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Faculty Profile: Virginia Hart

Virginia Hart

Virginia Hart’s first impression of Tufts was a strong sense of community. When she first came onto Tufts’ campus, she remembers feeling like collaboration and support were cores of Tufts. Now, as an Admissions Counselor and the manager of the tour guide program, lunch hosts, and class visits, Virginia sees that community at Tufts is rooted in its students but grows beyond, reaching every department and section of campus.

Virginia loves her work with Tufts Admissions, particularly the people she works with. “I think that Tufts Admissions reflects the university as a whole: everyone in my office has a wide array of interests, hometowns, and personalities, but we work well together because of the thoughtful collaborative spirit within each of them,” Virginia says. She appreciates that even in the depth of application reading season, there are moments of discussing television shows or cringing at terrible puns. Virginia, like other admissions counselors, takes her work and passions seriously, but she does not take herself seriously and enjoys a good laugh, especially with students. Virginia is constantly awed by the students she meets and works with, especially by their humble attitudes and academic passions. “Every week, I listen to students tell me about their strenuous course loads, extracurricular activities, and fascinating research. I quickly discovered the kindheartedness of Tufts students and their desire to learn from others and themselves,” Virginia says. She sees this especially in the tour guide program, where new guides often find themselves making extremely thoughtful connections with both older guides and Virginia herself.

One of Virginia’s favorite things about her job is the application reading process and the honor that comes with reading interesting stories from high school students across the country. She loves that each day is completely new and different as she learns something new from different applications. “Some teach me the resilience of the human spirit while others might teach me a new Physics theory,” Virginia explains. As a 2016 University of Virginia graduate, she remembers the application process and her undergraduate education very well. She was a history and anthropology double major and a tour guide and distinctly recalls being asked the terrifying question of “what will you do with those two majors after you graduate?” Virginia had a memorized response to this question, explaining that both her majors focused on people and therefore her future work would involve other humans. Her majors gave her immense empathy and understanding, something she brings to Tufts Admissions with her every day.

Upon graduating from college, Virginia craved the “passionate energy” of a college campus, especially the community of being a tour guide for admissions. She feels like her work within the student-led tour guide program particularly inspired her work at Tufts, not only in rethinking Tufts’ tour guide program but also in creating leadership positions for students and presenting opportunities for student engagement on campus.

Virginia brings immense excitement and friendliness to the Tufts community. She enjoys meeting eccentric Jumbos and making new connections. There are countless things to enjoy on Tufts’ campus, but Virginia loves getting to explore the world from her admissions office. “I adore working in a space that can take me from Western Massachusetts to Australia to Georgia to California all while sitting in Bendetson Hall,” she says. Most of all, she loves to see the future in applicants and prospective students. “I adore working in a space that expands my awareness of the world and allows me to appreciate the potential of young people.”

Student Profile: Mia Marrazza

Mia Marrazza

After almost four years, it seems easy to assume that the special qualities of Tufts have become common to senior Mia Marrazza, but she still finds herself in awe of the Tufts community. “I know it sounds cheesy, but I chose Tufts because of the people,” she recalls. Mia’s past four years were shaped by not only her fellow Jumbos, but also her work with incredible organizations, classes preparing her for her future, and personal passions that continue beyond Tufts.

Mia came to Tufts knowing who she was and what she wanted out of her undergraduate career. “I’ve always known I wanted to be a businesswoman,” Mia says, “but I wanted to go into that field with a liberal arts education.” Tufts became her choice for its fantastic liberal arts education in a variety of fields, giving her the option to explore different skills and subjects. Mia studied quantitative economics, math, and entrepreneurial leadership studies. These are three popular areas of study for Jumbos and with students like Mia, it’s easy to see why. Within these studies, Mia describes learning various problem solving and critical thinking skills necessary for being a confident and successful businesswoman. Mia is grateful especially to her professors “for their support and positive spirit” throughout her four years. While taking rigorous classes, Mia found time for incredible extracurricular activities like 180 Degrees Consulting, a unique organization on campus. Mia is heavily involved in the organization. “It has given me unique experiences working with nonprofit clients in the Boston area, and I will use those teamwork and analytical skills as I enter my full-time job in life science consulting this summer,” Mia says.

