Brynn Smith

Brynn Smith

Email: bsmith19@ithaca.edu
From: Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
Class of 2022
Major: Social Studies Teacher Education
Minor: Honors Program

What clubs/organizations you are involved in?

  • Student Activities Board: I'm president of this organization and have been a part of it since my freshman year. We provide free events each semester for the entire campus community, usually falling under the categories of comedy, music, and special events. We bring comedians and musicians from all across the country on to campus to perform, as well as things like mentalists, escape rooms, and movies fresh from movie theater runs. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we did a variety of events virtually similar to as we would in person, like a murder mystery party, comedy show, and movie nights. My favorite event that we do each year is a gingerbread house decorating competition and a highlight of being in the club was meeting Bowen Yang from SNL!
  • Senior Week Committee: I'm the finance chair for this committee which helps to plan Senior Week, a week between finals and graduation for seniors to celebrate their accomplishments. We plan Senior Splash, where seniors get to jump into the fountains on campus, and we also plan a variety of other events. 

Are you involved in Honors/Leadership Scholars/MLK Scholars/Park Scholars Programs?

  • I’m a Leadership Scholar! This program is one of the things I was most happy to be a part of after arriving to campus. The program requires participants to be involved in a campus organization as well as do community service in Ithaca. We also do multiple workshops about leadership skills, like the importance of procrastination (yes, there are benefits!). We also keep a portfolio for the program, something we can show to future employers, and are able to attend various leadership conferences.
  • I’m also involved in the Honors program. While there are academic benefits to the Honors program like interesting and fun classes, I have really taken advantage of the social benefits. My freshman year, I got to go on a weekend backpacking trip through the program in a national forest near Ithaca. The program also does a yearly trip to New York in the spring where we get a day to see the city and get to see a Broadway show. My freshmen year I saw Prom the Musical and only had to pay $5. If you have room for a minor, Honors is a great way to take classes beyond your major and meet other individuals.

Have you studied abroad?

I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, my sophomore year. While I was forced to leave after only being there for a month and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I do not regret going at all. Ithaca College’s Study Abroad department made the process of getting classes applied to my major super easy and once the pandemic started, I felt safe amongst the chaos due to their assistance about updating me on the situation. I took fun classes that included weekly field trips to spots around the city, made friends with Italians that I still keep in contact with today, and saw lots of amazing sights (and ate tons of pasta).

Have you been engaged in research, internship opportunities, student teaching, or conferences?

  • Through the education department, I have had lots of experience doing classroom observations in local Ithaca schools. My sophomore year, I got to work with a teacher at a local charter school in Ithaca, helping students with different assignments and observing him teach. In my junior year despite being completely online in the fall semester, I still got to do weekly classroom observation at a local Ithaca middle school, even though it was completely virtual. While I was sad it was not in person, it was awesome to see how schools were handling hybrid models of teaching.
  • My first semester freshman year, I participated in the Whalen Symposium. The Whalen Symposium is a yearly research conference for Ithaca College students where they get to present their work to the entire community. I took a Caribbean history class my first semester and my professor asked me to organize a panel of students from the class presenting our individual final research papers. It was awesome to already get involved in something like this during my first semester!
  • Through the Leadership Scholar program, I also got to attend a Women in Leadership conference. We went to Seneca Falls, NY and got to see the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. We got to see where women first held a conference to discuss the right to vote and then we had a series of workshops discussing being a women in leadership. It was very educational but also empowering!

Why did you choose Ithaca College?

The off campus community surrounding Ithaca College was a huge part in deciding to attend IC. I grew up hiking and camping so seeing all of the gorges and waterfalls and state parks surrounding campus was a game changer! I’ve spent a lot of weekends being outside, whether it is hiking or just watching the sunset while eating a picnic dinner. I also loved the town of Ithaca. There are so many festivals during the fall, including my favorite, Porchfest. This is where local bands are invited to play on the porches of people’s houses. You can just spend the whole day walking around town and hearing different music. I also was drawn to the emphasis on social justice, specifically within the Education Department. They focus on educating future teachers on issues of social justice and equity that their future students will be experiencing. They do not only teach us how to teach students, but how to advocate for them and be culturally relevant with them.

Is there anything else you would want to share with a prospective student?

Obviously it is important to look at a school for its academics and the major that you’re interested in, but do not forget to also observe the school’s culture. This is so important to observe when you tour especially. What are students on campus wearing? What events are being advertised on posters? Talk to current students (like me!) as much as possible when trying to decide the touring process. They know the experience best!