Tufts University

Four Years,
Infinite Possibilities

The evolution of a Tufts undergraduate.

Spring 2007: One year down

Fall 2006: The beginning | Spring 2008: The halfway point

As their first year drew to a close, we checked in with our students about their time at Tufts so far. Below are excerpts from those conversations touching on the key themes.


Pacific Tuyishime came to Tufts from Rwanda intending to major in engineering to gain skills to help rebuild his war-torn country. This semester, he embarked on some academic soul-searching.

This was sort of a deciding semester for me in terms of my major and my career. After my first semester, I was curious to see if engineering is what I really want to do. I decided to use this semester to experiment and try out more things to see if I was maybe a liberal arts person. So I did Intro to International Relations and I did languages and an Ex College course. I took one science, and that helped me understand which one of the two was better for me. At the end of the day, I think I'm an engineering person. That's what I've been doing since high school. Though I enjoy things like Intro to International Relations, I feel more comfortable doing chemistry homework than writing an IR paper, so I'm sticking with engineering.

Andrew Mulherkar, a dual-degree student at Tufts and the New England Conservatory, is balancing his development as a jazz saxophonist with a growing interest in environmental issues, complemented by an on-campus internship.

The most interesting connection that I've seen [in my classes] is between politics and environmental issues. Over winter break, I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" and, more recently, I saw "Who Killed the Electric Car." I've been really getting into some environmental issues like global warming, and in my econ class, my professor, George Norman, just gave a lecture on how the government can regulate pollution through taxes…. What I joined in January is Tufts Recycles, to facilitate the collection of recycle bins and recycling material, and also to promote this collegiate recycling competition called RecycleMania. My friend makes fun of me and calls me a "Recycle Maniac."

Student Activities

Jane Song, who came to Tufts from South Korea, added to her role as a charter member of the student group Liberty North Korea by getting involved in additional international and service activities.

We [Liberty North Korea] haven't been able to do much because this is our first year as a club, but we are definitely planning big activities for next year. This is kind of transition time, so I think we're just trying to get our roots into the Tufts campus…. I've been doing more PANGEA [a student group focused on raising awareness of global issues] things. Tonight I'm sleeping outside for the symbolic refugee camp [a fundraiser for Mapendo International, a humanitarian assistance organization]…I love the international perspective at Tufts. I think my interaction with all the international students, as well as American students from all over the place, is really enriching my experience here…I am currently in Education for Active Citizenship class, a prerequisite for the Tisch Scholars Program that I will start next year. And beginning next year, I will become a Tisch Scholar and develop my own projects.

Shea Sullivan, a pre-med student from California, is indulging her love for music and theater by getting more involved in performance groups both on and off campus.

I'm in three bands. One is outside of school, but within the Tufts community, and we're playing gypsy jazz music. And then I'm in two jazz ensembles. It's a little stressful, but I'm glad to be in both of them…I am in Major: Undecided, which is the sketch comedy group here. I have a sketch that was voted into the big show, so I have to direct that. I have to audition people, which is really exciting. And then I'll be in part of the show in other people's sketches. That, of course, falls at the same time as the other band performances, so I'm not looking forward to that week, but I am at the same time.

Summer Plans

Edna Gonzalez has been busy with the Leonard Carmichael Society, as well as student groups for immigrants' rights and female Latin American students. She is keeping up the pace over the summer.

My first plan is to head to the Philippines to do research on child welfare because my mentor lives there, and then come back to the states in Las Vegas and either do an internship with the Mexican Consulate or with Senator Harry Reid. The other option would be to go study abroad in Mexico City at the Iberoamericana University and to study U.S.-Mexico relations while I'm there.

Brittany Cahoon, a likely economics major, is splitting her summer between an out-of-state job and spending time with family here in Massachusetts.

I'm going to be working as a camp counselor at the Science Center in Orlando, so that should be fun. Then I'm going to come back and spend vacation time in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Fall 2006: The beginning | Spring 2008: The halfway point

Interviews by Carly Burdick, Class of 2009

This story originally ran on May. 21, 2007.