myself and following my own path." [more]

Dan Barella '15

On the connections between Capoeira and social rights activism: "The conversation starts with you. You can't sit around waiting for someone else to start it for you." [more]

Daniel Domaguin '06

On organizing a conference his senior year: "[it was] an event whose legacy affects others and permeates the thought processes, ideals and actions of students who continue to advocate for Ethnic Studies, equality and social justice on campus today." [more]

Daniel Dudley '12

On cooking over winter term: "The Foodship was my refuge... of camaraderie and gastronomy with a splash of eccentricity on the top." [more]

David Fegley '13

On friendship: "Rather than watch Melanie's cold slowly progress, we, her loyal third-floor Barrows friends, decided to take action. We needed a holiday, a new holiday, to celebrate all things Melanie." [more]

David Fisher '12

On his work at the Bonner Center for Service and Learning: "Working for eco-social transformation in Oberlin is endowing me with a far deeper understanding of many things, including how to write a grant proposal, build a project vision, and seek to change the world." [more]

David Lowe '11

On living a multifaceted life: "I am a double major in law & society and sociology; I play varsity men's soccer; I am heavily committed to acting; I produce music and DJ on a regular basis. Only in a place like Oberlin." [more]

David Weasley '06

On getting married at the Big Parade: "I love the combinations of people at the Big Parade, the way someone will walk up to you and say, 'Excuse me, sir, will you wear this giant carrot costume?'" [more]

Derrick Bean '09

On the work-play balance at Oberlin: "I can study archeology, work out to pass the next fitness test, and rehearse my scene for Shakespeare class, all the while hanging out with people from all social circles with diverse interests." [more]

Dessane Cassell '14

On a change in perspective: "The distinction between my vantage point and that of the students had yielded entirely different interpretations of the work without us even realizing it." [more]

Diane C. Yu '73

On choosing Oberlin: "I had devoted countless hours in high school to efforts to better integrate the Rochester school systems and didn't want to go to a place where diversity was an afterthought." [more]

Dore Kiesselbach '88

On his poem about football at Oberlin: "The moment of revelatory tenderness I try to capture in this poem, exposed as it was by this rough game, meant as much to me as anything else I experienced as a student and remains very poignant to me today." [more]

Eint Kyi '16

On a second home: "In addition to the rewarding experiences I've gotten from my service sites, over the past two years, the little house known as the Bonner Center became my go-to place." [more]

Eleanor Van Buren '17

On solidifying cross-generational friendships: "From the first reply I received from Francine Schutzman '67, I knew we were on to something." [more]

Eliot Hart-Nelson '15

On clarity and falling down: "...In this moment I became aware of how much more comfortable with being alone I had become during my time at Oberlin." [more]

Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam '74

On the influence of an Oberlin education: "Oberlin was not simply a 4-year stopping point, but has been and continues to be an essential part of my journey. It taught me to be ever vigilant in seeking social justice, curious, caring, open to new opportunities, compelled to help others." [more]

Elizabeth Wong '12

On her first home volleyball game at Oberlin: "It had been my dream to play college volleyball since I can remember and as I stood star struck looking up at the flag, I could not help but smile and realize that I had done it. I was living the dream." [more]

Ellen Drake '15

On trying new things: "My whole life I have opposed most forms of personal change with all of my being...Much to my surprise, I felt my anxiety start to abate within hours of being on campus." [more]

Emily Brennan '15

On making friends: "The benefits of the meaningful conversations I had with my new friends outside of the classroom were robust... My friends became my teachers — a true Oberlin education." [more]

Emily Nord McClintock '76

On leaving Oberlin and returning: "What I thought must be standard fare at all colleges - the excellent music, the spectacular art museum, the earnest students - proved not to be standard at all." [more]

Emily Whitaker '12

On the last field hockey game of the season: "All at once, the reality of my situation hit me hard. In one hundred and eighty seconds my first varsity field hockey season would be over, and I found myself unprepared...I had never felt more part of a team." [more]

Emma Marshall '18

On the freedom of a month of independent study: "Winter term at Oberlin has taught me to follow my instinct. Winter term isn't about finding a perfect project that will make your life story more exciting; it's about finding yourself in a project." [more]

Eush Tayco '09

On visiting Greece: "The beauty of the environment and the ancient sites we visited convinced me to keep studying Classics; I wanted to know more about who built the sanctuaries at Epidaurus and the temples at Delphi, and to read the inscriptions on pediments and statue bases." [more]

Eva Fineberg '16

On building websites for the Oberlin College Archives: "My time in the archives department in Mudd Library allowed me to apply my coursework in computer science to a fascinating niche of Oberlin College's history." [more]

Evan Cameron '15

On being part of establishing SWAP, a book cooperative: "Several members of the class and I thought, "Wait a second. We're doing all of this work to describe this co-op. Why don't we make this idea a reality?"" [more]

Evan Tincknell '14

On joining the Great Lakes Research family: "It's incredible to be engaging with people from whom I am constantly learning, and to be taking academic courses that seem so relevant to my work and the world in general." [more]

Evelyn Wagaman '17

On deciding to go vegan: "It's this passion that I'll transplant into my academic work this fall, as I begin writing an Honors thesis in philosophy on animal ethics." [more]

Francesca Minonne '08

On her connection to the town of Oberlin: "I will take what I have learned with me: that academics and civic engagement can and should be combined, producing something far more enriching together than either alone." [more]

Gabe Brown '16

On overcoming physical injuries with community support: "Being on the cross-country team has been the glue that has held my Oberlin experience together." [more]

Gabriel Moore '15

On joining the Oberlin Christian Fellowship: "People within this community — or family rather — had strong desires for social justice and impact, and wanted to bring all of their friends on campus into this family, including me." [more]

Gabrielle Walsh '18

On a foundational winter term project: "Under Professor Matlin, I gained confidence in my lab work and got to befriend older student researchers who were already engrossed in the chemistry department and greater scientific community." [more]

Galen Brennan '17

On teammates becoming family: "In our most important game of the year, I stepped on the field for only the second time that year, a moment that made me realize how important the team had become for me. " [more]

George Saines '08

On the genesis of a company: "[My roommate] had a crazy idea: working for yourself and starting a company is way more creative and fulfilling than working at a preexisting company, and here we are six months after graduation [with] our fledgling educational software business." [more]

Georgia Horn '12

On being an art history major: "Thirteen years later, as a freshman in college, I found the perfect outlet for my misguided artistic endeavors: art history." [more]

Greg Mangan '09

On his roommate, Mike Loll, during their first pre-season: "He knew all the plays. He knew where to be at all times. He moved effortlessly through the logjam of the field. He was a natural." [more]

