Meet Emily Hershman
Minors: History and Women’s and Gender Studies
Hometown: Leesburg, Va.
Emily’s parents met at Wake Forest in the late sixties, so growing up she heard stories about the faculty members with whom they were close. “As I look back on my own experience at Wake and reflect on the dozens of professors who’ve inspired and encouraged me, I’ve realized that student-faculty interaction is critical to a liberal arts education and is an enduring value across generations.” In the fall, Emily will be a University Presidential Fellow in the English doctoral department at the University of Notre Dame.
What were you like as a first-year student?
I was terrified when I first arrived on campus. I was scared that I might not be successful in making the transition to college, either academically or socially. But I’ve done things that I couldn’t have imagined four years ago: published articles, written and orally defended an honors thesis, studied abroad at Oxford. That I’ve been able to accomplish these feats is testimony to Wake’s supportive academic environment.
Were you nervous about taking required courses outside your field of study?
I was worried when I signed up for “Everyday Chemistry” this semester. Even though it was an introductory course, it had been years since high school chemistry. But I learned more than I thought I would about the background of air pollution and global warming, nutritional chemistry, and the science behind licit and illicit drugs.
What was your favorite volunteer opportunity?
I’ve enjoyed those that assist or cooperate with the local community, such as Project Pumpkin. These events represent Wake Forest’s dedication to service and address poverty and oppression in our own backyard.
What was it like writing an English honors thesis?
I’ve spent most of my senior year working on it! Since I’m going to graduate school for English, the ability to conduct independent research on a challenging topic has been invaluable.
It’s hard to choose from so many. I think my favorite was climbing to the top of Wait Chapel on my 21st birthday with my roommate. In terms of academic achievement: my induction into Phi Beta Kappa, receiving the H. Broadus Jones Memorial Scholarship from the English department, becoming a Mullen Scholar—these were incredible. Scholastic dedication and achievement are critical to my core values.
Your best advice for freshmen?
Talk with your professors, attend the Secrest Artist Series and other cultural events, take courses that interest and inspire you.