Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Ithaca College offers more than 100 academic programs. When Dan Leibel listed the ones that attracted him, he came up with 18.
“I wasn’t undecided,” he said. “I just had too many things I wanted to do. I needed to expand my boundaries and see what I really liked.”
Because the Exploratory Program allows students to take courses in any of IC’s five schools before declaring a major, Dan had the chance to investigate his varied interests.
“The Exploratory Program relieved my anxiety about not knowing what to study because it let me pick classes earlier, and that kept me on track to graduate. Being an exploratory student at IC is way different from being undeclared somewhere else.”
During his first year—as he took classes in biology, politics, literature, philosophy, and general psychology in addition to the required freshman seminar—Dan discovered another Exploratory Program feature: a dedicated advising staff.
“At the end of my first semester, I was leaning toward politics but still thinking of speech pathology, so my advisor suggested two speech-path requirements: Communications Disorders and Developmental Psychology. As it turned out, those two courses fit me better than any of the others because they studied how people work. So I decided to major in psychology, which wasn’t on my original list.”
The “fit” Dan discovered led him to blend the science of the mind with human behavior. He took courses in neuroscience to gain a better understanding of the brain’s biological processes while also doing research about peoples' personality characteristics.
As part of the psychology department’s Humor Research Team, Dan investigated self-reflection and humor by studying two types of people—those who enjoy being laughed at and those who fear it—to identify personality traits that help predict the differences between the two groups.
“Humor’s something we use in all ranges of our social interactions, but there are people who don’t like it and who don’t function well around it. That made me realize there’s so much out there we don’t know, especially about the way people operate.”
As a senior at IC, Dan was accepted into a Ph.D. program in human services psychology at the University of Maryland to pursue a dual concentration in behavioral medicine and clinical psychology.
“I want to find out all the things that people don’t yet know about themselves—about the way they talk to each other, the way they think, the way they behave. I want to keep exploring,” Dan says.
I came to Ithaca College eager to dive into the world of college slam poetry. When I found out there was no slam poetry group on campus, though, I took the opportunity to start one.
Spit That! turned out to be the perfect complement to my education in the Department of Theatre Arts. I polished my acting skills in classes and gained experience in productions. My work with Spit That! taught me firsthand how to organize shows, coordinate rehearsals, run meetings, work with a board, produce, and direct.
At IC, I was truly blessed with the chance to combine the two things I love most—acting and poetry. Nearly a year after graduation, I’m still bringing them together. I applied everything I learned at Ithaca to produce, direct, and act in Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale, a show I wrote with three others.
Our play blends poetry and theatre to explore issues surrounding gentrification in Harlem while attesting to the rich culture and history of one of New York City’s famed neighborhoods. The show played to sold-out audiences in Times Square and led to an extended run last summer.
Now we’re taking the show on a college tour, starting at Ithaca College, of course! That’s where it all came together for me. IC gave me the tools to build the career of my dreams and the opportunity to expand my education through my own creativity.
Editor’s note: Jaylene continues to take New York City’s performance world by storm, winning first place at Amateur Night at the Apollo. Jaylene impressed her hometown crowd in Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater with an impassioned spoken word piece and secured her place in the historic talent competition. She’ll be competing this October in the final round for the chance to win the title of Super Top Dog and a $10,000 cash prize.
More on this story: "Spit It Out!" - Fuse
- Campus Life and Leadership
- Health Sciences
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Internships and Fieldwork
- Math and Natural Sciences
- Music and Performing Arts
- All Categories