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Above: watch a video Caitlin produced for a thesis project.
How Did You Decide to Come to the College Of Brockport?
I attended The College at Brockport for Empire Girls State during the summer of 2009. It was the summer prior to entering my senior year of high school. While I had an amazing time my homesickness overwhelmed me and once my mother arrived to pick me up, I was ready to hop in the car and speed off. However, my mom persuaded me to attend a scheduled tour of Brockport’s campus. I don’t know if it was the gorgeous summer day, our charismatic tour guide, or just the energy of the tour group, but I remember thinking that Brockport was where I was meant to be. While it was one of my first college tours I found myself comparing these fancier private colleges to Brockport and realized that Brockport offered everything I was looking for. It had a strong dance program which was at the top of my list, a broad array of majors for me to explore, a strong Study Abroad Program which included internships in Washington D.C., and the ability to create my own major. My options at The College at Brockport seemed limitless and that has been the case.
How Did You Decide To Create Your Own Major?
I took Environmental Science with Dr. Haynes because I had been interested in the environment and the world’s ecosystems ever since I was a young child. One day in class, Dr. Haynes got up on his “soap box”, as he would have called it and said how sad it was that the experts in the science fields did not have a large voice in the decisions being made regarding our environment and the state of our present world. He argued that there is a disconnect between the communications between scientists and politicians especially because politicians place their votes in support of their large corporate sponsors’ agendas. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t think I could ever be an expert scientist, but I truly believe I could be a liaison of sufficient knowledge in both fields to help these two bodies of people communicate more effectively.’ I met with Dr. Haynes about creating an undergraduate Environmental Policy major through the college’s Contractual Liberal Arts Major (C.L.A.M) program. He loved the idea. So that is just what I did, through his guidance I combined political science and environmental science courses to fit a major based on the premise that the scientists and politicians needed a means to bring their interests together.
How Does Political Science Influence Your Dance?
Political science literally influences my dance making on a daily basis. While creating dance works a notion or belief which I am very interested in comes to mind and influences the composition of my piece along with its movement. Presently I am very interested in democracy of the body, so in essence I am not only placing value on how high one’s leg can go, but which movement can stem from the neck joint or even the scapulae. In the dance world, there is definitely this notion of dancers favoring certain body parts. I definitely fall victim to these norms myself, but I am trying to broaden my range as a choreographer by discovering what other body parts have to say. I also am interested in demonstrating social, political, and environmental themes through my choreographic work. Much like the dance work I created for my Honors College thesis, presented on April 9, 2014 titled “All For One and None for All”, touched upon the notion of “corporate sovereignty. ”I tried to demonstrate how voting with our dollars to control corporations at times becomes more valuable than voting for a candidate. I wanted to bring awareness to the idea that corporations can be the puppet masters of the candidates they sponsor.
What Are Your Long Range Goals
My long range goals in my “perfect world” would be to be a professor in a college dance program, work for an environmental NGO, and continue choreographing politically ideological changing work. My life’s path may take me down one avenue for a period of time and down another later on. I truly believe that all of my interests will merge into my life at various intervals though because LIFE IS INTERDISCIPLINARY. Regardless I am excited to see how my life path unfolds.
Do You Have Any Advice To Give To Your Fellow Students?
The advice which I would give to my fellow students would be to tell them not to hold back. If there is something you want to do, just “DO IT”. The faculty and staff at The College at Brockport are more than willing to help and support you to get where you want to go and enable you to study what you want to study. The College at Brockport has enabled me to create my own Environmental Policy major, double major with dance, study conservation biology on the coast of New Zealand, and intern at the international NGO that is World Wildlife Fund in Washington D.C. I honestly do not know if there is any other college in this country where I could have done ALL of these amazing things.
What Was The Best Thing About Doing The Washington Program
The best thing about doing the Washington D.C. Internship semester program was that I got a “test run” at being an adult. I was literally thrown into the deep end with my work, figuring out the metro, and navigating our nation’s capitol. I learned so much about my capabilities because I was thrown so far past what I thought my limits were. My motto was - Dive in, Live life, and Do Not Doubt Yourself! It was not always easy; however, by the end of my time at World Wildlife Fund I was a much more capable human being than I was when I walked through the door on my first day.