Gwen Krosnick '08

On learning Russian during Winter Term: "Sharing, with two of my best friends, those moments of joy and frustration, hilarity and utter confusion - it is something I could never have dreamed of anywhere but Oberlin, something I will remember forever..." [more]

Hank Willems '76

On road trips with lacrosse teammates: "As we were passing the Firestone tire factory, I remarked, "All I can smell is burning rubber." A minute later a car passed, the driver gesturing frantically. Glancing around, we realized that our tire was on fire." [more]

Hannah Fuson '11

On exploring new things: "I saw an outing club poster on a bulletin board. Though skeptical, I signed up for the trip, and spent a day hiking around the Appalachian foothills... [and] I never looked back." [more]

Hannah Gordon '11

On her service trip to Open Ground: "Throughout the week, so many tight-knit connections were formed among people from various niches of Oberlin–people who otherwise would have probably never even met each other." [more]

Hannah Levinson '09

On playing Carnegie Hall: "I never truly understood the relationship between a conductor and an orchestra until I played under Robert Spano '83." [more]

Hannah Varadi '15

On a (failed) attempt at an individual major: "I now have a better grasp of how all my language-based interests—translation, journalism, and, yes, fiction writing—tie into comparative literature." [more]

Hidong Kim '87

On being a life-long learner: "The same crackling energy I felt at Oberlin when immersing myself in new learning I now feel in medical school... Once again, the academic rigor I acquired at Oberlin lights my path." [more]

Hillary Swiss '11

On her 4-6 a.m. show on WOBC, the student-run college radio station: "Walking to and from Wilder in the middle of the night was extremely surreal, and I remember vividly how excited I was to share music with whoever was awake during my 'rite-of-passage' first-year show." [more]

Holland Hamilton '11

On the 'best kept secret in the Midwest': "Before coming to Oberlin, I had sworn off theater completely. In fact, I was done with performing in general. But looking back, I have no clue how I thought I could have gotten away with choosing anything else." [more]

Hope Rehak '11

On being part of the Posse scholarship program: "The other students who received a Posse scholarship to go to Oberlin that year were incredible leaders in their communities; I was proud to be included alongside them." [more]

Hyacinth Parker '17

On things working out: "School has had its ups and downs, but going into my senior year, I can finally understand why people say that college is such a good time in your life; when people said that to me freshman year, I thought they were crazy." [more]

Isabelle Harari '17

On performing with Oberlin's female and trans* hip hop dance group And What!?: "Our identity as dancers makes sure our audiences leave with material to ponder, discuss, and continue to engage with after our shows." [more]

Isadora Jaffee '13

On being on the mock trial team: "Our successful team is the perfect example of how you can create your very own passionate enterprise at Oberlin and find others who want to help." [more]

Jabali Sawicki '00

Contributed by Prof. Laurie McMillin: "Jabali left Oberlin in 2000 with a degree in Biology and no set plans. But he knew he wanted to teach... At the age of 27, he became the principal of Excellence Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn." [more]

Jackie Mostow '12

On starting the One Song Dance Parties in Mudd: "It answered the rarely asked question: why shouldn't stress reduction and (albeit short) physical activity be fun, promoted, and in an academic space?" [more]

Jacob Lamoureux '12

On Oberlin's terrific teachers: "When I graduated from high school, I thought the days of personal relationships with teachers who cared about me were over. Well, I've only been wrong once in the past 20 years, and that was it." [more]

Jacob Myers '12

On Oberlin's life preparations: "Oberlin's crash course in cultural understanding gave me open eyes, open ears, and an open heart, and at the end of the year, that's what helped me learn the most from my own experience." [more]

Jake Grossman '08

On becoming a scientist: "Oberlin taught me to view the natural world with wonder and curiosity, and gave me the tools to pursue that curiosity in a systematic way. This isn't to say that Oberlin turned me into a data-loving robot ... the other thing I became is a better person." [more]

Jake Holtzman '16

On exploration: "Although we are all at Oberlin to go to school first and foremost, I don't see an Oberlin education as complete without at least exploring the other opportunities that are so readily at our fingertips." [more]

Jamie Helmsworth '13

On starting a band at Oberlin: "The music scene is merely a symptom of an infectious enthusiasm that pervades Oberlin's student body. The zeal with which students here plunge themselves into their personal pursuits is unparalleled." [more]

Jane Clark '16

On opportunities and the people who help you grab them: "The people I have met at Oberlin have recognized potential in me that I did not know existed and held me together when I felt that I might crack." [more]

Jane Sandberg '10

On facing fears: "Sometimes the best way to get over an issue is to throw yourself into the middle of it and figure out how to make it work for you. This was the story of my first year at Oberlin... Oberlin is a field of such diverse ideas and possibilities." [more]

Jaremy Rich '07

On defining Oberlin: "There are thousands of attributes, numbers and statistics that you could chime off that make Oberlin marginally better or worse than any given institution...what the Princeton Review or the US News and World Report cannot calculate, however, is the Oberlin community." [more]

Jeffrey Hill '09

On his voice teacher, Kendra Colton '83: "She taught with a firm, guided, and encouraging hand, but always listened openly to my thoughts and ideas. She allowed me to find my own voice instead of telling me what I should be." [more]

Jennifer Jimenez '17

On joining Latin dance group Movimiento: "Walking into rehearsal every Thursday and Sunday night, I am greeted with hugs and kisses and an energy that is as vibrant as the salsas and merengues we dance to." [more]

Jenny Bower '13

On learning to cook in a co-op: "But in a co-op, plan incorrectly and you could be swimming in pinto beans, have enough lasagna to cover a mummy, pop enough popcorn to fill a bathtub - or not prepare enough vegetables to feed a baby mouse." [more]

Jessica DePaz '14

On studying abroad: "I embraced that experience because it helped me learn a lot more about myself. I found my voice, my interest in learning different languages, and my interest in teaching." [more]

Jessica Levine '95

On the level of teaching at Oberlin: "Great teachers make a difference in our lives because they knew how to support us and how to push us. Educators at Oberlin do so in the most masterful way. They are both craftsman and scholars. They are activists and orators; passionate and inspirational." [more]

Jiayu Lin '11

On being a member of Oberlin Student Finance and Investment Club: "All club members learn together in various forms: an ExCo, themed discussions at meetings, and, most often, the teamwork involved with putting together the stock presentations." [more]

