Current Students Reflect on Their First Year

High garst

High Garst '20

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Learn more about GRAB

"Every year, there is a group of pre-orientation trips called Ascent. Some of these trips are run by the Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board (GRAB), for first-years to move-in a little sooner and get to know a few more students before the rush of orientation begins. You’ll meet with your new group and head off campus- backpacking, kayaking, or rock climbing- for your first week as a college student. When I learned about Ascent, I was so impressed that Gettysburg College had a program like that for first-year students.

After my first semester on campus, I joined GRAB staff so that I could have the opportunity to lead these trips. I’ve realized how impactful they can be on a student’s transition into college. Creating an open and intimate environment for dialogue while on Ascent prepares students for what their classes at Gettysburg will be like."

Michael Deleon

Michael Deleon '18

Major: Sociology
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Watch a video from the 2017 First-Year Walk

"Each year, first-year students can experience the tradition that is the First-Year Walk. Now in its 15th year, this event involves a recreation of the 1863 walk to hear the Gettysburg Address. Having participated in the tradition three years consecutively, I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite Gettysburg College traditions. It has provided me the opportunity to make new friends, get acquainted with the town, and learn about the historical context which sets Gettysburg College apart from other institutions.

Gettysburg College and the town of Gettysburg are both grounded in such rich history and the First-Year Walk allowed me to develop an appreciation of that. Thus, the importance of memory, speech, and place have become greatly impactful throughout my college career."

Raven Waters2

Raven Waters '19

Major: Globalization Studies: East Asia
Minor: Political Science
Hometown: Queens, NY
See the 2017 First-Year Seminars

"During my first semester at Gettysburg College, I was invited by Professor Wallach to examine the numerous ways that hair and head coverings shape our culture. During her First-Year Seminar, The Cultural Politics of Hair, students examined the historical context behind certain hair styles and the connotations that they bring. For our final project, she asked us to choose one, and discuss its relationship with our current political climate. I decided to research Muslim head coverings, where I broke down the stereotypes associated with the style; as well as, the reality of what the head coverings symbolize.

The research project that Professor Wallach initiated and my presentation at the First-Year Cafe Symposium have been significant in shaping my Gettysburg career."

Bobby Weisensee

Bobby Weisensee '18
Major: Biology
Hometown: Clark, NJ
Learn more about the Center for Career Development

"When coming to college I was sure that I wanted to go to medical school upon graduation. Once at Gettysburg, excellent opportunities in the biology department introduced me to scientific research. I fell in love instantly and was sure that I wanted to change my career path to become a research scientist. The Center for Career Development helped me perfect my CV to be able to secure an internship at Merck.

Over the summer I was able to act as a lab prep technician and help aid in real world research projects in my field of study. This experience allowed me to solidify the idea that my Gettysburg experience planted in my head: biological research was the career path for me. If not for the faculty in the biology department and the efforts of Career Development, I may have never found my true passion."


Winnie Wang '18
Majors: Political Science and Philosophy
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Learn more about the Eisenhower Institute

"Some of my favorite memories here at Gettysburg are my experiences within the Eisenhower Institute (EI). In my first year, I participated in EI’s Women in Leadership program. I had the opportunity to meet with women leaders in the field of Public Policy and gain insight into the inner-workings of Washington, D.C. Later, I was a Fellow with the Inside the Middle East program and applied everything I learned throughout the year by going on an experiential learning trip to the Middle East. Now as a senior in the Undergraduate Fellows program, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and meet with experts to study policy issues related to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Due to the unique nature of the Eisenhower Institute – and the ways it afforded me hands-on research experience, networking opportunities, and mentorship – the Eisenhower Institute has been one of the most defining influences of my time at Gettysburg."

RennLemler 2

Renn Lemler '18

Major: History
Minors: Political Science and Educational Studies
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Learn more about campus housing

"One of the greatest opportunities I’ve had at Gettysburg was serving as a Coordinator for the Office of Residential & First-Year Programs. Spending the summer on campus working to prepare for the arrival of the Class of 2021 gave me valuable insight into what it’s like working in higher education. Helping with Orientation was so rewarding and has inspired me to pursue a career in education after graduation.

Working in the Office of Residential & First-Year Programs also introduced me to an incredible network of faculty, staff, and student leaders. All of the Residence Assistants, Residence Coordinators, and Community Advisors care so much about what they do and are committed to helping students have the best residential experience possible. I’m so lucky to attend a school where students are given opportunities to challenge themselves, take responsibility, and develop their leadership skills by working to create a better campus community."

Olivia Lambert

Olivia Lambert '19
Majors: Biology and French
Hometown: Bedford, NH
Check out student research opportunities

"As a first-year student entering Gettysburg College, I knew I had an interest in Biology and a desire to be intellectually challenged. The fall of my first year, I started researching alongside my Biology advisor and working as a lab technician and researcher in an aquatic toxicology lab.

From the start, I engaged in research opportunities far beyond what is normally expected of undergraduate students, let alone first-year students. Over the summer, I pursued a newfound passion for biological research and the difficult questions it presents through the Cross-Disciplinary (X-Sig) Science Summer Research Fellowship, the College's own grant-funded faculty-student research opportunity. Since then, I've been able to write and publish alongside my advisor in academic journals."