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We Are Knox...

Maddie Mondeaux

Junior

Lake Oswego, Oregon

Creative Writing Major, Gender and Women’s Studies Minor


Why did you choose Knox?

It’s kind of a funny story, actually. When I was a junior in high school, just starting my college search, my mom bought me this book of something like 350 different colleges. Of course she expected me to read the whole thing, and of course I put it on the bathroom shelf and I forgot about it. One morning, I was doing my hair and I knocked the book off the shelf -- it fell open to Knox’s page. I started reading about it and realized that it actually seemed like a really good fit for me: a small liberal arts college with a quirky student body and a creative writing major. I put it on my list of schools to check out, and the rest is history.

How would you describe campus life at Knox?
One thing I really like about life at Knox is that it’s all very laid back. Knox’s social scene is friendly and not at all party-centric, which is perfect for someone like me who prefers staying in with friends, Netflix, and popcorn. In case my friends and I are feeling adventurous, there’s always some event going on either on campus or close by -- Union Board events, movies, parties, you name it. Galesburg is quiet but the campus makes up for it.

What are your interests and hobbies?
I’m kind of a film and TV buff. My friends and I try to have movie nights or TV show marathons every weekend. I also play the piano, and I read a lot of sci-fi and classic literature.

What activities do you participate in and how have they influenced your experience?
Currently, I’m an editor for Quiver, Knox’s humor, speculative fiction, and children’s literature magazine. Working with Quiver as well as with Knox’s Office of Communications has helped me hone my skills as an editor and build up a portfolio for a possible future career in copyediting. It’s a lot of fun, too -- I’ve met lots of great people and I’ve read some awesome writing. Quiver is focused on creating a community of writers at Knox and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Tell us about a memorable experience at Knox and what you learned from it.
One of my favorite experiences at Knox has been participating in a reading set up by The 61401, a new group on campus dedicated to connecting Knox writers and artists with the writers and artists of Galesburg. The reading was a great way to get feedback on my own work and hear the work of others at Knox and in the area.

What is your favorite place on campus? Off campus?
I think my favorite place at Knox is the Common Room in Old Main. It’s a great place to sit and write or chat with friends, and it has some of the comfiest chairs on campus. As for off-campus places in Galesburg, my friends and I love to go to The Purple Hanger on the weekends. Thrift shopping is the best kind of retail therapy, and the proceeds go to the local women’s shelter.

How would you describe academic life at Knox?
Academic life at Knox is tough but supportive. I never liked the competitive academic atmosphere of my high school -- everyone was always competing for the best grades or spots at the top of the class. Knox manages to be academically challenging without creating unnecessary competition between the students.

What’s been your hardest class?
I think my hardest class has been painting, which I took to fulfill the studio art requirement for my major. I’ve never picked up a paintbrush in my life before I took the class, and even though it was a 100-level class it was really difficult for me to get the hang of it. Even so, I learned a lot and I got to see a lot of really great artwork from my classmates.

Which classes/professors have been your favorites? Why?
I’ve never had a professor at Knox that I didn’t enjoy working with, even the classes that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I took a class called The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, which focused on astronomy, biology, and geology and how those studies can be applied to the search for life in the universe. As a creative writing major and Gender and Women’s Studies minor, it’s safe to say the class was out of the norm for me, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes, and the professor, Nathalie Haurberg, was fantastic.

Is there a professor that has had a significant impact on your career plans?
Katya Reno’s class on editing and publishing, The Careful Writer, has helped me focus my career plans and learn more about the industry I’ll be going into after grad school.

What surprised you about Knox?
What really surprised me about Knox was how invested the professors are in each student’s success. Knox prides itself in its small faculty-student ratio and the individual attention each student gets from her professors. My professors want to challenge me academically, but they also want me to succeed -- whether that means giving me extra help with a difficult assignment or assisting me with my own projects outside of class.

Any advice for high school students on their college search?
Searching for colleges can be overwhelming, but don’t give up! Set up a few hard limits for yourself -- how big or small you want the student body to be, whether or not you’re interested in fraternities or sororities -- and start looking at colleges that fit those requirements. Then you can narrow it down from there as you start researching. Also, don’t exhaust yourself. If you find the college search too big and scary, or if your parents won’t stop bugging you about it, schedule your ‘thinking about college’ time in short blocks. I told my parents that I would be happy to talk with them about college twice a week -- to update them on what colleges I was looking at and ask them any questions I might have -- but I’d be doing most of my research on my own in very short bursts. I explained to them that searching for colleges was overwhelming for me and I would rather do it in very short intervals rather than letting it consume my life. The twice-a-week update system really worked out for me because it kept my parents from constantly bugging me about it, but at the same time it helped them stay involved in my search process.