Jill Herman '77

On her path from Oberlin: "I began thinking I wanted to be a teacher and a poet and left knowing I wanted to be a lawyer...What I probably didn't appreciate fully while I was at Oberlin are the intangibles that make it so unique and that played such a major role in forming my adult self." [more]

Jim Sunshine '46

On getting to Oberlin and returning: "Once here, I never looked back. I went off to war, came back after three years, graduated in 1949, married a classmate in Fairchild Chapel, took up that career in journalism, and returned 56 years later to live at Kendal on the edge of the campus." [more]

Jocie Sobieraj '15

On birthday celebrations: "Had my roommate known that I had secretly always wanted to do a scavenger hunt for my birthday ever since my older sister had one when I was 8? Probably not." [more]

Joelle Lingat '15

On discovering the Filipin@ community: "FASA made me embrace my endless need to be different. We're all just a group of kids trying to figure out how we each can be extraordinary in this very complex world." [more]

John Shaw '07

On training: "With the curtain obscuring most of the fieldhouse from view, the track became a tunnel that my distance mates and I would fly around countless times at every imaginable speed and level of (dis)comfort." [more]

Jonah Berman '03

On finding his place at Oberlin: "For me, the goal in truth was not to become the best saxophone player there ever was. It was to experience the incredible wealth of opportunities that Oberlin had to offer." [more]

Jonathan Pincus '83

On the shock of arriving in Indonesia: "I managed to get to the Menteng Hotel, where I witnessed an oversized rat execute a bellyflop into the hotel pool. That night I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. I hadn't." [more]

Josh Shuman '86

On Kosher Co-op: "There I learned to cook--my first meal of macaroni and cheese lathered with rum extract was not a hit, but later my Thanksgiving turkeys basted with beer and oranges were!" [more]

Josh Sobel '09

On theater during Winter Term: "Friendships are strengthened, working relationships are fostered, and creativity blossoms as everyone comes together to spend a month making art." [more]

Joshua Davidson '12

On having a show on WOBC: "In my years of DJing, the station always felt like a tight ship, full of equally obsessive folks seeking out just the right record and wanting to share that ecstatic moment with the greater community both in school and in town." [more]

Joshua Levy '94

On his January spent underwater: "Thanks to the Winter Term opportunity at Oberlin ... I've had the opportunity to see a manta ray in Hawaii, turtles in St. John, garden eels in Saba, docile sting rays in Cayman, and the most spectacularly colored fish in the Red Sea." [more]

Joshua Morse '12

On changing intellectual pursuits: "Oberlin [gave] me the chance to see that I could find that same level of fulfillment and meaning in any field that struck my fancy." [more]

Joycelyn Eby '09

On organizing a Bassoon Quartet tour of China: "As someone who was reluctant to go to college 'in the middle of a bunch of cornfields,' I now can't imagine having gone anywhere else for school ... no other institution would be so supportive of my pursuit of so many different interests all at once." [more]

Judy Karasik '75

On the way we treat writing at Oberlin: "I was so deeply engaged and tangled up in writing as a living, morphing entity, that when I got to graduate school I couldn't tolerate the aridness of what passed there at the time for intellectual discourse." [more]

Jules Brouillet '10

On the things to do at Oberlin: "There are enough great organizations, activities, events and concerts here that it is impossible for one student to do everything or even half of everything. The hardest decision that many students face daily is the choice between commitments." [more]

Julia Maier '12

On Oberlin family history: "If I stare carefully at the ceiling of the turret and employ my imagination, I can see the mural mosaic that was painted while my father lived in the room." [more]

Julie Lopresto '12

On living on SciFi Hall: "...when I step out my door, there will be a friendly face around the corner. I've made some of the best friends I've ever had there, and have found what I'm proud to call my home at Oberlin." [more]

Juliette Lu '12

On interning at a hedge fund: "I had preconceived ideas of finance as a lofty, entirely mathematical, robotically exact, and overall boring kind of field. In no way, shape, or form would I have predicted that I would end up where I was now, exploring the finance world." [more]

Kantara Souffrant '08

On the Oberlin College Dialogue Center: "[we work] with the hopes of building an inclusive campus-climate and global community where individuals can interact with each other earnestly ... and live amongst each other with a sense of integrity, understanding, and compassion." [more]

Karen Gebhart Flint '64

In summarizing her many Oberlin memories: "There is so much to do and learn at Oberlin... if you are admitted, choose Oberlin; when there, take as many different courses as you can, meet as many people as possible." [more]

Karin Drucker '11

On falling in love with political theory: "I dorked out shamelessly to my uninterested friends about the authors and topics that grabbed me, but I also found others who were as curious as I." [more]

Katherine Sicienski '12

On joining Model United Nations at Oberlin: "By allowing one to take classes in English, environmental studies, history, and theater, all in one semester, Oberlin encourages students to develop new ways of thinking about the same problem." [more]

Katie Hart '11

On her Winter Term in a Belgian refugee center: "As cultural and linguistic barriers melted away, each one of us was able to make valuable friendships with the staff and residents of this center that had opened its arms to us and welcomed any new insights we may have had to offer." [more]

Kelsey Atkinson '12

On the Slam Poetry ExCo: "I was thrilled that I found an ExCo that so closely suited my interests and motivated me to keep writing, revising, and sharing my poems." [more]

Kepler Mears '17

On mouthing off in public: "If I hadn't said it and it hadn't been heard, I'm not sure I would have met Professor Whelan in the way I did or formed a friendship with her." [more]

Kevin Hu '11

On singing with the Obertones: "But as I would realize, this love was a postulate of the Obertones; something so obvious it needed no proof through audible declaration. Everyone in the Obertones loves to sing." [more]

Kristin Braziunas '08

On coordinating the Light Bulb Brigade: "Ten months, 10,000 light bulbs, and one bachelor's degree later... this is something that for me has come to define Oberlin." [more]

Kym Buzdygon '07

On starting the Free Store: "I am so grateful to have been at a place where ideas like the Free Store... are so well-received and supported. Oberlin is really a great place to have initiative on any scale." [more]

Lauren Choban '16

On opportunity: "At Oberlin, there is something—a club, a research lab, a play—for everyone to take part in, succeed in, and, best of all, enjoy." [more]

Lauren Clark '11

On the integration of classics in her life: "I've found beauty and strength in recognizing temporality, which has brought me to understand translation across language and temporal boundaries as a positive and connective process." [more]

Lauren Crawford '16

On teaching an ExCo on Dovstoevsky's Crime and Punishment: "I realized I needed to create a space where I could discuss many issues present in contemporary Christian theology with only my peers." [more]

