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From Ursinus to Teach for America to Google

Olivia Hovick’13 reflects on her journey from Ursinus to Teach for America to Google. She says, “…all of these people and experiences helped me investigate and understand my identity, and begin to envision the kind of work I wanted to do.”

When I started looking at colleges, all I knew was that I did not want to go to Ursinus. It’s my dad’s alma mater, and I (of course!) needed to blaze my own trail. But after being convinced to take one tour—just to see if I liked the small school vibe—and then another, and then talking to the track coach (just because), and meeting with some folks from the English department, I realized Ursinus just might be the perfect place for me.

Olivia Hovick '13

Ursinus is a special place. Not just because of Reimert, Wismer hangs, or the graduation eve traditions, but because of the people. My classmates and professors from classes like Asian Diaspora Literature, Memoir Writing in Philadelphia, and Philosophy of Race—all of these people and experiences helped me investigate and understand my identity, and begin to envision the kind of work I wanted to do. It was the conversations I had with classmates, the research I did, and the books I read that led me to Teach For America (TFA) and wanting to have some kind of broader impact. Eventually, the work I did at TFA helped get me to Google. There’s a direct line from Ursinus to TFA to Google, and the work I get to do now.

Olivia Hovick '13

The people from Ursinus weren’t just a huge piece of my professional success, but also so much of my personal life. I had so much fun at Ursinus. I made my best friends sitting in the attic bedroom of a house on Main Street eating Swedish Fish after track practice freshman year. We studied together in Pfahler (an excellent place to write papers—not just for the STEM kids), danced all night at Phi Psi parties in Keigwin, and enjoyed living in 200 in Reimert. Ursinus gave me my best friend, and—in a roundabout way—my fiancé (another 2013 UC grad). I’m thankful for so much from my time at Ursinus, and deeply believe that it is an amazing place with incredible people and opportunities that can change your life. I know it changed mine.

Olivia Hovick '13

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