Five Knox students—Song Li '22, Alyssa Habschmidt '22, Joey Reyes '22, Phoenix Haessler '22, and Alex Davis '...
Office of Communications
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401
Major in Anthropology & Sociology
What are you doing with your Mellon Fellowship?
I'm working at a historical house museum! It's called the Hegeler Carus Mansion. My main job is giving tours, but I also do some basic maintenance stuff, help host our concerts, and I just recently started cataloging books. I want to go into museum work, so this place is a diamond in the rough. It doesn't get enough credit, but the family who lived there did a lot to shape the world we know on a small and large scale. I fell in love with the place in high school but I had to tell them last summer that I wouldn't be able to continue volunteering during college because of costs. The museum formed an internship for me, and with Knox's resources, I was able to get the internship and afford volunteering. Because of the museum and Knox, I'm learning job skills in my field.
What surprised you about Knox?
Knox is full of activists. I figured plenty of people would be vocal about the world's issues, but I didn't realize the opinions and ideas would be so vastly different from each other. I love that we have so many facilitated discussions on campus, and appreciate the exposure they've given me. In college, I'm surrounded by people who want to be there. People have shaped their lives around higher education. This is an immersive learning experience. As someone who wants to major in anthropology & sociology, being around people of so many backgrounds is very valuable. It's helped me define and shift on my political ideals, my sense of self, and so many other aspects of who I am. Facilitated discussions tend to feel like a cross between a debate and a support group. It's a space where people can share personal stories and have their ideas challenged. Being prompted by a phrase as simple as "Can you explain why you hold this belief?" can really make someone evaluate the things that they take for granted. These discussions are important and productive. If everyone comes in with an open mind, then there's room for evolution. It's good to be exposed to new ideas and to sincerely consider what's being said by others. Facilitated discussions are also a good way to find out what values you hold closest to your heart.
What activities do you participate in on campus and how have they influenced your experience?
Flow Arts is a great way to lose yourself while being active and meeting new people. When I could make the time, the stress relief was always worth it. My time with Sigma Nu helped me learn how to network on a small scale, take on leadership roles, and organize campus-sponsored events. Pagan Club has helped me to be more flexible with my opinions. I'm reminded that I have much to learn, but I'm welcome to do so. It's an environment where people can ask about and discuss practices that they hold very close to their hearts. Already, Knox has helped me advocate for myself and my beliefs. I'm learning how to say "No, I already have enough on my plate," and "Yes, I could use the help." Professors have helped remind me that regardless of status, people can still be down-to-earth. Sometimes those in a position of authority can be a great friend. There are fellow students, staff, and faculty, that sincerely want me to succeed academically. Not only that, but many want me to succeed in life. I'm lucky to be around caring people during this trying time. I'm learning to have intentional downtime. I'm still figuring out ways to become my most productive self.
Eli Hicks '20 is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and participates in Knox's movement club Flow Arts, as well as the Pagan Student Alliance. With their Mellon Fellowship, Hicks is pursuing museum work.