During their time at Gettysburg College, each member of the Class of 2022 forged their own path with passion and purpose. They were active and involved across campus and in the community, challenged themselves to try new things and explore new perspectives, and all the while, laid the foundation for a lifetime of meaningful work.
Below, read reflections from several Class of 2022 graduates on their fondest moments, proudest accomplishments, what it means to be a Gettysburgian, and how they plan to leverage their Gettysburg education to make a difference in the world.
“In the fall of 2021, I accepted an internship at Gettysburg College’s Special Collections,” said Adam, who majored in history and minored in public history. “That semester, I experienced work as an archivist. I created finding aids, stored and displayed artifacts, and conducted research. Fellow intern Alicia Method ’23 and I successfully completed the internship’s biggest project: an exhibit on women’s history at Gettysburg College. This experience solidified my interest in working in the field of public history.” This summer, Adam will intern at the Adams County Historical Society and the Seminary Ridge Museum through the Brian C. Pohanka Internship program. Next fall, she will pursue a graduate degree at James Madison University with the goal of working as a curator one day.
Franchesca Amor Aguilar
“Being in Dr. [Megan] Benka-Coker’s Health Sciences 326: Epidemiology class helped solidify my interest in the public health field and confirmed my interest in becoming an epidemiologist,” Aguilar said. “Using programs such as R Studio has become such an important skill for me as I enter the field. It will definitely prepare me for graduate school after Gettysburg. Being in that class was like a dream come true!” After graduation, Aguilar, who majored in biology and minored in East Asian studies with a Chinese track, plans to attend graduate school in pursuit of her Master’s of Public Health in epidemiology.
“Attending college in historic Gettysburg has given me a different frame of mind, starting with the First-Year Walk during Orientation. I was given the opportunity to accept the key to the city on behalf of the Class of 2022 at our First-Year Walk. Through this, I was told a story about Gettysburg that I had never heard of, and I had experienced a tradition in Gettysburg that I had never experienced before,” said Biesecker, who grew up in Gettysburg. “From that moment … I was inspired to pursue my education at Gettysburg College with an open mind, as well as with the understanding that there is always more you can learn.” Graduating with an environmental studies major and minors in studio art and anthropology, Biesecker’s proudest moment was co-hosting and organizing a rally on decolonizing Gettysburg College during Peace and Justice Week. After graduation, she plans to live an experiential life in all that she does.
“I was inspired to pursue my education at Gettysburg College with an open mind, as well as with the understanding that there is always more you can learn.”
– Diana Biesecker ’22
“Dr. [Jim] Downs’ Narratives of Illness [class], which I took the fall of my junior year, was one of the most impactful moments of my time at Gettysburg,” Bohn said. “In that class—a rather timely one, given COVID-19—I gained a more critical understanding of the history and societal frameworks of how we treat disease. More importantly, however, Dr. Downs taught me how to become a much more effective writer and critical thinker, two invaluable skills that any college student should develop.” Bohn majored in history, earning his teacher certification, and after graduation, he plans on attending law school and then pursuing a career in law. “I have been interested in law for years, and thanks to professors and clubs such as Mock Trial, Gettysburg has helped me cultivate that interest and the skills required to achieve it,” Bohn added.
Lauren Jean Browning
“I am most proud of being the parliamentarian of Student Senate,” said Browning, who majored in political science and minored in writing and theatre arts. “While in office, the Policy Committee passed almost 30 amendments to the constitution to improve efficiency, membership, and representation. We often worked in tandem with the Inclusion Committee to pass amendments that make Senate more accessible for everyone on campus. … I feel that my work with Senate is lasting and impactful to the entire campus and I am extremely proud to have been a part of it.” After graduation, Browning hopes to work part time as a legislative assistant or something similar and part time in a theater doing production or management.
“I am most proud of completing my theatre arts senior capstone because it was a chance to build it through the Kolbe Fellowship. During the fellowship, I was able to write a 60-page full-length play about Haiti in the 1960s, examining the Duvalier Regime,” said Brunache, who is president of the Black Student Union on campus. “In the fall of my senior year, I was able to direct the show with a cast of predominately students of color and show it to the campus. The team that I built during this time, the connections that I made throughout the process, and the experience that I was able to bring to the Theatre Department as well as students outside the department made me proud that I was able to have my stamp on the campus.” After graduation, Brunache, who studied theatre arts and psychology at Gettysburg, will be teaching high school English in Philadelphia under Teach for America. “In the future, I hope to open my own performing arts school that students can go to, to learn how to express themselves in a safe space,” she added.
