Western Springs, Illinois
Environmental Studies and Creative Writing Double Major
How did you end up going to China last summer? How was the trip?
My friend Weizhi Feng teaches at a language school called the Foreign Language Education Center in Xian. He invited me, saying that they needed a foreign teacher who was a native speaker of English.
Obviously, I wanted to jump at that opportunity because I didn't have a summer job and going to China for one is incredible. There was the whole problem of funding, but that's another way that Knox just stepped in and made it available to me, through funding through a Richter grant.
I had taken a course on China last term, called China after Mao. It just sparked my interest because I knew nothing about China. As I began to learn more, it was clear how environmental studies is particularly relevant to China's recent developments in the past couple of decades. The opportunity to teach at a school where all the kids are bilingual in English and Chinese was a really direct way to study how they were being educated on their country and their environmental challenges, and seeing how they thought about those issues in general.
How would you describe academic life at Knox?
I think that's one of the most powerful things: academics. What is especially unique is how you can find things that you're interested in that you didn't even know you were interested in.
All of the professors have their own niches and specializations that they are really good at, and can hang with any other professor in the country. To have a one-on-one interaction with that kind of person is what makes this a great place to learn. Academics is the first and foremost reason I came.
What about Knox stood out during your college search?
Knox genuinely cares about what you want to do and where you've come from, and doesn't take for granted anybody's individual experience. It really does a good job of finding what each person is good at and interested in and cultivating that.
What surprised you about Knox?
When Knox says diversity, it's genuinely diverse. It's diverse internationally, it's diverse within the United States, it's diverse within Illinois. There are kids from every single background. That is what surprised me and what I found most rewarding.
Any advice for high school students on their college search?
Well, come to Knox. And I would say that it's important not to pick a place just because you feel that other people have heard of it. Pick an institution that values you and will help you grow, and Knox is sincerely a place that will do that.
How did you learn about Knox?
I learned about Knox through the Colleges that Change Lives book. Also, my sister attended an institution similar to Knox, so I was already familiar with it. I knew I wanted a liberal arts school in the Midwest, so that narrows it down. Knox stands right up there. After I visited, I definitely got a positive impression that is still very much valid and real. In that first visit, the professors that I have now and have taken many classes with were the first ones to introduce themselves. I wanted to come here just as much as they wanted me to come here, and that's a great place to be.
What is your favorite place on campus?
Definitely the library. It really is cozy and conducive to getting your nose in a book. There's no better place to do it.
Read about how Max is making Knox a more sustainable campus