Lauren Wong '16

On joining Women in Math and Computer Science: "I found friends, a support system, connections, and something I was willing to speak up about, which is what I think Oberlin is all about." [more]

Leah Awkward-Rich '17

On tutoring at Head Start: "I witnessed the kids I spent several hours a week with mature emotionally and personally, and I was given the opportunity to participate as they learned brand new concepts." [more]

Leah Goldman '13

On teaching Spanish: "Teaching in SITES taught me to be patient, creative, and willing to make mistakes. But I became more confident as a teacher every day I saw my students become more confident in their learning." [more]

Leanne Wagner '76

On progress toward gender equality: "Watching my daughter ... study with many more than one woman professor in the sciences, and not be constrained in her choices of what was to come after Oberlin, I realize that the Oberlin tradition of firsts has brought change to the world." [more]

Lena Glickman '15

On finding the lull in the storm: "I have learned the value of quiet... that taking a break from thinking so hard to just feel for a moment is what makes me happiest at Oberlin." [more]

Leo Harrington '16

On support networks: "The people here have copious and astoundingly diverse passions of their own but will also go to incredible lengths to help you pursue yours, in all likelihood because someone did the same for them." [more]

Liam Oznowich '17

On finding his voice in a creative writing class: "Never before have I felt that excited about a story I was telling, which became all the more empowering when I realized this story was also my life." [more]

Lillie Chilen '08

On playing Poppea: "It's still hard to believe that as a lowly undergrad, I got the chance to play Poppea - opera's earliest gold digger - and find the music that truly fits my voice." [more]

Lisa Amor Petrov '85

On living in the Women's Collective: "I was blessed by the intimacy that can come from searching, together with other women, for an understanding of what it means to be a feminist." [more]

Louis Grube '09

On the culture of Oberlin: "We carry ourselves with an air of courtesy and responsibility to others that shows itself daily in both our smallest actions and in our viewpoints about the way the world should be." [more]

Lucas Brown '09

On SEED house: "Oberlin's support network made our successes possible. SEED demanded skills like composting, caulking, persuading, public speaking, and econometric analysis, and for each skill we required, we found an expert willing to teach it." [more]

Luke Herrine '10

On being part of a team: "I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to find every single Horsecow who had come out to practice that day staring back at me. The Flying Horsecows [make] everybody love to play Ultimate, even when you can't." [more]

Lyz Glickman '13

On OC Dems: "it is a collaborative organization that seeks to educate students and community members and promote political action, no matter which side of the aisle a person happens to fall in." [more]

Ma'ayan Plaut '10

On her passion for photography: "Being at Oberlin and loving the arts go hand in hand, and luckily I get to translate my love of people, music, theater, and dance to a medium that serves both as a reminder and an inspiration to past, present and future Obies." [more]

Mack Gelber '10

On exploring the radically shifting publishing world: "This is the chief thrill of interning at a literary agency. You never know if the next manuscript in the stack is going to be a dud or the potential classic of our time." [more]

Maddy Dunn '16

On lessons learned during the Business Scholars program: "If I stayed true to myself and focused on my strengths, I could make my own version of business." [more]

Maggie Keenan-Bolger '06

On writing and producing her own play: "Without the tenacity and fearlessness of the staff at Oberlin, as well as the flexibility of creative exploration, From the Inside, Out would never have become a reality." [more]

Maggie Killman '13

On becoming a Latin major: "I realized how passionate everyone around me was about the exact same things ... they all shared the exact same joy I felt from studying such an obscure but wonderful language and culture." [more]

Mariko Meyer '11

On being a college violinist: "I never made it out of the back of the orchestra, but even so, my growth as a musician was immediately noticeable once I went to play in any other ensemble." [more]

Marne Litfin '07

On her first day of practice with the women's rugby team: "These were, I realized while I stood apart from them, the strongest and craziest women I had ever met. I had to be one of them. I didn't know if I had it in me, but I couldn't leave without trying." [more]

Martha Cargo '07

On singing with Collegium Musicum: "Monday and Wednesday afternoons, beginning promptly at 4:30 in Fairchild Chapel, were brief windows of respite from our otherwise whirlwind college lives." [more]

Martha J. Tenney '83

On the lasting effects of her time at Oberlin: "Years later I have a career in public health and the things I love are the things I loved that helped create the squiggly route to NOW." [more]

Mathilda McGee-Tubb '07

On education at Oberlin: "If allowing oneself to get to this point of utter submission to the universe of knowledge isn't fearless, then I don't know what is." [more]

Matt O'Connell '09

On a special meal at his co-op: "For me, this meal was exactly what Oberlin's co-ops are all about: making food with your friends, and knowing exactly where your meal came from." [more]

Matt Rivers '04

On musical training and non-musical careers: "I hadn't been in law enforcement for long before I realized that many of the same characteristics of police work are similar to playing in a jazz group." [more]

Matthew Rinaldi '69

On working with the Oberlin Action for Civil Rights: "Oberlin played a major role in the student civil rights movement... Not just one person, but many people, linked arm and arm together, ended the reign of white supremacy in the Deep South." [more]

Maurice Cohn '17

On conducting a youth orchestra: "Music is a living art, not to be kept in the glass cases of history museums...I can help foster that kind of energy and excitement about performing in another generation of musicians." [more]

Max Hovey '13

On the universal language on soccer: "Intramural soccer has given me a new knowledge base... I'd be lying if I said that my current appreciation for soccer hadn't solidified my choice of pursuing Hispanic studies at Oberlin." [more]

Maya Zeemont '16

On finding a musical community: "The music, the dancing, the performers--all components of the show emanated pure joy. I hadn't overlooked, however, that OSteel was quite advanced musically, so it never even crossed my mind that I could actually be a part of this music ensemble." [more]

Megan Cox '18

On a poignant winter term project: "The lessons I learned and the experiences I added to my cache in life have yet to fully reveal their meaning to me; I know, however, that these lessons will continue to guide me throughout the rest of my Oberlin education and beyond." [more]

Megan MacDonald '13

On spending a winter term in France: "There was certainly a lot I didn't know when I got off that plane in the Paris airport. If my time in France taught me anything, though, it's that there's a certain beauty in not knowing." [more]

Megan Schulte '94

On her time at Oberlin: "Graduating was like ripping off my right arm. But it was Oberlin that bolstered me and created a foundation from which I could truly plunge into the world of the possible." [more]

Meghan Schott '06

On the freedom to be herself: "At Oberlin, for the first time I was able to venture well outside-the-box without criticism. For Halloween, the soccer staff allowed the players to dress up for practice ... [and I] decided to be a TV." [more]