Capriglione’s proudest moment while at Gettysburg College was being named captain of the men’s lacrosse team. “It just showed that if you are able to put your mind into something and fully commit to it you can do anything you want. I never played much or started, but I was able to see how my peers respected me as a person and a player on and off the field,” he said. “Hard work pays off.” Capriglione double majored in political science and public policy and minored in economics. After graduation, he plans to work as a paralegal for a couple of years, then potentially attend law school. “I want to help people that other people do not want to help. Everyone deserves respect and a common decency to help when they are in need,” he added.
Alexandra Leigh Charney
“I am most proud of my senior recital, a culmination and celebration of four years in the music field. For my program, I sang 45 minutes of memorized music in six different languages, something I could not have imagined doing when I first arrived as a first-year,” said Charney, a music education major and peace and justice studies minor. “The Sunderman Conservatory has challenged me in ways I never thought possible, from internships with professors to an entire semester of student teaching.” Charney recently applied for a Fulbright Independent Research Grant, and if she receives the grant, she will study Herero music in Namibia for nine months after graduation.
“Being a Gettysburgian means that your education does not happen in a bubble,” said Dalgleish, a political science major and Spanish minor. “The global events have a strong impact on what and how we learn, and in turn, Gettysburgians use their education to make an impact on global events. Gettysburgians don’t wait to work toward the world they believe in. It starts while they are on campus.” Dalgleish was involved with College Democrats for four years, earning the title of president. After she graduates, she will be the campaign manager for a statehouse candidate outside of Philadelphia. “I am grateful for the opportunity to build a community out of a campaign and empower people to get involved in the electoral process,” she added.
“Gettysburgians don’t wait to work toward the world they believe in. It starts while they are on campus.”
– Emily Dalgleish ’22
Nicole Marie DeJacimo
“Being a Gettysburgian is working to better yourself and your community. Every day, I’m inspired by peers who are double majors, club presidents, or volunteers who are always trying to learn more and do more to make the world a better, more sustainable, safer, kinder, and smarter world than how we met it,” said DeJacimo. The political science major and writing minor says her proudest moment is writing an article for The Gettysburgian titled, “College Shows Progress on Sustainability, Advocates Want More Campus Engagement,” which prompted the creation of the Sustainability Committee on campus. “It was my first big piece that made me fall in love with investigative journalism and the positive impact it can have on my community,” she said. DeJacimo plans to be a political journalist in Washington, D.C., or possibly even abroad after graduation.
“Throughout the past four years, I have picked up tangible writing, communication, and contextualization skills both inside and outside the classroom that I can only attribute to the liberal arts and sciences experience,” said Doscher, who studied theatre arts and English with a writing concentration. “I have faced tough problems and challenging questions that required me to interrogate the current political and social landscape. I have had engaging conversations that have changed my outlook and viewpoints—conversations on subjects that I never would have considered had it not been for my Gettysburg education with our incredible professors and driven students. The liberal arts and sciences education has forced me to analyze the world around me and become a better citizen—one that is well-informed, articulate, confident, and ready for what’s next.” After graduation, Doscher plans to begin working in an editorial capacity with a medical education company.
“The liberal arts and sciences education has forced me to analyze the world around me and become a better citizen—one that is well-informed, articulate, confident, and ready for what’s next.”
– Phoebe Doscher ’22
Gong’s proudest moment was being nominated for and awarded the student life committee award in the fall of 2021. Gong was highly involved on campus, serving as the yearbook editor-in-chief for two years, the Ski Club president, a student office assistant in the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life, and a resident assistant in his senior year. “These opportunities allowed me to fully embrace the Gettysburg experience,” Gong said. Graduating with a physics and computer science double major, Gong is considering various jobs or pursuing the dual-degree engineering program for electrical engineering at Washington University.
