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Sophie, Student

365体育备用网址Sophie is a Summer Academy student from Brevard, North Carolina and took our course, 'Rap & Pop Culture.'

Why did you decide to study at The School of The New York Times?

365体育备用网址When I first heard about The SoNYT’s Summer Academy program on NPR, it instantly grabbed my attention. I’ve been reading The New York Times for a while now and have so much respect for the integrity and trustworthiness of the publication. I knew taking part in this program would be a great opportunity to meet new people and prepare for a future in journalism.

Which course did you take and why?

I took the Rap & Pop Culture course at Fordham University Lincoln Center campus. When I heard about The SoNYT’s Rap & Pop Culture course, it immediately grabbed my attention. The course description included all my main interests. I absolutely love and deeply care about rap music and pop culture analysis and was elated to find a program that would help me learn more about my favorite subjects in depth. Never before had I come across a program that encapsulated my passions in the way Summer Academy did.

If you had to name one thing that you learned from your time here, what is that one takeaway that will stay with you?

My main takeaway from this course was that I should always try to assess important questions and concepts from perspectives outside my own. Hearing what my peers had to say— especially if they are coming from distinctly different backgrounds— taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.

What was your favorite site visit?

365体育备用网址My favorite site I visited was on a class tour of influential sites in hip-hop’s history. During this tour, we visited a huge graffiti mural in Spanish Harlem that featured beautiful designs and signatures from some of my favorite artists. It was such a breathtaking visual representation of how deeply hip-hop is rooted in New York.

Who was the most memorable guest speaker?

365体育备用网址My most memorable guest speaker was Scott Paulson Bryant, co-founder of Vibe Magazine, renowned author, and English professor at Fordham University. I have loved his work ever since my interest in hip-hop and gender studies began. His extensive knowledge on my course’s subject matter helped me push myself in writing and focusing on my studies.

What were your faculty like?

My lead instructor, Mike King, is a professor at Harvard University and former DJ. Mike’s background in hip-hop as well as academia combined to make him a wonderful instructor. I immediately formed a connection with him. Mike truly cared about everyone in my course, always making us laugh, encouraging us to embrace our curiosity, and keeping an unfailing “no stupid questions” mentality. I looked forward to seeing him in class every day and frequently running into him on the elevator. Mike is a wonderful person and an equally excellent educator. I loved his class and learned invaluable lessons from him. As he would say, he “really did that.”

365体育备用网址My other instructor, Sujay Pandit, was a hilarious, caring, and incredibly knowledgeable teacher with a masters in performance studies from Harvard. Thanks to his teaching, I feel that I have a solid understanding of subjects that were previously foreign to me. Sujay, besides being an exceptional educator, was consistently there for me; whether he was advising me on planning for my future, chatting with me about our favorite feminist authors, or just laughing and “chopping it up” with me (more fun DC slang from Mike).

What does The New York Times mean to you?

365体育备用网址The New York Times has been, and will continue to be, a monumental and trailblazing news organization. Throughout its history, it has featured pieces from writers of all backgrounds and origins. The publication’s inclusive nature brings people together and invites its readers to think critically and respect others’ viewpoints. It motivates me to do the same with my own writing.

What does it mean to you to study in New York City?

365体育备用网址The two weeks at Summer Academy were my first in New York City. Briefly living in the very heart of the city ended up being a catalyst for some serious personal growth. My encounters with the culture, art, food, and people of the city will always stand out in my memory. I can’t wait to come back to the city, and experiencing it in a somewhat structured setting kept me safe and responsible.

What do you think you want to be when you grow up?

I want to work as a journalist in the future, covering subjects such as music, culture, and gender and class studies.

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