Melanie Malinas '13

On adjusting to Oberlin: "Somebody suggested building a leaf pile in North Quad, because it was one of those crisp, fall days where you simply need to be outside playing with leaves rather than inside working on a paper." [more]

Melissa Atlas '13

On friendship: "...it's not just about tenuous links with some people you eat lunch with at school and sometimes see on weekends. It's about strong relationships with people who actually care and support you through any situation." [more]

Melissa Ballard

On identifying with her students: "I know many of the students and some of their struggles, in part because their struggles were once my own... But I also know that as these graduates walked off that stage, they felt exultant." [more]

Miata Rogers '14

On the larger Oberlin Community: "I was looking for a college with a town...I wanted to be able to engage in a community outside of the college itself. I found that when I visited Oberlin." [more]

Michael Vito '04

On skills learned in the Conservatory: "In [performance], we must take all of the experience and ability we have attained through our own development and integrate it with that of others... an exercise in fluid, nonhierarchical leadership." [more]

Mike Dirda '09

On the men's Ultimate Frisbee team's year-round outdoor practices: "The cold tests our mettle, and when a seemingly endless winter finally departs, we know that we're tougher and harder than any of our opponents." [more]

Mike Fry '09

On teaching jump rope in Tanzania: "It may seem unconventional. You're right - it is. That's part of what drew me to Oberlin. What I see on a daily basis are students who aren't afraid to try something completely new, entirely unconventional, and highly improbable." [more]

Miranda Fisher '12

On an interdisciplinary education: "Learning isn't just about memorizing static content for a specific class; it's about shattering the boundaries of a subject and seeing how you can apply its content in different contexts." [more]

Miriam Rothenberg '12

On living in Sci-Fi Hall: "They were friendly, loud, crazy, and nerdy. Furthermore, they were welcoming, encouraging me to participate despite my complete lack of knowledge of the linguistic origins of Tolkien's Elvish language." [more]

Mitchell Herrmann '17

On venturing outside the Oberlin bubble: "The trips I took to the city of Akron during the cold of Ohio's winter months introduced me to an entirely new world—a world in which my political and social assumptions were challenged in entirely unexpected ways." [more]

Molly Gorin '16

On merging dance lives: "I never thought I would be able to put a rapper dance side by side with a contemporary duet, but here I am today." [more]

Monica Greene '07

On starting a non-profit while still at Oberlin: "The Heart Project was intended to be a small jewelry sale, but developed into something much bigger than we ever imagined." [more]

Myrina D. McCullough '69

On America's first black president: "I'm glad and proud that I ... and countless other Obies who have also shared their stories here all rejected the paralyzing fear of "otherness" that keeps people apart and keeps our world fragmented." [more]

Nancy Chapple '83

On living the double-degree life: "There was no holding me back, and I plunged into both areas of study. My weekday schedule was intense ... the discipline to practice and study, the drive to learn came from inside." [more]

Nandita Krishna '16

On college and community radio: "While my interest in WOBC started with a desire to pore through the seemingly endless music library, it ultimately made possible the most significant part of my Oberlin experience so far: meeting and working with Oberlin residents." [more]

Natali Terreri '14

On joining Old B as a new student: "While for my own sake I'd like to think my Old B community is special, I don't think it is uncommon - this is ultimately what makes Oberlin so great. These communities are everywhere." [more]

Natalia Shevin '17

On making connections while dancing in Warner Main: "Contact improvisation about learning to work with anything. Through listening and through movement, we learn to be responsive. " [more]

Nathan Heidelberger '10

On working with composer Helmut Lachenmann: "Working with him was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I don't think it could have happened anywhere else, at least not for a non-pianist like me." [more]

Neal Schindler '01

On cooking in a co-op: "I credit my co-op experience with teaching me how to be creative in a pinch, and to make the most of limited resources, not only in the kitchen but in life as a whole." [more]

Netta Rappaport '12

On the ExCo Program: "What other place allows any undergrad student with a decent idea to create and teach their own course?" [more]

Nicky Ouellet '09

On running and surviving senior year: "I outlined my thesis on thirteen-mile long runs. I wrote my application essays on bus rides to races. My experiences as a student-athlete influenced my proposal to study high-school athletics during my Fulbright year in Russia." [more]

Nico Lara '18

On finding community: "For me, La Casa has been an important touchstone with which to keep in contact with my Latino heritage and language--all too easy to lose sight of in the hustle and bustle of pursuing academics and extracurriculars." [more]

Nicolee Kuester '10

On the Oberlin Orchestra China Tour: "... in spite of the stress and discomfort, my memories of the tour are overwhelmingly dominated by those moments of recognition that we experience only when we travel, the overriding reminders of how-we-are-the-same-in-spite-of." [more]

Niels Bantilan '09

On discovering hip-hip culture at Oberlin: "As I accumulated more knowledge about the music, art, and history of hip-hop through my independent research, I started to think outside the dance." [more]

Nina Cole '12

On doing research during winter term: "I know of no other school where a professor will welcome a first-year student without a molecular biology background into their lab as willingly as Professor Allen welcomed me." [more]

Nina Paroff '12

On becoming an editor in chief: "I'm focusing on what The Grape could be in the future. I love The Grape for what it's worth. I love the stinky office, the stinky staff, and the paper itself, typos and all." [more]

Noah Morris '12

On meeting neighbors: "I heard several shouts of 'Come in!' and someone opened the door slightly. I'd braced myself for a lot of possibilities, but what I found still surprised me. As I entered, I found myself in a full-blown body-art party." [more]

Noel Myers '14

On the opportunity to study in Brazil: "This internship made me realize how alternative energy and clean water can improve the health of community members and that it is fundamental to their economic development." [more]

Nolan Grieve '10

On an Oberlin education: "Each semester, to my continual surprise, Oberlin provides me both with the raw material of life experience and the tools with which to shape it into something with purpose." [more]

Nora Frederickson '10

On her semester abroad: "What does dancing on the bar of a rural Austrian disco have to do with an Oberlin education?" (Answer inside!) [more]

Olivia Winter '08

On being a researcher: "I am excited about asking questions, picking apart ideas, and proposing new ways of thinking about problems. I obsess over the details of study designs and execution, all the while striving to be creative in my approach and thought processes." [more]

PJ Carter '09

On organizing a mentoring program in Lorain, OH: "The culture of Oberlin encourages students to get deeply involved in what they are passionate about and to make a difference." [more]

Patrick Doherty '11

On bonding with professors: "On bowling night, anyone interested in the History department can come to the College's bowling alley and bowl for free! Why is this fun? Because most of us can't bowl to save our lives." [more]

