This year, Dartmouth College will award more than 1,700 degrees to undergraduate and graduate students who embody the College’s values of academic excellence and independent thought in a culture of collaboration. Among the outstanding students who will leave campus to go out and take on the world’s troubles are undergraduates Christy Lazicky, Ahmad Nazeri, Tom Richardson, and Christine Souffrant.
Their paths to Dartmouth differ, but all leave having gained—and imparted—knowledge, confidence, perspective, and a sense of their place in the world. Here are their stories:
Christy Lazicky ’11 will use her math skills to further social justice projects. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Name: Christy Lazicky ’11 Hometown: Amityville, N.Y.Major: MathematicsActivities: Club lacrosse, Tucker Foundation Bildner Community Based Learning student director, Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority, volunteer at The Family Place in Norwich, Vt. Lazicky also started a local chapter of STAND, an international nonprofit that raises awareness of genocidal violence.
Christy Lazicky has put her analytical skills to work for social justice projects that range from working with a local family center to help empower young mothers raised in poverty, to volunteer teaching in Tanzania. “Through my time here, I’ve discovered that I want to apply my quantitative skill set to improving social policy and helping others,” she says.
Where to next: Statistical analysis for the Washington, D.C., offices of Mathematica, a research firm.
What I’ve learned: “Altruism has always been one of my core values, but at Dartmouth, that perspective has really been broadened,” she says. “Dartmouth has expanded my focus.”
Why Dartmouth College: “I applied here on a whim and was accepted but was ready to go to another school when my mom said I couldn’t do that before first seeing Dartmouth,” Lazicky says. “We came on a beautiful spring weekend. My decision was made by the people I met on that weekend. Everyone was so nice and warm and welcoming, with lots of passion.”
Ahmad Nazeri ’11 wants to teach and help people, like those who helped him when he first arrived in this country. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Name: Ahmad Nazeri ’11
Hometown: Richmond, Va.Major: Double major in History and Middle Eastern studiesActivities: Student director of the Tucker Foundation, undergraduate advisor (UGA); volunteer for America Reads, tutoring local elementary school students; president of Al-Nur, the Muslim student association; Alternative Spring Break; Casque and Gauntlet Senior Society; Foreign Study Program in Fez, Morocco; Beta Alpha Omega fraternity; and winner of the 2011 Dean’s Plate Award.
Ahmad Nazeri started seventh grade unable to speak or understand English. Born in Afghanistan, he and his family also lived in Pakistan before coming to the United States, where they received tutoring from Refugee and Immigration Services in Richmond. Years later, Ahmad worked as an intern with the same agency, helping immigrants new to this country learn the language. “It was really nice to be on the other side, giving back,” he says.
Where to next: “After a year off and a return to Afghanistan, I’ll work for Teach for America, ideally in Baltimore,” he says. “Education is something I’m passionate about.”
What I’ve learned: “Over four years, I’ve totally transformed in many ways,” says Nazeri. “I’ve learned to better manage my time, my interpersonal skills have improved drastically, and I’ve found my leadership style and my potential. I’ve definitely gained a sense of possibility, a sense of confidence.”
Why Dartmouth College: “I just love the way the students interact with each other, and with professors,” he says. “Dartmouth has been an experience that exceeded my expectations.”
Tom Richardson ’11 is looking forward to being an involved alumnus. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Name: Tom Richardson ’11Hometown: Durham, N.C.Major: German StudiesActivities: First Year Enrichment Program (FYSEP) mentor, War and Peace Fellow, member of Dartmouth Undergraduate Veterans Association, and Beta Alpha Omega fraternity.
Tom Richardson first saw Dartmouth as a grade-schooler, stopping in Hanover with his sister, who was visiting colleges. It would be more than a decade—including a four-year hitch in the Marines and two years of community college—before he returned as a transfer student. Richardson was wounded in Iraq, his third and final overseas deployment, when the vehicle in which he was traveling hit a mine.
Where to next: “A corporate project management training program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, then, I hope, the Tuck Business Bridge Program,” he says. “After that, who knows? There’s a Defense Department contracting gig in Arizona that could happen. It’s going to be consulting or business somewhere.”
What I’ve learned: “I’ve learned exactly what it is to be part of a community,” Richardson says. “That has been terrific for me. I’ve also learned what the Dartmouth trademark is. I was very skeptical of how ‘into it’ Dartmouth alumni were. But now I can already see that I’m going to be one of those extremely proud and extremely connected alumni. I know now why it is that these alumni love it so much. Academically I’ve learned that Dartmouth has extremely high standards, which they don’t lower for anybody. My professors, particularly my thesis advisor Irene Kacandes [professor of German and comparative literature and chair of the Department of German Studies], worked very hard to bring me to that level. That meant many one-on-one sessions with me and it’s been amazing. And that’s been the over-arching theme that has been present in almost every interaction I’ve had with faculty and with alumni.”
Why Dartmouth College: “I’ve always had an infatuation with Dartmouth,” he says. “My sister came for a visit, and I just thought it was awesome. Ever since then, I just wanted to come to Dartmouth. I remember seeing the Green and Dartmouth Hall and being just completely blown away.”
Christine Souffrant ’11 helped support her family while she was a Dartmouth student. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Name: Christine Souffrant ’11 Hometown: Jamaica, Queens, New York CityMajor: English, with a Public Policy minorActivities: Semester at Sea, visiting 11 countries; Spanish Language Study Abroad (LSA) in Puebla, Mexico; Foreign Study Program in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Tucker Foundation internship at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa; undergraduate advisor (UGA), and Tuck Business Bridge Program.
Chris Souffrant worked a total of 11 campus jobs during her time at Dartmouth to help support her parents and younger brother. During her junior year, her family was evicted from their home in Jamaica, Queens, and returned to Haiti, where Chris’s parents were born and where she spent her early years. She came to Dartmouth as a Gates Millennium Scholar, a program run by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the first person in her family to attend college.
Where to next: “M&T Bank in Washington, D.C., to work as a bank analyst, to start,” she says. “I have a professional career ahead of me. I’m planning to go to graduate school to get my MBA.”
What I’ve learned: “Dartmouth has given me lots of opportunities, even though I’ve had a hard four years here due to family issues,” says Souffrant. “A lot of people don’t know how I juggled three jobs a term. I made good use of my 24 hours each day. I didn’t have a choice to say, ‘No, I don’t want to work today.’ It definitely made me stronger.”
Why Dartmouth College: “It takes a special student to be a Dartmouth student,” she says. “My story is unique, but I’ve heard stories from other women here who have worked hard to do their best, too. Dartmouth pushes you to your limit, but it nurtures you to aim high. It definitely nourished my spirit. Whatever your dream is, it will happen here.”