Meet Some of the Newest Members of Knox's Community

September 05, 2012

New Students Welcomed 2012

Knox College President Teresa Amott on Wednesday greeted the more than 400 first-year and transfer students who have arrived on campus in recent days, advising every student to become "a producer of knowledge."

Knox is "a learning and learned community," she said. "Everyone here is a teacher and a learner, and not just the faculty."

Lawrence Breitborde, dean of the college and vice president of academic affairs, also welcomed the students, telling them they are joining a Knox College community that includes many accomplished alumni. (Photo above, Lawrence Breitborde speaks to newly arrived students as President Teresa Amott looks on.)

Amott told students: "Don't just be a consumer of knowledge. Be a producer of knowledge for yourself and for others." She encouraged them to participate in class discussions -- and in the conversations that take place outside the classroom with fellow students, faculty, staff, and other people.

"You bring to Knox a new wealth of perspectives, developed as you have lived and grown in 25 countries and 34 states," she said. "As we come together, we become one community of independent thinkers."

Here is a quick look at some of the newest members of the Knox community.

JESSICA ROBINSON

Soon after arriving on the Knox College campus as a first-year student, Jessica Robinson decided to go for a stroll and check out her new surroundings. Before long, she realized something.Jessica Robinson '16

"I had this smile glued on my face," said Robinson, who is from Carbondale, Illinois.

She also couldn't help but notice some of the squirrels that routinely scurry around campus, zipping across lawns and climbing up trees.

"I was walking around and thinking, ‘These are probably the happiest squirrels I have ever seen on a campus.' They were frolicking. It made me happy."

Robinson's interests include environmental studies, biology, Spanish, and jazz. She said she has felt "an immediate sense of community" at Knox.

"Everyone wants to get to know everyone. There's openness. It just makes it a lot easier to get used to being off on your own."

SRICHANDRA MASABATHULA

Srichandra Masabathula '16A first-year student from Delhi, India, Srichandra Masabathula says he picked Knox College because he wanted a liberal arts education.

While he plans to study financial mathematics, he doesn't want to limit himself to only that subject.

"Not only am I interested in financial mathematics, I'm also interested in economics and business," Masabathula said. "I want to become multi-dimensional and versatile."

He also plays badminton and chess, and he has been talking with another student about starting a campus chess club.

"I'm looking forward to the next four years," he said. "It's really cool to be independent."

KRISTINE ILAGAN

Kristine Ilagan, a transfer student from Lombard, Illinois, was attracted to Knox because of its strong creative writing program.Kristine Ilagan

The aspiring screenwriter has a wide range of other interests. She collects "Hello Kitty" merchandise, and she enjoys science fiction and making "very complex origami."

"I like how Knox is a very close-knit community," she said. "I like how everybody's very friendly. You can tell they have genuine kindness in them, and they really want to help make your life at Knox much more at ease."

ADAM SCHRAG

When Adam Schrag was still in high school and considering where to attend college, his older brother, Ron, suggested a trip to Knox. Ron Schrag is a Knox senior.

"He told me to come visit, just to get a sense of a college campus, and I really loved my visit," Adam Schrag recalled as he arrived on the Knox campus to begin his first year. "That really clicked."Adam Schrag '16

"I went to a small, private high school," he added. "I like the intimate setting (at Knox), being able to relate to my teachers and have conversations beyond the classroom setting. Also, everything I heard about the school was really great."

Adam's interests include history, political science, Ultimate Frisbee, and intramural basketball. He is from Highland Park, Illinois.

"I think it's going to be very fun -- definitely a new experience, which I'm looking forward to," he said. "I'm just excited to get started."

GUISSELLE RAMIREZ

First-year student Guisselle Ramirez, originally from Chicago, Illinois, decided to attend Knox because she found its environment appealing.

She still feels that way, now that she has moved to campus.

Guisselle Ramirez '16"I just love how it is. People are so friendly already -- strangers saying hi to you everywhere. It's really nice," said Ramirez, who is interested in studying chemistry. "My parents are in love with this place too."

XIANG LI

A first-year student from Zhengzhou, China, Xiang Li (photo below) says he chose to attend Knox partly because of its size, which will enable him to make friends more easily as he pursues a major in mathematics.

He said he is eager to interact with Knox faculty and with other students.

"I'm excited because before I came to Knox, I didn't know anyone in the United States. Now we're meeting each other, and it's very exciting," he said. "I also look forward to meeting my teachers."

PAUL HANSON

Paul Hanson, a first-year student from Spring Lake, Michigan, learned about Knox through the book, Colleges That Change Lives.

Hanson (photo below) says he was drawn to Knox because of "the size, the undergraduate focus, the diversity, its history, and alumni." He appreciates the fact that two men who later became president, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, have spoken on the Knox campus.

Hanson, who is considering a career as a history teacher, hopes to become involved with campus groups dealing with sustainability and cultural awareness.

NICHOLAS LIBERKO

A first-year student from Mount Vernon, Iowa, Nicholas Liberko (photo below) says Knox is a good fit for him.

"Knox just seemed like a really friendly place," he said. "It's also the right distance away from home."

The academic environment at Knox also suits Liberko, who is interested in computer science.

"I've always been of the opinion that I want to learn a lot of things and I want to be a really well-rounded person," he said. "I'm also interested in the small class sizes."

KAYLEIGH O'BRIEN

Like many other newly arrived Knox students, Kayleigh O'Brien (photo below) felt a rush of emotions on Wednesday, the day she moved to campus to start her first year of college.

"It's like a whirlwind of ‘I'm not sure what I'm doing' meets ‘Oh, my God, this is actually happening,'" said O'Brien, a first-year student from St. Joseph, Illinois. "It's a lot to feel at one time."

She's also eager to get involved -- both inside and outside the classroom.

"I want to explore ancient cultures and (ancient and modern) languages. I want to do a lot of culture studies," she said of her academic interests.

O'Brien plans to study abroad in London, England, and Florence, Italy. She also hopes to join KolorWorx, the Knox color guard club, and try her hand at some sports, such as soccer and tennis.

She says she decided to enroll at Knox because of its "very accepting atmosphere."

"It just felt like me."

(Photos below, clockwise from upper left: Xiang Li, Paul Hanson, Kayleigh O'Brien, and Nicholas Liberko.)

Xiang Li '16 Paul Hanson '16
Nicholas Liberko '16 Kayleigh O'Brien '16