"The College at Brockport has greatly influenced who I am today. Each of the professors I study with encourages me to find the best there is within myself and to apply it to my academics and my life goals."
While helping to build a home for someone in need in Juarez, Mexico, Hilarie Dahl began to build her own life on a foundation of reaching out to improve the lives of others.
Hilarie had spent many nights in Juarez sleeping on a church floor amid cockroaches — a life familiar to many in that region of the country. And yet, within that desperately poor community she witnessed a group of women banded together while striving to keep their own families together. Hilarie also noticed something else. These women were joyful despite their hardships. That is when she knew she had to become a voice for those who could not speak for themselves. She wanted to make an impact where others had not.
She became an avid blogger, posting forums on the issues that minorities, especially women, face; and instead of wearing garments produced in third world countries that exploit their workers, she sews her own. She even helps keep the Earth a little bit greener by producing her own environmentally friendly shampoo and cleaning supplies.
Understanding that in order to make a major impact on the world around her, she needed to acquire a college degree, Hilarie is continuing her education at The College at Brockport. Today she is preparing for a career as a professor of communication. She wants one day to have the opportunity to influence young scholars.
Hilarie describes herself as an academic and a feminist. As a graduate student, she spends no less than 30 hours a week in the library studying and conducting research. When she is not in class or at the library, she is busy bringing new lives into the world. Hilarie recently earned her DONA certification as a doula — one who helps moms during child birth.
"The College at Brockport has greatly influenced who I am today. Each of the professors I study with encourages me to find the best there is within myself and to apply it to my academics and my life goals. Together we have created a climate in the classroom that allows me to articulate my opinions."
Hilarie looked at several schools before deciding on The College at Brockport. She spoke with members of the faculty at an open house, and became more acquainted with the campus. The faculty eased her qualms about college life. Ultimately, the factor that helped her to make the decision to come to Brockport was the Newman House. The Newman House is a part of a Catholic ministry which offers housing for students studying at Brockport. Newman House creates a “homey feeling” for students living within a college community, says Hilarie.
Hilarie’s education began at home where she was homeschooled until the age of 16. She then decided to enroll at a local community college and study social work. A job at a local YWCA and several college classes later revealed to her an interest in women and gender studies. At Brockport, she went beyond this major, completing minors in history and communication. In her communication classes, she fell in love with rhetoric (the study of the effective use of language). Her communication professors encouraged Hilarie to continue at Brockport and earn her master’s in communication.
"I wanted to be in a place to work on my master’s program where I have already established myself. My professors at Brockport are guiding me to my goals," said Hilarie who plans to complete her master’s program in May 2011.
Ideally, Hillarie would like to continue with her education and earn her PhD at Purdue or The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and to one day teach communication theory and its role in gender and sexuality.
"Building a home in Mexico, being a doula, and now earning an education that I will one day pass onto others is something I do because I have never forgotten to be generous —not just in my intellect, but to be generous in my integrity. It’s generosity of spirit," says Hilarie.