Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Lara Geis

Lara Geis ’13, an English major with minors in women’s studies and Italian studies, is president of the Roosevelt Institute. She has used her summers to gain a variety of experiences abroad.

Civic engagement: My favorite part of being president of the Roosevelt Institute this year is the opportunity it affords me to work with my wildly enthusiastic, creative and committed executive board to create dynamic events. These events provide our classmates the opportunity to learn, discuss and take action on the issues they consider important to our generation. I am inspired every day by the abundance of wisdom I see in my fellow students’ ideas and policy pieces. It only further affirms that our generation is anything but politically stagnant and apathetic. I find students’ eagerness to extend themselves and their voices beyond the periphery of campus to be abundant. Civic engagement is a core Wheaton value and the Roosevelt Institute is only one of the many resources students have created for themselves to better serve the community and make themselves heard.

Intellectual haven: Having grown up in Southern California, I was always attracted to the intellectual tradition of the East Coast and fascinated by the opportunities for students in the Boston area. Wheaton offered me everything I was looking for—a strong sense of community, superb English department, faculty that would treat me as an individual rather than a number, and funding to pursue my education outside of the classroom.

Learning through laughter: As I am sure any student can affirm, the abundance of inspirational and committed faculty here is what makes Wheaton so wonderfully unique. Specifically, during my four years here, Professor Samuel Coale has taught me the invaluable lesson of taking one’s work seriously, but never oneself. After numerous courses, a senior seminar, hours of conversation and countless laughs, Professor Coale has both elevated my writing and ignited a greater love for my major.

A bookworm’s dream come true: My junior year I studied abroad at the University of Oxford. It was a total fairytale. It was inexplicably humbling attending the same institution that educated many of my greatest literary and political heroes. The opportunity to work individually with professors on subjects such as English literature, philology, and human rights in 800-year-old libraries is a bookworm’s dream come true. Had it not been for Professor Michael Drout in the English Department, I would have never known about the program. I credit Wheaton for exposing me to this phenomenal program and providing me the support in applying.

Literary love: This past summer I worked for the Frances Goldin Literary Agency in New York. The agency is unique in its commitment to supporting politically progressive fiction and nonfiction. I learned a great deal about the changing publishing industry.

Beyond grateful: The summer after sophomore year, I moved to Florence to work at Italy’s largest and most active feminist bookstore. Given my interest in banned books, censorship laws and politically neutral publishing on an international scale, this opportunity was such a privilege.

–Monica Vendituoli ’15