“My First-Year Seminar class, Waging Peace: Religion and the World’s Peacemakers, opened me to an entirely new world of experiences,” said Halpin, who double majored in religious studies and political science and minored in music. “My professor, Prof. [Megan Adamson] Sijapati, helped me discover the Center For Public Service (CPS), where I have now worked for three years. Working there has informed my ideas of what I want to do for a career and fundamentally impacted how I think about the world. Similarly, taking this class exposed me to new cultures and belief systems, which encouraged me to pursue studying abroad. On [Get Acquainted Day], I had said I had no interest in studying abroad, and now I have studied abroad in Morocco, interned in Jordan, and will be heading to work in Palestine after graduation.” With a grant from CPS, Halpin will be working with a nongovernmental organization in Palestine to support its social justice-based summer camp.
“My proudest moment from my Gettysburg College experience is making it to the Centennial Conference semifinals for volleyball my senior year. This is the furthest the program has made it in eight years. Making this was a memorable way to end my career,” said Horowitz. A health sciences major, Horowitz plans on attending physician assistant school after a gap year, during which she will work as a medical assistant for a local company. “I look forward to a lifetime of helping others and being a part of various individuals’ journeys to health,” she added.
“I learned to be comfortable with discomfort, secure saying, ‘I don't know,’ and fulfilled by not getting something right the first time,” said Hudson, a biology major and religious studies minor. “My minor being so unrelated to my major has truly given me a well-rounded academic challenge. ... Without my minor, I would not be a global citizen, and I would have a narrow understanding of the people around me. Without my major, I wouldn’t have effective methodology, and I would have an unfocused approach to my work and goals.” After graduation, Hudson plans to work and build research experience in a lab before pursuing their master’s, with the hope of being a genetic counselor one day.
Benjamin B. Johnson
“I came to Gettysburg College because of its relationship to the past,” said Johnson. “I will never forget the early morning runs on Oak Ridge as the sun rose over the College campus, and the late evening walks with friends to watch the sun disappear and take that time to reflect. Gettysburg College’s historic ties to place and time inspired me to work as an intern at a National Park Service battlefield one summer. I will continue to draw meaning from this historic town when I return in the years to come, by either remembering my time here or finding new meaning from this landscape.” Johnson was an individualized studies major with minors in peace and justice studies and Civil War Era studies. He hopes to find career paths that combine his interests in education, community service, and first responding
“I will continue to draw meaning from this historic town when I return in the years to come, by either remembering my time here or finding new meaning from this landscape.”
– Benjamin B. Johnson ’22
During his time at Gettysburg College, Jones dedicated himself to helping undergraduate students recognize their potential for social change—in the here and now. However, he is proudest of co-creating and co-directing the inaugural Peace and Justice Transformative Leaders Fellowship Program at Gettysburg College. “More than anything, being a Gettysburgian means understanding that we are the ones we have been waiting for when it comes to building a better current and future,” said Jones, who double majored in religious studies and public policy, minoring in peace and justice studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. “It means recognizing that we have lots of agency here and now, and deciding to use it.” After graduation, Jones plans on attending the University of Chicago, where he’s earned a research-based scholarship, in pursuit of a master’s in international relations, with a focus on international development.
“Being able to take constructive criticism or the hard truth and face it head-on, has allowed me to succeed,” said Kienzle, who was a member of the men’s lacrosse team. “This lesson helped shape my mentality toward addressing adversity not only on the lacrosse field, but in life in general. I know life will not always go as planned and one must be willing to accept hardships by managing adversity with a head-up and positive mentality.” Kienzle majored in health sciences and minored in chemistry, and is interested in a career in the healthcare industry after graduation.
“I’m most proud of my participation in leading the project to bring back printers to the library. Even though I was mainly the spokesperson for the project, I am incredibly proud of the work the student senate has done to better the Gettysburg College community,” said Quan. Being a Gettysburgian is something she deeply values. “Being a Gettysburgian is being part of an everlastingly supportive community. Albeit small, we excel in quality work in and out of the classroom,” she added. Graduating with a biology major and peace and justice studies minor, Quan will be working for Aetna CVS Health in its sales development program.
