Clark Days: Over four years, Lia has enjoyed exploring a wide variety of subject areas — from data science and geographic information science (GIS) to languages, culture, international development, and the human side of geography — while serving local and global communities. “I like doing things to help and support others,” she says. For Advanced Vector GIS with Professor Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger, Lia’s final project used GIS to connect the locations of federal and state prisons to voting patterns and demographic data in Minnesota, her home state. For her capstone project in the Urban Ethnography Lab with Professor Asha Best, Lia interviewed business owners and customers in Spanish to examine how Latinx restaurants in Worcester’s Main South help build community. She also applied her fluency in Spanish to Herencia y Cultura Hispánicas (Hispanic Culture and Heritage), a course through which she and her peers assisted with the teaching of native-Spanish-speaking children at a local elementary school. During spring semester of her junior year, Lia studied abroad in Jordan, learning Arabic and interning in a youth empowerment program. Outside of the classroom, Lia volunteered with Centro’s food pantry and African Community Education, both nonprofit organizations in Worcester; tutored incarcerated youth through the Petey Greene Program; participated in a six-week summer teaching fellowship in Worcester through Generation Teach; and, at Clark, served as teaching assistant in computer science courses, tutor in the Qualitative Skills Center, and peer mentor for incoming students. Lia also was involved with the Connections program for incoming students of color, both as a participant and as a mentor; served on the executive board of the Asian Student Union; and participated in Rise for Racial Justice, Variant Dance Group, and International Gala.
Post-Commencement Plans: Lia will study in Morocco for two months this summer under a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship, then head back to Clark in the fall to begin the fifth-year Accelerated Degree Program in community development and planning.
Observation: Lia loved participating in Connections. “I couldn’t have imagined coming to Clark without Connections because I made so many friends through that, and it also helped me think more about my own identity. I’m biracial, and I never really got the opportunity to explore that before coming to college.”