Patrick Yaeger '95

On using social media for social justice: "I wanted to bridge the gap between the fledgling post Prop 8 equality activists and the educational empowering quality media that I knew was out there." [more]

Patty Stubel '09

On playing Ottavia: "While it's entertaining to talk about my grand expertise in lying on the floor, this experience truly did expand my abilities as a performer." [more]

Paula Gordon '68

On her first job in television: "Was I qualified? Well ... if a passion for democracy, a work ethic honed by four wonderfully challenging years at Oberlin, and a hunger to succeed counted - and we could skip the part about what he was actually describing about which I was clueless - you bet!" [more]

Paulena Papagiannis '12

On volunteering at Oberlin: "Through a bevy of volunteer opportunities, the Murray Ridge - Oberlin College Alliance has re-established a vital outlet for Oberlin students to connect with some very special members of our community." [more]

Peter Nguyen '16

On studying away: "I'm very passionate about exploring the world because I believe experiencing many different cultures is integral to developing a wider understanding, as well as a deeper connection to one's self." [more]

Peter Rathjens '81

On watching his son attend Oberlin: "As much as Jake's experience is distinct from mine, I'm glad that Oberlin is in no rush to move past the values and culture that provided me with so much 25 years ago, and that are serving Jake so well today." [more]

Phoebe Hammer '14

On unexpected birthday surprises: "In that chord, I felt the warmth of belonging—my voice lost in the blend of others around me." [more]

Prof. Ben Schiff

On requiring students to write memos: "For many students, writing short is harder than writing long - but I believe it to be a valuable skill to add to the arsenal of writing styles that we promote here at Oberlin." [more]

Prof. Ellis Tallman

On unexpected connections: "When I walked past the Conservatory, I felt an odd sense of the World Trade Center. I mentioned it to a professor, who responded, "Well of course, Ellis. Both the Con and the World Trade Center were designed by the same architect - Minoru Yamasaki." [more]

Prof. Erik Inglis '89

On the art rental program: "All those students lined up for art rental aren't just waiting patiently in a line; they're also actively teaching each other and learning from each other, sharing their enthusiasms and gaining new ones." [more]

Prof. Kim Faber

On Oberlin's SITES program: "What began as one mom's hope to have a language program for her 5-year old son is now providing the opportunity for every elementary-school child in Oberlin to experience another language." [more]

Prof. Lewis Nielson

On Oberlin's composition students: "It's routine for me to be told by our guests that our students are the best they encounter anywhere in the world, not just for the quality of the works they display but also for the incisiveness of their thinking and the well-informed nature of their views." [more]

Prof. Sebastiaan Faber

On an Oberlin education: "One of the most important things you will learn here is to express yourself, to engage in dialogue, to respect others' ideas, and to allow them to change your own." [more]

Qian Cheng '13

On finding her path: "Oberlin opens up so many opportunities and challenges for students to explore life choices that even if you have absolutely no idea what you are heading for... you will always somehow find your destination." [more]

R. Jon MacDonald '03

"The flexibility and desire to allow students to do what they believe is best for them has paid off in more ways than I can count and led to lifelong entrepreneur endeavors." [more]

Rachel Benson '08

On civic engagement: "Fast forward four years, many hours of community service, a lot of growing up, and one Oberlin degree later, and I found myself back in a place where I sought solace and found empowerment - through community service." [more]

Rachel Berkrot '15

On studying the legacy of war in Nicaragua: "I set out to learn from the village's people by gathering oral histories of those who were living during the war and learning how it changed their lives and their country." [more]

Rachel Bouer '12

On building a community: "The lights of the Sukkah exceeded my expectations. A full belly and a fall scarf kept me warm as the lights around me glowed, showing off the work the co-op had done together the day before. Oberlin had never felt more like home." [more]

Rachel Colwell '10

On spending a semester in Tunis: "Intrepid or crazy, there I was, jumping off the deep end, learning to swim, learning about other people and about how to be myself in a new place." [more]

Rachel Ippolito '13

On studying abroad in France: "I was lost. But rather than moping around in disappointment, I decided to embrace the novelty of all that was around me." [more]

Rachel Parnell '16

On an unforgettable moment: "Although Kim Katrin Milan did not teach me the politics of radical love, I cannot help but acknowledge that she illuminated what was already so present in my life and the work that I wish to do. " [more]

Raquel Farah-Robison '11

On working with the America Reads program: "Witnessing both of my students' growth and finding creative ways to nourish their newly found enthusiasm gave me a deep sense of fulfillment." [more]

Rebecca Klein '18

On reawakening an interest in accessibility: "As a Student Accessibility Advocate, my world at Oberlin expanded. I met new people just as interested in conversations about disability as I was, people whom I now consider some of my closest friends." [more]

Reid Gershbein '93

On working at Pixar and Dreamworks Animation: "None of these events would have happened to me if it hadn't been for Oberlin's amazingly nurturing environment, fantastic camaraderie, and the best mentor a student could have." [more]

Reid Palmer '14

On a full-fledged learning experience: "No matter our individual passions, Oberlin provides us the opportunity to do what we love while connecting us with peers and professors that broaden our perspectives and help us make connections." [more]

Rob Jamner '17

On founding Oberlin Songwriters: "In just a few weeks I met a number of students and community members who shared my passion for songwriting." [more]

Robert Frascino '74

On things gained from his time here: "Oberlin taught me many things ... It allowed me to evolve, survive and thrive in ways I never could have imagined on that sunny afternoon thirty-five years ago flinging a Frisbee with Cousin Itt and Jimi Hendrix on Tappan Square." [more]

Robert Palacios '13

On finding an alumni mentor: "What will always remain the most important aspect of the relationship are the stories we have shared, the lessons I have learned, and the friendship we have formed across the generations." [more]

Rocio Leon '13

On being a Bonner Scholar: "Even though I am naturally shy and quiet, all the laughs, cheesy moments, and of course, all the Bonner Love... made me more comfortable to be myself and increased my confidence." [more]

Rose Guardino '17

On the real breakfast club: "Our crew is composed of varsity athletes, artists, intramural people, scholars, and scientists...We recognize that everyone has something to offer and deserves to be heard." [more]

Rose Wesche '12

On living in a program house: "I can't wait to return to Asia House in the fall. I believe that program houses offer a concentrated version of Oberlin-- fellowship, community, and learning all packed together into single buildings." [more]

Rosie Hertzman '15

On the power of Harry Potter: "In a society that looks down on childlike excitement over anything, OHPA taught me that it's okay to be unapologetically enthusiastic about popular culture and that passion, no matter what form it takes, is good for you." [more]

