Q & A with Spring Commencement Speaker Brittany Strode
May 5, 2010 -- Western State College of Colorado (WSC) will confer bachelor’s degrees to 251 students at its 2010 Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 8. Eric Loewen, a 1983 WSC graduate, will present the commencement address. Brittany “Bistro” Strode, of Coal Creek Canyon, Colo., will present the student address.
Bistro is an English major who also is earning her teacher licensure. She will graduate magna cum laude. Among her biggest influences during her time at Western have been the local youth. She has been involved with both Gunnison High School and Gunnison Valley School, and hopes to continue to work with young students after graduation.
We caught up with Bistro for the following Q and A.
Q: How did you find out about Western State College?
A: I heard about Western from my childhood babysitter. I was looking for a small school in a small mountain town with good snowboarding. When I heard that was all here, I decided on Western.
Q: What do you love about Western and the Gunnison Valley community?
A: I love the time that my professors will personally devote to me. It sounds cliché, but I’ve felt like a person here and not a number. For the Gunnison Valley, I like how real people are here, and how active they are. The youth of this area have also been important to me, and how I’ve gotten to know them through my internships at Gunnison Valley School and Gunnison High School.
Q: The students at Gunnison Valley School have been particularly influential in your development as a student-teacher. What qualities do you see in them that are unique?
A: The students there are so open and encouraging. There is this family quality, the kids listen to me when I am in their classroom, and it’s my experience that normally in public schools you really have to work to create that exchange.
Q: Have there been professors that have really influenced your growth as a student?
A: Yes. Pat Magee, professor of biology, made me really excited about environmental issues because of his passion. He influenced me immediately during my freshman year to have a positive attitude about Western. Also Christy Jespersen, professor of English, she pushed me really hard in my writing, which made me try really hard in her classes. Because of her I feel competent in my writing.
Q: What can we expect to hear in your address on Saturday?
A: In short, to dream bigger than your own self, and fight to make those dreams a reality. We are a country based on dreams, and our dreams influence future generations.