Four Years at IC

By IC Staff, November 9, 2018
See how eight students transformed during their time at the college.

We interviewed the students at the end of their senior year to see how they had grown over the course of four years. 

In September 2014, we asked eight first-year students from across the college to participate in a photo project. We asked them to bring something meaningful to them to the shoot: a sketchbook, a piece of sporting equipment, an instrument. We kept in touch with them throughout their four years on campus, and in spring 2018, we asked them to return to the studio and talk about how they had changed during that time at IC. Here are their stories. 
 

Chanel Underwood

Chanel Underwood in her first year (left) and her senior year (right) at IC.

CHANEL UNDERWOOD

HOMETOWN: Lusby, Maryland
MAJOR: Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance
ACTIVITIES: MLK Scholar, President of the National Association of Black Accountants, Project Generations, Whalen Academic Symposium, Sister to Sister, African Latino Society

“I definitely feel more confident when I speak. I know now that hard work pays off, so when I walk into a room, I earned the right to be there. I also feel a lot more grateful. I know I wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of other people, so I’m very humble. I’ve enjoyed my experience, and I’ve learned a lot about the world. It wasn’t just Ithaca or my finance classes; it was a lot bigger than that. I hope one day I can help people from my community, and help make sure they have the opportunity to learn about the world, too. I have a job offer from Ernst & Young, one of the top big four financial firms in the world. But I also took the LSAT, did well, and plan on going to law school in two to three years.”

Underwood started working in the financial services organization advisory department of Ernst & Young in October.
 

Tyler Reighn

Tyler Reighn in his first year (left) and his senior year (right) at IC.

TYLER REIGHN

HOMETOWN: Topton, Pennsylvania
MAJOR: Film, Photography, and Visual Arts
ACTIVITIES: MLK Scholar, Brothers for Brothers, Diversity Peer Educator, Student Leadership Consultants, ICLA

“The POC at IC protests changed my whole perception of college. It reaffirmed for me that there are good people in the world. There are amazing people at this school that will have your back through anything. That year was really difficult for me, and coming through that not just with a new president but leaving a lasting legacy at this college meant so much to me and the other people who put in the time to stand up for something we believed in. That taught me to stand up for my values and that taking action means more than saying a few good words. I’m going to miss the people. The people at Ithaca College are special, and there’s something about this community that just attracts a special kind of person. I truly believe that there are some of the kindest and most genuine people at this school.”

Reighn is now working as part of the media content team at Dim Mak Records in Los Angeles.
 

Amanda Schell

Amanda Schell in her first year (left) and her senior year (right) at IC.

AMANDA SCHELL

HOMETOWN: Amesbury, Massachusetts
MAJOR: Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance
ACTIVITIES: Captain of the Field Hockey Team, Leadership Academy, Study Abroad in Milan, Italy, Student Athletic Advisory Council Executive Board

“[Participating] in the Leadership Academy for athletes was super motivational and a good learning experience. [I learned] leadership skills, qualities and strategies. I think all of those have helped me develop as a really good leader, and will help me in the real world as well. My experiences have shaped me to be more confident and more mature. I’m from a really small town in Massachusetts, so coming here was a big deal. I was six hours away from my family, and that was a transition in itself. Now I feel less dependent on [my parents]. I studied abroad sophomore year. I didn’t even go with anyone that I knew. I just went, and I did my thing. I was in a foreign country and very far away from my family and kind of had to fend for myself. Those life skills have made me grow.”

Schell found work as a strategic alliance dealer payment associate at MFS Investment Management in Boston.
 

Monica Chen

Monica Chen in her first year (left) and her senior year (right) at IC.

MONICA CHEN

HOMETOWN: Carlisle, Massachusetts
MAJOR: Writing 
ACTIVITIES: MLK Scholar, President of IC China Care Club, Asian American Alliance, Studied Abroad in Dublin, Ireland, Writing Center Tutor

“I’ve always been the type of person who tries to predict everything that was going to happen — so I have a five-year plan. I had that with college: ‘These are the classes I’m going to take; this is the major I’m going to have.’ But I enjoyed a lot of classes that I didn’t think I was going to take. I met a lot of people I didn’t expect to meet. I did a lot of research that I didn’t think I was going to do. Some of the most incredible experiences I’ve had throughout college have been the ones that I didn’t think were going to happen.”