Ruth Adler Rosensweig '68

On the emergence of political awareness: "Before coming to Oberlin, I had never seen a demonstration or sit-in or even considered challenging government or college administration policy." [more]

Ryan Brazell '05

On the Oberlin ethos: "It's about refusing to put ANYONE into a box, regardless of what they may appear to be on the surface. It's about treating others with dignity, and kindness, and respect, regardless of whether you agree with or even understand another's point of view." [more]

Sage Aronson '12

On collecting stories in Nepal: "I had this fantastical notion that I would just walk up to someone, and be like, 'Hey man, you have any stories?' Then, I would sit back, regaled by their idiosyncratic tales. This was not to be the case." [more]

Sam Good '09

On studying abroad: "I have dozens of hilarious stories that encapsulate a year of cross-cultural misunderstandings with a group of genuinely caring people who went out of their way on an hourly basis to make sure I was happy." [more]

Sam Quintal '06

Elizabeth Myers Houston on her housemate Sam: "...the picture of him in his fancy clothes on his cobbled-together bicycle struck me as a perfect summary of Oberlin: ingenuity, skillfully creative awesomeness, and musical excellence, all incorporated casually into everyday life." [more]

Sam Skove '12

On being a member of the Sunshine Scouts: "I felt I was part of a kinetic community, rather than a hermetically sealed club. They did improv because they liked using their imaginations." [more]

Sam Towne '12

On being a member of the men's tennis team: "When I look to the court next to me and see a teammate fighting hard, I am motivated to give it that extra ounce of effort. We are all striving to reach the same goal." [more]

Samantha Bass '11

On building a sustainable coalition: "It amazes me that one year after proposing the Compost Work Group, composting is on its way to becoming a permanent reality at Oberlin." [more]

Sammy Moores '17

On finding a home on SciFi Hall: "Like many incoming first-years, the thought of having a roommate and finding a solid group of friends was extremely daunting." [more]

San Maday Travis '11

On learning to stop worrying and love economics: "We found ourselves struggling to fit tough questions into broad, vast subjects focused on a more traditional perspective... so we decided to create that space ourselves." [more]

Sandy Waters '71

On the Oberlin student body: "My Oberlin friends came from... all over the place. All races and all faiths, they had attended both public and private high schools... they were independent, intellectually curious, intelligent, and involved." [more]

Sarah Cheshire '14

On learning from peers: "My education at Oberlin has occurred not only in the classroom, but through living and constantly engaging with so many different people from so many different life contexts." [more]

Sarah Frank '09

On her semester in Ghana: "Sankofa means 'return to your roots.' Sankofa is an important concept, because in order to grow, you cannot always move forward. You must go backwards, and go home, in order to make the distance count." [more]

Sarah Fries '12

On teaching the Planet Earth ExCo: "Most students at Oberlin are conscious of environmental pollution and the rapid depletion of resources. I wanted to tap into that awareness and help it manifest." [more]

Sarah Kahn '15

On coming to terms with her parents: "Only after moving five hundred miles away from my parents did we begin to really grow close, something my first-year self could never have predicted." [more]

Sarah Minion '17

On the haven that is a college library: "Since that fateful phone call during my first year it has become second nature to, when in doubt, go to Mudd." [more]

Sarah Willette '16

On an eye-opening class: "I've found during my time at Oberlin that, when faced with the crossroads between easy ignorance and more strenuously acquired knowledge, most Obies choose the hard but ultimately more rewarding road." [more]

Sarel Loewus '16

On finding balance: "What I didn't realize at the time was that it is possible to have multiple priorities, and I could put my full effort into each of them." [more]

Sean Hanson '11

On learning to play the Gamelan: "...the difficulty helps me begin to lose my identity in the group and let me center myself. It's become a way of life for me, and changed the way I view everything around me." [more]

Sean Nagamatsu '07

On learning to be a writing tutor: "It was not simply a course in how one tutors. It was an exploration of writing as a catalytic form of expression and interaction. It was the complete taking apart of how I put together words and the subsequent attempt at putting myself back together afterwards." [more]

Shane MacDonald '08

On the Oberlin Catholic community: "I discovered that it was exactly the type of diverse community I was looking for. People of all religious stripes were there: converts, lifelong devotees, Anglicans, and even spiritual hobos such as myself." [more]

Shawn Roggenkamp
 '08

On bonding over Boredom, a semi-improvised drama: "My other friends couldn't believe that we had Saturday night rehearsals, but the cast would have all spent Saturday nights together regardless." [more]

Shira Korn '11

On Oberlin being a Division III school: "This means that athletes are not allowed assistance in the admissions process or monetary incentives to come to a school, [which] meant that everyone on our team was participating purely for love of the sport." [more]

Sien Rivera '13

On the Multicultural Resource Center: "The MRC serves as my springboard; as a timid first-year, it gave me the strength to go out into the frightening unfamiliarity of campus and thrive, because I knew I had a home to go back to." [more]

Sierra Zuber '11

On combining love and science: "When I was starting work on my honors biology research with crayfish...I realized how many questions had been right in front of me at Ginko [Gallery] all the time." [more]

Simone Christen '15

On being a part of the Oberlin swimming and diving team: "[It] means becoming absorbed into a large family of people who are committed to exploring their lives athletically and academically in various ways." [more]

Sophia Bamert '13

On becoming herself: "Oberlin gave me the push that I needed to pursue my goals, to see myself as an actor in the world rather than a mere collector of personae." [more]

Sophie Newman '17

On practicing problem solving: "It wasn't until I joined the Oberlin Bike Co-op that I realized just how satisfying finding an answer can be." [more]

Sophie Schacht '10

On organizing Dr. Seuss Day at the local public library: "I am one of six people on the varsity softball team who tutors in the Oberlin public schools -- my first order of business was to recruit the entire team." [more]

Stacia Thompson '11

On the Big Swap: "We are sustainability royalty for the week. Who else would skate home wrapped in a down comforter and carrying green alligator pillows under their arms all in the name of re-use and resource conservation?" [more]

Stephanie Patterson '07

On falling in love in Russia: "I brought my dictionary everywhere, but sometimes I was amazed that two people could connect in a way, especially with humor, that didn't always involve complete cognitive understanding." [more]

Steve Bagley '06

On implementing Oberlin ideals: "As a reporter, I have the power to actually change the world. I can uncover corruption and expose it. I can discover things and show them to people, change the world by spreading knowledge." [more]

