Road Sign

“DO YOU NEED TO HAVE RUNNING WATER?” isn’t a question you normally hear in a job interview.

Amelia Erickson (left)

Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Research

Major: M.S. in special education

Makayla Hostetter (right)

Internship, Research

Major: M.S. in special education

Arin
 

But then the opportunity that Amelia Erickson ’18, M.S. ’19, and Makayla Hostetter ’17, M.S. ’19, were considering wasn’t exactly run-of-the-mill either: positions as teachers in a tiny, remote village in the Alaska bush that can be reached only by airplane or boat. Best friends and both from small towns in Virginia, the two young women knew that moving 3,500 miles from home would be the best way for them to stay together after graduation.

So they answered the question (“no” for Erickson, “absolutely yes” for Hostetter), found a place to live with indoor plumbing and signed on the dotted line of two-year contracts with the Lower Kuskokwin School District, each receiving a $3,000 signing bonus in the process.

Even though not all the housing in the village of Quinhagak is state-of-the-art, the school there is, Erickson and Hostetter say, with Hostetter describing it as “nicer than any school I’ve ever been in.” Just prior to graduation, the two were bouncing off the walls with chatter and excitement about the adventure before them. Part of that was due to the idea of fishing and hunting for their own food (the rest of their groceries will be delivered by Amazon) and getting to know the native residents of the village who had already been so welcoming.

But the opportunity to teach without some of the pressures in the lower 48 was energizing as well.

“We’re going to be getting the most authentic teaching experience. We’ll be teaching to create well-rounded students, not to create test scores,” said Erickson.

Here's a look at more adventures in store for some of the other members of the Class of 2019.

Arin Young

Phi Kappa Phi, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Social work

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Peace Corps, youth development volunteer in Eswatini, Southern Africa

“This will be my second time in Africa. I studied abroad in South Africa, where I conducted research on gender identity and gender norms. That experience showed me my calling and that I’m capable of international humanitarian work.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Jonathan Page, Office of Citizen Leadership and Social Justice Education. “He pushed me to immerse myself in the college environment of diversity, equity and inclusion, which helped prepare me for the Peace Corps.”

 

Josh Darst

Internship, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Business

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: MBA, William & Mary

“Longwood took a 2.7 student and molded him into a graduate with honors and SGA president. Citizen leadership is real.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Paul Barrett, business faculty. “I was hit by a drunk driver the day before finals week began last fall. I had a severe concussion and had to do physical therapy for a neck injury. All this with the GMAT and graduate school application deadlines on the horizon. I was disappointed and ready to give up, but Dr. Barrett made some calls, and I was granted a GMAT waiver. I owe everything to him for helping me get here.”

 

Tracy Davis

Internship, Research, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Sociology

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Master of Special Education with an applied behavior analysis certification, George Mason University; home behavior technician, Centra Health

“Without my internship at the Infant and Toddler Connection … I would never have known that I wanted to work with individuals who have disabilities,” said Tracy, who will be working with children and adults with autism in her job at Centra Health.

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Lee Bidwell, sociology faculty. “She gave me great feedback and criticism on my work that has helped me grow and improve my writing skills.”

 

Nicole Marzolf*

Cormier Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi, Research, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Majors: Mathematics and physics

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Physicist, Department of the Army in Charlottesville, where she creates computer models of electrical and mechanical systems

“Both of my research projects at Longwood—one on Lorentzian geometries on Lie algebras and the other on the application of spherical geometric probability to mathematical physics—allowed me to attend multiple conferences to present my work.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Michelle Parry, physics faculty. “She was always there when I needed a sounding board or help with any classes.”

* December 2018 graduate

 

'… I am passionate about making a difference for someone other than myself.'

GARRETT REESE

Garrett Reese

Athlete*, Internship, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Theatre performance

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Chairman of the High School Theatre Festival, Virginia Theatre Association in Lynchburg

Peer mentor, SGA senator, Big Siblings mentor, volunteer for the MLK Challenge and Farmville food pantry—the list goes on and on. “I participated in all of these because I am passionate about making a difference for someone other than myself.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Ronda Scarrow, Lacy Klinger and Leslie Cook-Day, theatre faculty. “They are constantly helping me network and gain more connections to thrive on campus and outside Longwood.”

* Garrett was one of the students who brought Elwood, Longwood’s mascot, to life this year.

