Interviews

Christian Lopez

Boston College ’14, Fresh Ink ’11

 How did you decide to write about Francisco and his immigration story?

I decided to write about my uncle, Francisco, because I wanted to learn more about my own background, especially the immigration stories within my own family. I know that my uncle was one of the first in my family to immigrate to the United States, even before my own two parents, so I wanted to document his story. Moreover, my uncle is one of the most respected members of our family because of his commitment to his family and for being a good role model to the men in our family.

What was your favorite course you took at BC? And why?

My favorite course at Boston College was EC275: Economic Development – Experience of Development with Professor McGowan because I wanted to learn about economic development through a business lens. The fact that my own family immigrated from El Salvador and that I was able to go back as part of a Boston College class also added a very unique perspective.

How was your transition from Boston College to postgraduate life?

I was fortunate enough to have two jobs when I graduated Boston College and so my transition was relatively smooth. The summer of graduation I worked at Boston College via the Options Through Education program which allowed me to continue working with incoming, current, and alumni students. Once the program concluded I began working as a management consultant at PwC. I thought the time I spent working at Boston College before PwC allowed me to ease myself into the “real world.”

Who is your favorite writer? (in any genre)

My favorite writer at the moment is Muhammad Yunus because he is a proponent in the field of economic development. He just released a new book called A World with Three Zeroes, and I enjoy the framework which he incites the reader to use when thinking about the world. He has been a big influence on my career.


Amy Raposa

Boston College ’12 & ’14, Fresh Ink ’09 

Why did you decide to submit your work to Fresh Ink?

I’m not entirely sure why I submitted the essay—I’m pretty sure it was part of our freshman writing seminar assignment, and she told us she would be submitting them to the Fresh Ink publication. I remember getting a copy of it at the end.

What activities were you involved during your time at BC? Why were they meaningful to you?

During my time at BC I was involved with the freshman nursing seminar program and the Big Sisters program though the Women’s Resource Center. Both programs involved mentoring freshman students and being a support for them during their first year at BC and beyond. I was lucky enough to have a “big sister” through the WRC as a freshman and she taught me so much about life at BC and really helped with the transition. She became a friend who I would keep in touch with over the 4 years and she even gave me guidance through grad school. I wanted to return the favor for other women coming to BC. I had a few “little sisters” over the years and was on the Advisory Council for the program. The freshman nursing program was similar in that I would help run a group of freshman nursing students and give guidance and support regarding nursing classes specifically but also all aspects of being at BC. It was a really fulfilling activity to get involved with, and I met a lot of great people along the way.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

I currently work as a nurse practitioner in a pediatric primary care office. First, I absolutely love the people I work with. It is an incredibly supportive group and truly feels like a family. Of course, the patients and families are a great part, especially working with some of the happiest babies and helping new parents care for them. Seeing the patients grow up at each visit from newborns to infants and toddlers is very special, and it is a privilege to be a part of their care over the course of childhood into adulthood.

Who is your favorite writer? (in any genre)

I really love Mary Oliver and her works for realistic viewpoints on life and how much nature she incorporates into her works. And she’s not afraid to talk about death! Also, Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, JK Rowling and Shel Silverstein all have special places in my heart from childhood memories to now.


 

Brysen Boyd

Boston College ’17, Fresh Ink ’13


What advice do you have for freshmen taking first year writing seminar?

Take full advantage of the variety of essays you can write. Professors give you an opportunity to explore your writing voice, so go as far as you want with that and most professors will be very appreciative.

What was your major at Boston College? Why did you choose to study that? 

English. Since I was 5, I’ve wanted to be a TV writer, and so when I got to college and found I love writing plays and creative nonfiction, English fit perfectly with that.

How has your transition from Boston College to postgraduate life been so far?

I am currently at Columbia for an MFA program, so I wouldn’t say I’m very postgrad yet, but it’s been good. Expensive on food and stuff though.

Who is your favorite writer? (in any genre)

I read a lot of drama and nonfiction, but I draw most of my inspiration actually from pop music like Janet, Lorde, and Taylor.


Meghan Hornblower

Boston College ’17, Fresh Ink ’13

What did it mean to you to be published in Fresh Ink as a freshman?

If I remember correctly, I heard I was accepted into Fresh Ink at the end of freshman year, months after my Freshman Writing Seminar had ended. I had completely forgotten about my essay, so it was definitely a surprise for me to hear I had been accepted! I felt honored and humbled to be chosen. After all, I do remember spending a fair amount of time and research on it!

