Student Conversations

Virginia DeWees ’16
Wilmington, Del.

Recipient of a 2016-17 Fulbright to Malaysia; double major in writing and rhetoric and educational leadership; former Breakthrough Collaborative teaching fellow; writing colleague on campus and at Five Points Prison; studied abroad in New Zealand; vice president of the HWS Pride Alliance; student ambassador for the campus PLEN chapter; founder of the Leadership League of Women; co-chair of Campus Greens; honors in education; attended a Quaker school K-12 and, as part of the Quaker tradition, estimates she has spent more than 100 hours in silent reflection; she credits her dog, Georgia, with keeping her focused and calm

I was drawn to HWS because of the emphasis on global citizenship and civic engagement. That spoke to me. I am passionate about education, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, youth empowerment and cultural competence, specifically within education. My first year was hard. I was just coming out as a queer woman and I felt strongly that I needed to “humble down” and find out who I am. Being abroad in New Zealand and teaching in a diverse classroom there confirmed that education is my calling. I returned to HWS and fell in love with campus and with everyone on it. I was on a high – high on life because New Zealand just grounded me. I learned who I am and what I want to study. And studying what I love has been the most interesting, gratifying and humbling experience I’ve ever had. It’s a privilege.

For me, the campus conversation is one of social justice and how we can make this campus more supportive of diverse identities – for people who identify as queer, people of color, people with a disability, people who have a gender variant identity. A day doesn’t go by when I am not engaged in this conversation in some way with other students and faculty. We need more space for everyone. A social justice center, a space focused on providing resources for all people, a safe space – that would be super rad.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.