When she is not excited for her future career, Mia is a tour guide with Tufts Admissions and has made many thoughtful connections with both prospective Jumbos and new tour guides. Mia seems to be exceptional at building relationships with people regardless of their backgrounds, which can especially be seen in her interest in consulting. “My professional passions right now are consulting due to its client-facing and team-oriented work,” Mia explains. This is synonymous with her personal passions of making an effort to surround herself with fellow dedicated and unique individuals, something she finds almost effortless at Tufts. Mia finds that Tufts has provided the perfect opportunities for her to thrive during her undergraduate education because of the institution’s resources and community. She feels motivated to “constantly learn more” and involve herself “in new and life-changing experiences.” While Mia has had many of those experiences the past four years, it is just the beginning.

After graduation, Mia plans on continuing her work at Simon-Kucher & Partners, which she says the Career Center helped her immensely with. While she is ready to work hard, she is also ready to “have a ton of fun post-grad.” Mia sees her future as being the perfect balance of professional work and discovering the Boston area as an adult. “I’m excited to see where my curiosity takes me as I move forward with my career. There are so many exciting things to look forward to, no matter how scary it may seem for me now as I enter the last chunk of my last semester,” Mia says. With graduation in just two months, Mia may be ending her undergraduate career at Tufts, but she will always be a Jumbo.

Student Profile: Alizée Weber

Alizée Weber

Senior Alizée Weber fell in love with Tufts University in a way many students do: through Jumbo Days. After receiving her acceptance letter, she attended Jumbo Days and explored Tufts’ campus and talked to its students and faculty, specifically former Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin. “Coffin told me, ‘There is only so much you can learn in the classroom.’” This really resonated with Alizée, who noted that there were many amazing academic institutions in the United States, but that she wanted a place where her classmates and professors would shape her for the next four years. “The more I talked to current and admitted Tufts students and to professors, the more I realized just how passionate, caring, and down-to-earth they were,” Alizée recalls. These conversations and more importantly the community she found at Jumbo Days shaped Alizée’s decision and her next four years.

Alizée is an international student from France and describes herself as a people’s person. “I love learning about different cultures, meeting new people, and helping others,” she says. With students from over 60 countries and all 50 states, Tufts presents a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and diversity, something Alizée cherishes. As well, Tufts offers academic options that allow Alizée to learn about her multiple passions and work with departments on campus and complete internships off campus. “I have been able to explore different academic fields and career paths that would allow to pursue my passions, such as medicine, nutrition, clinical psychology, higher education, and admissions.” As a senior intern for Admissions, Alizée finds a full circle with her work for incoming students and the tour guide program.

At Tufts, she feels engaged and excited about her interests. She is constantly discussing her college experience, her studies, her internships, and her work in and out of Tufts. Whether these interests be in line with her academic career or her personal love of cheese, Alizée is ready to talk for hours, like many Tufts students. Specifically, Alizée recalls one of her favorite aspects of Tufts being its support system. “From my peers to graduate students and alumni to professors and career counselors, there has always been someone there for me,” Alizée says.

With plans to attend Cornell’s prestigious School of Hotel Administration in the fall after graduation, Alizée is excited for her future and thankful for her past. “I am looking forward to applying what I have learned at Tufts to this new field of study. I am confident that the rigorous academic education Tufts provides, and the open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity is fosters will help me tackle this new challenge,” Alizée explains. With the many connections and friends she has made, both with international and American students, Alizée cannot imagine having a better college experience and feeling more excited for her future. As one of the organizers of this year’s Jumbo Days, she is hopeful future students will make the same connections she made and discover the Tufts community in the ways she has.

Student Profile: Jacob Ehrlich

Jacob Ehrlich

To sophomore Jacob Ehrlich, Tufts University is about opportunities. “Tufts is innately liberal arts so I can pursue my various passions without being married to one subject necessarily,” Jacob says. For students with a wide variety of interests, passions, and pursuits, liberal arts colleges are the best option to discover these different paths. For Jacob, Tufts goes even further. Besides being able to study different subjects, Tufts, as a research institution, also allows him the ability to study very specific trades at intense levels, like computer science. This is something Jacob thinks is specifically unique to Tufts. “It’s an opportunity that many other liberal arts colleges cannot offer,” he says.