What was your favorite course you took at BC? Why was this your favorite?

So many to choose from! I think my favorite class at BC was either Race, Class, and Gender with sociology professor Shawn McGuffey or Stage Combat and Shakespeare Acting with guest theatre professors (Monan Professors of the Arts) Tina Packer, Jason Asprey, and Doug Seldin (from Shakespeare & Company out in the Berkshires).

I had never taken a sociology class before, and taking McGuffey’s class my freshman fall altered my perspective on people and how we socially construct our views on others and how those views supposedly differentiate us. After taking that class, I was really close to switching my major to Sociology, but decided on English instead. My favorite English class was hands-down Professor Allison Adair’s Poetics of Rap class. I had never considered the study of poetry behind rap music before. It was fascinating! I loved how listening to music was our homework too.

While at BC, I was also a Theatre major and fully took advantage of the classes the Theatre Department had to offer. Stage Combat was a one-time class offered my sophomore fall. It aided me in my exploration of physical theatre and how fights onstage can be realistically executed without hurting your scene partner. I loved the strength it gave me both physically and mentally. Plus, being able to fight with a broadsword or rapier was pretty cool.

How has your transition from Boston College to postgraduate life been so far?

My transition from BC to postgrad life hasn’t been all that bad! I’ve realized that I actually enjoy adulthood! I’ve joked with some of my BC friends about this, but as hard as “adulting” is, I’ve really enjoyed not having to do homework or study for exams. Instead, I get to go home and memorize audition sides and monologues, or watch Netflix and hang out with my family and friends in my spare time.

I’m pursuing a professional acting career, which isn’t as clear-cut a path as some of my non-actor friends have chosen. Instead of having a traditional 9-5 job, I currently have 4 jobs, which is definitely a little crazy! I’m acting in two educational Shakespeare productions (Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth) and touring those to local high schools with the Bay Colony Shakespeare Company. I’m also doing some weekend temp work as an administrative assistant with a high-profile property management firm downtown and doing some catering work on the side. It’s a busy, hectic lifestyle but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Who is your favorite writer? (in any genre)

J.K. Rowling. She’s amazing. I grew up with Harry Potter and I’m an avid fan. On a more serious note, though, I absolutely love the work of playwrights Eric Bogosian, Nick Payne, Polly Stenham, and Sarah Ruhl.


8 April 2016: Professor Brian Zimmerman

Professor Brian Zimmerman has been teaching at Boston College since the fall of 2011, and is one of the many beloved Freshman Writing Seminar Professors. His class last semester was organized around the following question: ‘How do networks inform who I am and who I become?’ The networks studied in class included culture, language and digital and physical space, among others.

For any students hoping to improve their writing, from new FWS students to aspiring writers, here are some tips that from Professor Zimmerman to help your writing stand out!

Transitioning from high-school writing to college-level writing:

While high-school writing is extremely formulaic, and has to be, because teachers must ‘teach to the test,’ some of the best writing usually occurs when the end is not yet known. Structuring an essay around an intriguing question, something you personally wish to know more about, can be an interesting way to get around the formulaic method of reaching a known end.

Personal stakes:

Finding a unique angle or including personal stakes in an assignment can be a useful way to make your writing stand out, especially because you’re more likely to engage in the writing process and product. An essay you don’t want to write will only create an essay no one wants to read. Its best to be excited and motivated about one’s work; including personal stakes can help get you there. It is important to disengage from the notion of ‘my professor is asking me to do something’ and really own and engage with the paper.

Revision:

Many students begin with an outline, the problem with this is the assumption that before they start to write, they know what they are going to say, learning nothing in the process. Much of the best writing reflects the writing process – it allows the form to be influenced by learning and reflection that occurs.

Writing is a process of learning. For this reason, it can be incredibly beneficial to begin from a point of curiosity that propels one towards a point of knowledge.

General Advice for Boston College: 

Prof. Zimmerman encourages students to start taking courses that help them develop a sense of their own strengths and interest. Though there is a prevalent anxiety to get the core out of the way, doing so defeats the purpose of a liberal arts university – students should seek various types of courses that can help them develop a sense of who they want to become, instead of trying to simply get classes ‘out of the way’.


“Naomi” author of “Naam,” Fresh Ink Archives, 2010.


“Sarah” author of “Duty, Honor, Country,” Fresh Ink Archives, 2010.