by Lisa Harding
Leonora Biagioni says
its important to study what you love. She started out studying physics,
planning a career in astronomy, but she was miserable and she was
failing two of her courses.
The native Montrealer had entered the physics program from Marianopolis
College because she felt her only career options were science or commerce.
Luckily, she needed an elective. Her physics advisor recommended computing
languages, but she had other ideas. If it was going to be an elective,
it was going to be something I enjoyed. So Biagioni signed up for
an introductory archaeology course and her life changed. That
first day in archaeology, it just clicked right away. I just sat there
and went, wow, this is what I want.
A month later, she had transferred her major to classics. Though she finished
her physics courses and ended up failing two of them, she was scoring
all As in her new major. I obviously had touched down in the field
I wanted to be in, Biagioni said. Shes graduating this month
in honours archaeology, and plans on doing her masters in archaeology
at the University of Western Ontario or Queens, after working for
a year in Montreal.
Catherine Vallejo, the chair of the Department of Classics, Modern Languages
and Linguistics (CMLL), says many students dont find their chosen
field right away. I think Leonoras story is not untypical
of our department and possibly this university. We give students a chance
to choose what they would be good at.
Barbara Seasholtz is one of this years Arts and Science undergraduate
scholars, placing in the top 100 of the Faculty, but like Biagioni, she
hasnt always found it easy. From Pennsylvania with a previous degree
in language studies, Seasholtz was in her final year of a specialization
in Spanish when the Sept. 11 event happened in New York. For about
a month or more, I had serious problems concentrating on my schoolwork,
and the first week I couldnt even break away from the constant news
updates to go to class. I wanted to go home and help in some way, but
knew that was impossible, Seasholtz said.
Her parents lived close to the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant,
where military personnel had moved in for protection. Since my parents
were older, I was very concerned for their safety. It was a crazy time
A month later, Seasholtz visited the U.S. As soon as I arrived at
the border, I saw a change, and when I crossed the border, the country
didnt feel the same. But I also saw that people werent scared,
and that helped me get back on track.
Vallejo said that Seasholtz showed great strength of character.
Even through difficult times she was able to help people who needed her,
and managed to come out on top. Not only did she graduate with an
approximate 4.15 GPA, Seasholtz continued as president of the Hispanic
Seasholtz found her way to Concordia while buying bagels while
she was teaching English in Barcelona, Spain. I found out a bagel
store (the first ever) had just opened up. I got to speaking with the
owner, and her alma mater was Concordia. At her insistence, I researched
it, and really liked what I saw.
At the end of June, Seasholtz begins Concordias one-year journalism
graduate diploma program. She hopes to return to Spain or Italy combining
her language, teaching and journalistic skills.