 

Carlos Garrido

Athlete, Internship, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Business/accounting

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: MBA, Longwood; accountant, KPMG in Richmond, where there’s a job waiting for him when he finishes his final year of Division I eligibility

A catcher on the baseball team, Carlos’ goal was to achieve excellence in both athletics and academics. His senior year stats say it all: With a 3.984 cumulative GPA, he received the Willett Scholar-Athlete Award while posting a team-leading .315 batting average and 22 RBI.

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: C.J. Roth ’16, sports performance/athletics. “C.J. was a senior when I was a freshman, and he kind of took me under his wing. I still go to him with questions, and he’s always there to help.”

 

Sarah Banks

Internship, Research

Major: Communication studies

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Production Assistant, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia

“WMLU is where I found my passion. To my knowledge, no other student radio station gives students this kind of hands-on experience. WMLU is the reason I have this job.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Ben Jones, WMLU advisor. “He challenged me not to settle for what others have done in the past, but to question things and push for greatness.”

 

Connor Perry

Athlete, Internship, Research

Major: Biology

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Ph.D. in emerging infectious diseases, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland; second lieutenant, U.S. Army

“Longwood has provided me with an immensely diverse scientific research background that rivals those of my peers at larger universities. Everyone who is lucky enough to call themselves a Lancer has the potential to become the next great Army officer, CEO, life-saving nurse or skilled teacher of our nation’s youth. It is this diversity that makes Longwood great.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Sujan Henkanaththegedara, biology faculty. “He saw potential in me to work hard and do great things.”

 

Jamesha Watson

Internship, Research, Volunteer/Community Service

Majors: Criminology/criminal justice and sociology

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Master of Public Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Longwood has taught me to take risks and to get involved. It’s also taught me to do the right thing even if it means you will be standing all alone.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. JoEllen Pederson, sociology faculty. “I have been published in an academic journal as a result of research I conducted with Dr. Pederson.”

 

'Longwood encourages you to become a citizen leader in your own way.'

SARAH WRIGHT

Sarah Wright

Cormier Honors College, Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Communication sciences and disorders

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Doctor of Audiology, James Madison University

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Mani Aguilar, Longwood Speech, Hearing and Learning Services audiologist. “She allowed me to shadow her work in the clinic and encouraged me to participate in a program on hearing loss for local elementary schools, which sparked my love for audiology and community outreach. Longwood encourages you to become a citizen leader in your own way.”

 

Megan Garrett

Brock Experiences, Cormier Honors College, Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Research, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Majors: Economics and political science

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Peace Corps, teaching English in Macedonia

“It has meant the world to me to have the privilege of serving my campus and community. In the case of Elwood’s cabinet [a no-questions-asked food/supplies pantry], we dreamed of establishing a space where students can feel comfortable receiving the help they need.

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Melanie Marks, economics faculty. “She has spent countless hours working with me to plan for my future … [and] wrote my Peace Corps recommendation letter.”

 

Nick Lauer

Internship

Major: Graphic and animation design

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Storyboard artist for SpongeBob SquarePants/ Nickelodeon

“I revise rough storyboards to make sure the characters are on model, and I add interesting/funny poses and facial expressions. I’ve been a fan of SpongeBob since I was a little kid, so it was a surreal moment when I got the news.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: William “Tuck” Tucker, graphic and animation design faculty. “The entire GAND faculty was great, but Tuck was by my side helping me for my entire Longwood career. I wouldn’t have gotten this job without him.”

 

Jessica Schaub

Cormier Honors College, Internship, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Nursing

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Registered Nurse Graduate Fellow, Inova Loudoun Hospital Progressive Care Unit in Leesburg

“Studying abroad in Ireland gave me a broader view of nursing and taught me how other countries care for their patients.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Jackie Daniel and JoAnn Davis, nursing faculty. “They showed me the true meaning of nursing through their teaching and actions.”

 

Lindsey Sparrock*

Cormier Honors College, Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Research, Study Abroad

Major: Psychology

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: M.A. in experimental/biological psychology, American University in Washington, D.C.

“My PRISM project focused on the effectiveness of aquatic therapy in reducing anxiety in autistic and nonautistic children. It was the most significant research I have ever been a part of, and I presented my findings alongside Ph.D. students at an international conference last summer.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Catherine Franssen, psychology faculty. “She always encouraged me to ask questions and explore opportunities that would help me reach my goals.”