Steven Roth '77

On Oberlin students singing Sondheim songs... for Sondheim: "The students sang some of the more difficult songs in the Sondheim canon and nailed each one - fully knowing that he was backstage listening to them." [more]

Stewart Edelstein '70

On his education here: "Oberlin presented such a rich environment for multifaceted self-discovery that my college experience instilled in me the awareness that exploration in multiple and divergent directions is the path to intellectual and personal fulfillment." [more]

Stewart Kohl '77

On the ethos of Oberlin: "What made Oberlin outstanding then is still its magic - the students who want to learn, the faculty who want to teach, and the intense tradition of intellectual curiosity." [more]

Sue Angell '99

On being a non-traditional student: "I came to Oberlin in 1995, as a 22 year-old transfer student and the mother of a two year-old boy... determined to get the type of education that would help me raise my son as a single mom." [more]

Susan Cowan Knebel '60

On learning to teach literacy: "I had answered a call for volunteer tutors in a night school created by a gentleman who was born a slave. Literate, he wanted to help folks from the South who had come north for jobs in Ohio and couldn't read or write." [more]

Susan Troy '76

On opportunity: "I showed up at a meeting with a vague notion that I might want to work as an intern on Capitol Hill. What I hadn't expected was that a professor I barely knew, Paul Dawson, would place me with an up-and-coming young Congresswoman." [more]

Sylvia Woodmansee '15

On coordinating alternative spring break trips: "I appreciate the drive of everyone in the IYS leader group and their willingness to continue reflecting and moving forward with our ideas and work. " [more]

Sze Foong '99

On studying in London with David Walker: "Threading it all together were the conversations gently led by David about and around these plays, supplemented by talk of poems, novels, museum visits, and films, and from these emerged the constant interplay between fact and fiction." [more]

Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

On her Oberlin experience: "At Oberlin... I could design my own path. And I did just that, becoming more brave and adaptable with each new adventure. Being a student here makes you acutely aware of your own unlimited potential." [more]

Terence Hsieh '12

On touring with his sextet: "Friendship is the bottom-most rung on the ladder of music: the best jam sessions, the best solos, and the best memories are shared on stage with people who can lose themselves in each other." [more]

Teresa Heinz Housel '94

On being at Oberlin: "I could safely question the cultural values that had been drilled into me as the truth, and with that security, I could intellectually and emotionally reach my full potential. " [more]

Thanisa Durongkaveroj '18

On the connections between college and the future: "I start to see my college experience as part of my overall life experience; classes become more applicable, and I become more competent to enter the professional world." [more]

Thomas Kutzen '76

On being successful in business: "It takes the same willingness to be involved that I discovered at Oberlin, the ability to examine the community and to be an individual therein with the right blend of independence, challenge, collaboration and courage." [more]

Tim Russell '92

On acceptance at Oberlin: "Oberlin opened a world to me that I never knew existed ... It represented the diversity that the world has to offer, not just race and ethnicity, but religion and sexual orientation, in a safe and nurturing community." [more]

Tom Carroll '96

On finding his "voice" again after so many years of medical training: "I am blessed that I remained firmly committed to my seemingly disparate passions for voice and medicine. Professor Miller must have been able to see something then that I never could have appreciated until now." [more]

Toussaint Mears-Clarke '09

On academics at Oberlin: "Understanding the subject matter of any class at Oberlin is an undertaking that requires a deliberate purpose of mind. Professors bring you to understand a subject without ever just giving you the answer." [more]

Ty Diringer '14

On embracing public speaking: "My tenure on the Student Union Board helped me to know with certainty that I wanted to enter a world of pivotal dialogue with a firm, clear voice, and gave me confidence that I could." [more]

Tyler Robinson '11

On being selected as a Cole Scholar: "Across the board, students emerge from the program feeling academically invigorated, and many have a keener sense of personal identity. I am no exception." [more]

Veronica Burnham '14

On the creation of Synapse: "With these two 'I want to do!' and 'I can do!' revelations, I was set on it - I would create a magazine for science." [more]

Vicky Costikyan '14

On the community of Sci-Fi Hall: "I felt at home with the people around me, and I developed a confidence in myself that I had never experienced before." [more]

Victoria González-Rivera '90

On writing Nicaraguan women's history: "I became a feminist and started to focus on an overarching question that would absorb much of my time over the next two decades: why assume that only white women fought back against sexism before the 1970s?" [more]

Weelic Chong '15

On OSCA tofu making: "I learned what tofu meant to me: steeped in tradition and innovation, tofu is where the new and old come full circle, a circle spanning generations, a circle catalyzed in Harkness' kitchen." [more]

Wendell Russell, Jr. '71

On the ethos of Obies: "My Oberlin was very much a time and place of social ferment and activism, and while the issues may be different today, I know that Oberlin students will always be deeply involved in cutting edge social change." [more]

Woan Foong Wong '09

On a day in the life of a double-degree student: "I was congratulated by friends who had either attended my honors economics presentation or had played my piece in the orchestra... how impossible my life would have been had I taken my diverse interests to another school." [more]

Yolanda Walker '09

On succeeding through adversity: "Oberlin takes those with ambition and provides them with a world of opportunities. I entered Oberlin as a housekeeper and graduated four years later with a degree in economics." [more]

Young Kim '85

On starting an agency to help inner city Milwaukee residents eat fresh, local food: "Oberlin gave me the balanced education and multi-disciplinary vision that makes this work possible...I learned to be confident, curious, tenacious, generous, and inclusive." [more]

Yue Qiu '14

On being a part of OCTaiko: "...being a good taiko drummer is not so much having the perfect techniques; it is more a commitment to being part of a group that shares the same energy and tries to figure out the key to ki together." [more]

Yvette Chen '16

On preparation: "Three years into college, I can say with confidence that my experiences inside and outside of the classroom have equipped me with the skills to fight for what I believe in." [more]

Zach Resnick '16

On creating Yafo Harmony: "I proposed a program that combined all my passions—social justice, music, and language learning—and with a generous CIGSIE grant, I was able to bring it to life in Yafo." [more]

Zoe Beach '17

On keeping a dream alive: "While I chose Oberlin for the strength and opportunities of its science programs, I was overjoyed to find that Oberlin not only had a circus, but it had the facilities and equipment for aerial work." [more]

Zoe Darsee '13

On sources of inspiration: "Oberlin has given me these opportunities within Ohio and more importantly beyond Ohio... widening my experience and giving me a greater understanding of worlds outside my daily comforts." [more]

Zoe Gould '14

On becoming a writer: "This piece was not just a reflection of my own competency, like other formal essays had been; this was someone else's story entirely." [more]


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