On Friday, February 21st in Ellis Ballroom, Juniata College’s English Department hosted “Lift Ev’ry Voice: Dancing in the Streets.” “Dancing in the Streets” comes from a song performed by Martha & the Vandellas. During the event, poems, songs, and a folktale by African American artists were read and performed by over a dozen students. Audre Lorde, Frederick Douglas, Maya Angelou, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper are just a few of the writers whose works were read.
“Lift Ev’ry Voice” is a program to celebrate African American writers. The event alternates yearly with “Unlock Your Voice,” which focuses on women writers. Both events were introduced by Dr. Judy Katz from Juniata’s English Department. Beginning with “Unlock Your Voice” in 1996, Dr. Katz introduced “Lift Ev’ry Voice” not long after. However, after many years with the programs, Dr. Katz has retired, marking this as her last “Lift Ev’ry Voice,” but also Dr. Amanda Page’s first.
Since I was involved with planning the event since the fall semester, it was great to see the ballroom decorated along the block party theme that we decided upon. A city skyline spread across the back wall of the ballroom, and strings of lights added an upbeat glow to the walls. Paper records and musical notes decorated the walls, and large posters depicting jazz, motown, hip-hop, and gospel music were dispersed around the room. All the readers did very well, and the event was a lot of fun. I’m sure that I will get involved next year, too!
One of the first things that anyone entering Juniata will learn is who Dr. Nagengast is. The first thing you will hear about him is that he is the scariest professor on campus. The second thing you will hear is that he is the reason why students change their POE from Politics to anything else. And the last thing you will hear is that he is the reason why students leave his classes crying.
My first encounter with Dr. Nagengast was on my first day of classes for my freshman year for a class called African Development. After taking a class with Nagengast and going on his study abroad trip to The Gambia, I now consider him to be one of the best professors anyone could be lucky to meet.
Going into the spring semester of my sophomore year, Nagengast gave me a list of classes to take for my POE in International Development. It just so happens that I am in every one of his classes this semester. At first, I was nervous that I would die of exposure to too much Nagengast. On Tuesdays, I am in class with Nagengast from 10:30am-3:00pm. Luckily, Nagengast likes me enough to let me be a little late for class so I can quickly grab lunch.
Many of my friends tell me I’m crazy for taking all of his classes at once, but I couldn’t imagine a better schedule. Taking Nagengast’s Intro to International Politics, African Politics, and Political and Cultural Modernization at the same time makes me appreciate Nagengast for all that he does. It’s so interesting to see how each of these classes can connect to each other. In every class that Nagengast teaches, he gives different lectures with the same greatness that could never put someone to sleep.
For anyone who has never taken a Nagengast class, I would highly recommend taking one. Don’t be scared, Dr. Nagengast is one of the best and kindest professors any student could ever meet, as long as you do the class reading of course.
During my college search I was looking for somewhere similar to what you seem to be looking for: a unique place with an engaging and challenging curriculum. I wanted to be certain that the school I attending would prepare me for my future and help me attain my career goals. I’m from Mooresville, North Carolina, but my search lead me all over, including Pennsylvania. After many campus visits and a lot of deliberation, I chose Juniata College.
If you are under the impression Juniata College is your “typical liberal arts school,” I assure you, it isn’t. I have talked with family, friends, and strangers about my experience at Juniata College, and have yet to hear of someone having a similar or better experience. In fact, the responses tend to fall more along the lines of, “Really!? I wish my school was like that.” Yet, the experience that has made me most appreciative of Juniata College was the one I have had applying to dental school.
I can’t say it wasn’t stressful, because it was – every single step of the way. But being at Juniata College made a huge difference. We have the most supportive staff I could imagine. Every single person that works here is determined to see you succeed. Not only that, but the other students here create an amazing tight knit community. From freshman year, my classmates and I have helped each other to persevere and succeed. We all support and encourage one another, and every one of us benefits. On top of that, Juniata College has a pre-health professions adviser that devotes almost all her time to figuring out what you need to get where you want to go.
As I was interviewing at dental schools this past fall, I talked with my fellow applicants about my experience. Every single one was impressed with the experience I had had at Juniata. Even better than that, every single program I interviewed at seemed to be pretty impressed as well, because I was accepted to all of them. I’ve decided to go to the UNC Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, one of the top schools in the country.
So now as I recall the pressure in choosing the “right” school, I am happy to say I have always been happy that I chose Juniata College. Many of my friends and peers here have had similar experiences: my roommate is also pre-dental and is planning to attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Many of my friends are pre-med and having been receiving acceptances all semester. There are about 30 pre-health students in my class, and I feel like I am constantly hearing from everyone about where they are deciding to go. Not just that, but I honestly think we have all really enjoyed our time at Juniata College, and while we may be anxious to pursue our respective professions, we all wish we could stay here just a bit longer because we have loved it so much.
I think this is in part because of how much Juniata College has to offer. Being at Juniata allowed me to be more than just a “pre-dental” student. In my time here I have participated in everything from Archery club to Habitat for Humanity. I swam for the varsity women’s swim team. I studied abroad in New Zealand and had an amazing experience. I have joined my peers in our awesome traditions (if you haven’t heard about Madrigal, Storming of the Arch, or Mountain Day they are definitely worth looking into!) In summary – I have had an amazing, unique, fulfilling experience at Juniata College, both socially and academically. I am so glad I chose to come here and couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.