Taylor - Jo Russo
“The most pivotal part of my education at Gettysburg has been the mentorship that I have received since I stepped foot on campus. From my first-year advisor, Dr. [Charles] Myers, to my second mom on-campus, Gretchen Natter, to my psychology and life advisor, Dr. [Christopher] Barlett, my life has been changed because of the invaluable staff and faculty members here,” said Russo who double majored in psychology and philosophy and minored in peace and justice studies. “I have learned from my various mentors that it is good to ask for help, to follow my heart and not other people’s opinions, and to believe in myself no matter what. I cannot thank Gettysburg enough for the connections and support it has given me and will continue to provide me with for life.” After graduation, Russo plans to pursue a PhD in social psychology, which combines her psychology major and passion for social justice-related topics.
“I am immensely proud of the work the Senate Diversity Committee took when I was chair in the fall of 2020 to make the campus a more inclusive space,” said Toglia. “We passed multiple resolutions, including having Senate leaders take assessments to improve their intercultural competency and knowledge of their implicit biases and a fleshed-out comprehensive proposal to reform the college’s orientation program to better address the issues of bias and inclusion.” After graduation, Toglia, an economics major with Spanish and business minors, will work in private wealth management at Citi Bank. “I hope to one day use my language skills from my Spanish minor and cultural experience as someone of Spanish heritage in my career as well, working with international clients,” he added.
“The most pivotal moment I experienced at Gettysburg was my First-Year Seminar, called Sex and the Supreme Court,” said Traczek. “This class opened my eyes to how frequently sex and gender-based violence occurs, and it motivated me to get involved with organizations on campus such as Students Against Sexual Assault. I also met Prof. [Anne] Douds through the course, who quickly became my mentor.” A political science and public policy double major with minors in German studies and peace and justice studies, Traczek enjoyed the explorative nature of the liberal arts and sciences. “I think the best thing a college student can do is have their perspectives challenged, and liberal arts education allows for that to occur in a respectful environment,” she said. After graduation, Traczek hopes to combine her love for learning languages with her political science and public policy interests by joining the Foreign Service.
“My most prideful Gettysburg College experience has to be my semester spent abroad in Nepal,” said Vazquez, a health sciences major and women, gender, and sexuality studies minor. “Being a first-generation college student who had never traveled internationally before, I knew that studying abroad was one of my top goals for my college career. Studying abroad brought me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. I had the opportunity to study public health and conduct my own independent study on birthing practices and maternal health, which solidified my desire to become a certified nurse-midwife.” Vazquez plans on attending the University of Pennsylvania in to earn her registered nurse licensure.
“Being a Gettysburgian means contributing to something bigger than my own experiences on campus and in the community,” Weynand said. “Instead of keeping my head down and focusing on my own life, I sought out new experiences and opportunities to become involved in something much bigger. Gettysburg encourages these pathways and strives to produce individuals—Gettysburgians—that will continue this type of work and this vision.” Weynand double majored in political science and public policy and also earned minors in economics and peace and justice studies. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and earn her Juris Doctor degree. After, she hopes to practice law and pursue work that will continue to directly impact the lives of individuals.
“Being a Gettysburgian means contributing to something bigger than my own experiences on campus and in the community.”
– Lacey Weynand ’22
Caitlin Malia Yap
“My proudest moment from Gettysburg College was when I was offered a seat in my first and top choice Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program,” said Yap, a health sciences major who will be attending George Washington University after graduation. “When I first arrived at Gettysburg, I knew that I wanted to work in the medical field in some capacity. It is a goal that a lot of undergraduates have coming into college, but not everyone reaches. It was the most amazing feeling to see all my hard work in the classroom and on the track, late nights in the library, and tears from organic chemistry be worth it.” Interning with Advanced Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy was also a pivotal moment for Yap. “I had always been interested in a career in rehabilitative medicine, but I was never sure which one. My internship helped me to find a future career that I am so excited about,” she said.
Read 5 more stories about the Class of 2022:
- Chris Lough ’22 on how historical research satisfies your global ambition
- Srey Nich Vunn ’22: A global citizen with a passion for social change
- Matthew Cherubino ’22: Uncovering an ‘emerging solution’ to cancer in First-Year Seminars
- Aine Ford ’22 on the value of pursuing business at a liberal arts and sciences college
- Hera Molina ’22 supports transgender and nonbinary Gettysburgians with Hera’s Closet