Since middle school, Jacob has been obsessed with filmmaking. While applying to colleges, he was not exactly sure where this passion fit in terms of deciding a major and career. “Not to say I have my whole life figured out now, but I do think my first two years at Tufts have brought me some clarity,” he explains. Filmmaking continues to be a personal and academic passion for Jacob, specifically in terms of the resources offered by Tufts. The camera, sound, and lighting equipment offered through Tufts’ Film and Media Studies program is open for all undergraduate students. “At most film universities, the top equipment is reserved for the undergraduate seniors or graduate students, but at Tufts, as a freshman, I got access to 4k cameras, Steadicams, and professional lighting kits. In this way, Tufts really trusts its students and wants the undergraduates to have as much of an opportunity as students at the graduate level,” Jacob says.

Jacob loves camera equipment and image technology and has decided to pair a Film and Media Studies major with a major in Computer Science. His passion for creating art and his interest in understanding the technology behind film equipment have combined in a unique way, something not uncommon at Tufts. Regarding other opportunities, Jacob sees Tufts as a place to make incredible connections. “In my first semester as a freshman, my film professor gave me the opportunity to be a production assistant on his short film,” Jacob recalls. Jacob is also involved in a band and has met other musicians through Tufts’ music program, playing gigs at different social events. When he is not behind the camera or playing music, Jacob is also involved in a cooking club with his friends and classmates. He finds that while the school can sometimes feel big, he has thrived within a “family-like filmmaking community.” This community makes Jacob feel unique and gives him the confidence to continue to use the broad resources offered at Tufts and expand his network across the community.

As for his future, Jacob feels that he has the advanced academic skillset to do something with his creative instincts. “This is not to say I know I want to work at a camera tech company or be a film director, but rather, whatever path I end up choosing, I will be better off knowing the full story,” Jacob says. This full story is specifically that Tufts presents students with a wide range of opportunities to develop skills for future work. With Jacob, Tufts gave him a variety of liberal arts options but also encourages him to explore these options deeper.

Student Profile: Christopher Campbell

Christopher Campbell

            For some students, choosing a college is kind of like a show on HGTV: it’s all about location. For Christopher Campbell, Tufts was an ideal college for this exact reason. “I’m from a big city and wanted to experience a different setting, but still have access to go into the city, so this campus was the best of both worlds for me!” Christopher recalls. Since coming to Tufts, however, Christopher’s love for Tufts has branched past location. Tufts has become special to him for so many reasons.

            Christopher Campbell is a sophomore studying Biology. His ultimate goal is to become a doctor, and for a while, that was his only focus. When he chose Tufts, he loved that the school was extremely advanced in the medical field and had students with passions that they were exploring through classes and research. While studying Biology, Christopher discovered other interests he has. “I have passions for science, entertainment, and children. So far at Tufts, I have been able to so much in these realms academically through courses I’ve taken, like medical sociology, filmmaking, and American sign language,” Christopher says.

            Many Tufts students share these same varied passions and interests, often picking up double majors and minors through exploring different classes. For Christopher, a Biology major and Film and Media Studies minor sounds like the perfect combination of academic areas he loves. At other schools, this combination seems strange. Through students like Chris, Tufts reaffirms its status as a university where students are diverse in their interests. “Tufts is very special to me because I’ve been offered so many unique opportunities from the different courses offered to the organizations I’ve partnered with to the amazing people I’ve gotten to know,” Christopher says.

            Christopher also completes research on campus, a common activity amongst Tufts students beginning as early as freshman fall and as late as senior spring. Christopher volunteers in a biomedical lab and learns about what innovative projects Tufts is working on at campus. He also believes this research will prepare him for future work and medical school. Graduating in two years sounds exciting to Christopher, especially considering how ready he feels for the work field thanks to Tufts. “I am being prepared so well here at Tufts from the classes I’m taking to the research I’m volunteering in to the incredible internships that I can apply to,” Christopher affirms. These internships vary for him, from being in film and entertainment to biology and medicine. Christopher sees new internship opportunities through Tufts all the time, ranging from research in labs to location work in places like Guatemala and London.

            These resources are also offered through professional advising and student activities, where Christopher says he spends a lot of this time learning about new opportunities and ways for him to excel in his classes and work. He also finds time in his schedule to be a member of ATO at Tufts, a gender-all inclusive fraternity. Christopher is community outreach chair for the fraternity. Christopher has made a lot of social connections through the fraternity and finds it to be a core part of his time at Tufts.