Cassia Roth '08

Cassia Roth

Cassia Roth '08

Majors: Latin American Studies and Spanish; Minor: Gender and Women's Studies
Hometown: Carson City, Nevada

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
My grandparents are from Bar Harbor, so when I told them I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school they recommended Bowdoin. When I came here for an overnight stay, I stayed with Allie Yanikoski, who became one of my good friends. She was so nice, and that really influenced my choice to apply early decision.

Why did you choose your major?
I had taken two years of Spanish in high school, and I had traveled to Latin America. So my first-year fall I thought it would be interesting to take a class on Latin America. I took a seminar with Allen Wells called The Cuban Revolution. It was basically amazing. It made me want to keep taking classes with him, so that is what I did. That, plus the fact that I wanted to get back into Spanish made me choose my majors.

What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
Wow, there are so many. Well, I am really enjoying my Feminist Theory class with Jen Scanlon this semester. The material, and the way Professor Scanlon presents it, has really challenged the way I think, and I like that. Of course, any class with Allen Wells, but particularly The Cuban Revolution, The Mexican Revolution, and Contemporary Argentina. Then, I have to include my independent study with Enrique Yepes last year, Feminist Poetry of the Southern Cone.

What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
Okay, as if I have not said this enough, but Allen Wells. He uses interesting material, and he has really helped me improve my writing. I would recommend to anyone to take a class with him (next semester he is back from sabbatical!) because he is one of the best professors you will ever have. I also have to mention Professor Yepes. He is an incredibly energetic professor, and he always seems truly interested in what you have to say. I am going to really miss his classes. Jen Scanlon would round out my top-trio. She really got me interested in Gender and Women's Studies, and she always engages you critically. Also, she is my most-excellent advisor for my honors project, and I really admire her all around personality. I would also have to add Aviva Briefel in the English department. Although I have only taken one class with her, her teaching style and personality really made an impression on me. Who knows, if she had been my first-year seminar professor, maybe I would be an English major.

Have you engaged in any independent research while at Bowdoin?
As I already mentioned, last spring (2007) I did an independent study in Spanish with Enrique Yepes. Right now I am doing an honors project on reproductive rights during the 1960s and 1970s in Argentina. I applied for the Surdna Research Fellowship last March, and I used the money to go down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, this summer and do research. It was an amazing, but also at times nerve-wracking, experience. Although I had already studied abroad in Argentina for six months, I had never organized and implemented my own research project. I did fine though, and I found tons of material in libraries and archives. Plus, I got to go to some feminist demonstrations where we marched around the Congress building. Although I feel at times that my honors project consumes my life, it is something I truly enjoy.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I did swimming and diving for my first three years here. Although I am not swimming this year, being on the team was a huge part of my life, and I really enjoyed it. I am also one of the co-leaders of Bowdoin Women's Association (BWA). Through BWA I have been able to work with the amazing women at the health center and really apply my passion to Bowdoin's campus. Plus, the people involved with BWA are fantastic. I am also part of the Women's Resource Center (WRC) Dream Team. It is a group of remarkable women who get together to talk about problems facing women at Bowdoin, and how we can address them and make positive change. I was part of Peer Health last year, which was also a great group of students. Now I am also working with students on eating disorder awareness on campus. We are hoping to implement programs that will address some of the major problems surrounding the issue at Bowdoin. I have also been a lifeguard all four years.

Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
Yes, the fall of my junior year (2006) I lived in Mendoza, Argentina. As probably everyone will say about their study-abroad experiences, it was both very challenging and very rewarding. I lived with a great family who I still keep in touch with, and I made some great friends. However, I struggled at times with living in a completely different culture. Obviously I liked Argentina enough to go back this summer! I guess I speak like a Porteña now....

What have you done during your summers?
The summer after my first-year I lived in Cobán, Guatemala, for two months. I took intensive Spanish-language courses and traveled around the country (the first time alone abroad). After my sophomore year, I went to Argentina for study abroad. This past summer I went back to Argentina (this time to Buenos Aires) and did academic research. Between all of that, I went back home to Carson City, Nevada, and I was a lifeguard. For all of you who have not done high-powered internships, no worries! Neither have I!

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
Of all the memories, I have three that really stand out. One is being a part of the TMFC (Too Much Fun Club). The ridiculous things done and said throughout the years associated with it are basically the reasons I made it through Bowdoin. As for a particular event, spring of sophomore year I went to the Hampshire College Reproductive Rights Conference with a bunch of Bowdoin ladies. That Conference not only opened my eyes to feminist activism, but also let me connect with new people. Plus, it was there that Vagina Power was born. I mean, is it not amazing that every time I see one of the girls from the conference at Bowdoin, we put our arms up in a V and scream Vagina? Then, this fall I got into a pumpkin craze, so I threw a pumpkin party where my friends and I carved pumpkins and ate pumpkin food.

What are your plans for after graduation?
For next year, I am hoping to either work in the women's health field (for example, Planned Parenthood), and then travel in Latin America, or find a job somewhere in Latin America. After that I am planning on going to graduate school for my Ph.D. in history (Latin American/Women). Who knows, maybe one day I will be a professor at Bowdoin.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
I would say to explore Maine. Getting off of the Bowdoin campus is really great, and there is so much to do in Maine (although at first it may not seem like it). Also, if you think there is a problem at Bowdoin, do something about it! Don't just sit around and complain because there are plenty of resources that you can use to change the culture at Bowdoin. Also, go to your professors' office hours!

Story posted on November 07, 2007

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