* December 2018 graduate

 

David Gills

Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Business/accounting

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Accountant, Ernst & Young assurance department in Richmond

“What was best about being senior class president was planning events and raising money for our class gift. And I loved being able to share my love of Longwood with potential students as an Ambassador.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Larry Robertson ’90, dean of students. “He helped me become a more confident leader. With Larry’s help, I have learned more about the true meaning of citizen leadership.”

 

'[Dean of Students Larry Robertson] helped me become a more confident leader.'

DAVID GILLS

Mary Zell Galen

Brock Experiences, Cormier Honors College, Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Research, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: History

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: M.A., museum studies, SUNY Oneonta

“Participating in extracurriculars has truly enhanced my educational experience. I learned about economic development on a beach in Thailand, completed collaborative projects and presented posters at a national conference.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. James Munson, Dr. David Coles, Dr. Larissa Smith Fergeson, Dr. Steven Isaac and Dr. Melissa Kravetz, history faculty. “My professors in the history department have helped me seek out opportunities, served as cheerleaders and allowed me to transformer into a stronger student and leader.”

 

Samantha Heaney

Internship, Research

Majors: Criminology/criminal justice and sociology

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Overnight shelter manager, Southside Center for Violence Prevention in Farmville, working with victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse

“I presented research at the Virginia Social Sciences Association conference, which gave me confidence in my academic abilities and proved to me that, when you work hard, people take notice.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Lee Bidwell, sociology faculty. “She believed in my ability to be a citizen leader before I believed it myself. She has been a guiding light.”

 

Sadie Hodges

Internship, Phi Kappa Phi

Major: Liberal studies

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: M.S., special education, Longwood; special education teacher (2020-21), Henrico County Public Schools

“I attended an Alternative Breaks trip to Arizona, and it really opened up my eyes to environmental issues in the U.S. … I learned about how I can make a difference when it comes to taking care of our environment, and I can teach my students how to take care of the Earth for future generations.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Sean Ruday, English faculty. “He truly cares so much for his students. He is shaping the minds of future educators as well as citizen leaders.”

 

Kaelyn Jefferson

Brock Experiences, Cormier Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi, Research, Study Abroad

Majors: Chemistry and biology

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: Pharm.D., Northeastern University in Boston

“At Longwood, I was able to take part in many research and travel experiences that I may not have been considered for at a larger university.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Andrew Yeagley and Dr. Sarah Porter, chemistry faculty; Dr. Amorette Barber, biology faculty. “I really have enjoyed learning from excellent professors.”

 

Kayla Lehman

Cormier Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi, Study Abroad

Major: Graphic and animation design

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: MFA in digital animation and interactive media, The Ohio State University

“I am not exaggerating when I say that studying abroad was life-changing for me. I was nervous about going [to Valencia, Spain] … but I gained so much confidence and independence through navigating my way in another country and another language.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Donovan Douglas, graphic and animation design faculty. “He encouraged me and pushed me to improve my skills in 3D modeling and animation.”

 

Laura Millon*

Study Abroad

Major: Music education and vocal performance

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: M.M., vocal performance and pedagogy, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey

“Longwood was the perfect school for me. When I toured [campus], I instantly fell in love. Longwood has shaped me into someone who never wants to stop learning or to stop making a difference.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Pamela McDermott, music faculty. “She went beyond her required duties to help me be a successful musician and teacher.”

* December 2018 graduate

 

Abby Schiano

Internship

Major: English

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: M.S., publishing, Pace University in New York City

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: English faculty members Mary Carroll-Hackett (“for teaching me to be a good editor and for her tremendous help with my personal statement for grad school”), Dr. David Magill (“for being the best advisor and letting me stop in his office whenever I needed to talk”) and Dr. Chris McGhee (“for re-inspiring my love of adult and children’s literature and teaching me that as long as you’re working with something you’re passionate about, it’s never truly work”).

 

Sydney Winfield

Internship, Phi Kappa Phi, Study Abroad, Volunteer/Community Service

Major: Business

Arin

WHAT’S NEXT: MBA, Longwood; recruiter, Insight Global, a staffing and managed-services agency in Norfolk

Studying abroad in South Africa “allowed me to become more culturally aware and to appreciate the values of others.”

COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Cheryl Adkins and Dr. Charles White, business faculty. “Both of them helped me throughout my internship in the College of Business and Economics at Longwood.”

 

About the Author

SABRINA BROWN

PHOTOGRAPHS BY COURTNEY VOGEL

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