Chen is now working in marketing and communications at the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

Max Denning

Max Denning in his first year (left) and his senior year (right) at IC.

MAX DENNING

HOMETOWN: Portland, Oregon
MAJOR: Journalism
ACTIVITIES: The Ithacan, Park Scholar, Feminists United

“The Ithacan provided me with a lot of my structure. That includes a friend group, a social setting to thrive in, a workplace to do good work in, and an office that allowed me to get work done and socialize with my peers and feel like I was being productive in. It’s also a place that I think I did some of my best work and some of the work that I’m most proud of. During fall 2015 when there were protests on campus, I was assistant news editor. That was a time that really taught me: If you want to be a journalist, you need to do it right. You need to work really hard at it. And I think that semester taught me how to be a better journalist and writer and also how to be a better student at Ithaca College.”

Denning now works as a reporter for The Observer in La Grande, Oregon.
 

Samantha Brown

Samantha Brown in her first year (left) and her senior year (right) at IC.

SAMANTHA BROWN

HOMETOWN: Camden, New York
MAJOR: Athletic Training
ACTIVITIES: Figure Skating Club, Ithaca Athletic Training Students’ Association, Honors Residential Learning Community

“My most challenging experience here was in the fall of my junior year. I was working with the football team as one of their student athletic trainers. It was my first time working with a team every day of the week. There were 120 student-athletes, and they all needed something. It was a real struggle. I actually cried a couple times on the field, and I genuinely thought I was going to change my major and not be an athletic trainer because I couldn’t handle the pressure of doing it every day at that level. But I think I’ve just become more resilient in facing changes that come into my life. I’ve been forced to deal with some very big changes, and learning how to cope with that has made me a much stronger person overall.” 

Brown is a licensed athletic trainer at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire for women’s basketball, swimming and diving, and outdoor track and field.
 

Morgan Atkins

Morgan Atkins in her first year (left) and her senior year (right) at IC.

MORGAN ATKINS

HOMETOWN: Stillwater, Oklahoma
MAJOR: Music in Combination with an Outside Field (Communication Management and Design)
ACTIVITIES: Leadership Scholar, Active Minds, Student Leadership Institute, Various Ensembles including the Ithaca College Sinfonietta and Concert Band

“I was much shyer as a freshman. I didn’t have any confidence in my abilities, and I think that’s a little bit different now. If I were to go into a situation where I didn’t know anything, I’d still be comfortable with myself and accept the challenge and tell myself, ‘I can do this.’ I’ve had a lot of support from my professors. Without their support and encouragement, I probably would not be as confident as I am. But also having peer support and a sense of engagement is really encouraging, as well.”

Atkins moved to Brooklyn this fall and has been grateful for the support of her IC friends.

Monika Huot

Monika Huot in her first year (left) and her senior year (right) at IC.

MONIKA HUOT

HOMETOWN: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
MAJOR: Applied Economics
ACTIVITIES: American Marketing Association, International Club of Ithaca College, Student Leadership Institute, IC Progressives, Certified IT Technician

“When I was a freshman, I was always nervous because I didn’t know what I was going to come across, who I was going to meet, or what kind of friends I was going to make. And I feel like now as a senior, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with that, and I think I’m able to express myself a lot more, especially in the classroom. When you’re a new student, it’s hard to speak up. But now I think I’m more vocal, and I think that’s a good change. My advice to first-year students is to always be open to new opportunities and to meeting new people because you never know who you’re going to meet and what kind of opportunities you will get just from being open.”

Huot is getting a master's degree in economics from the University of Manchester in England.
 

Photos by: Jacob Beil 15, Adam Baker, Carl Hyerdahl 16, Noah Levin 18 and Giovanni Santacroce.

Interviews by: Celisa Calacal 18, Nicholas Fustor 18, Halle George 18, Kristen Mirand 20, Giovanni Santacroce, Tara Stacy 18 and Kelly Twardziak 18.