Professor Leo Garofalo travels the world to piece together the history of the African Diaspora in Peru’s southern highlands
“I found myself having my own thinking shaped, moved and influenced as I moved from session to session,” she continued. “I feel like I’ve been brought right into the very heart of the teaching/ learning experience, and that is a truly exhilarating space to be in.”
Shawnia Yon ’24, a dance and economics double major from Queens, New York, said the Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Value and Change Pathway gave her the opportunity to combine her interest in entrepreneurship with her passion for dance to explore how dancers navigate their careers.
An aspiring professional dancer since age 10, Yon says she was also exposed to economics at an early age.
“My father would have me read Enterprise Magazine for my fourth-grade reading logs,” she remembered.
This past summer, Yon was accepted into the contemporary and commercial dance intensive training program at Broadway Dance Center, a world-renowned performing arts center in New York City, where she trained under dancers and choreographers who have worked with superstars including Beyonce, J.Lo. and Usher. At Conn, she says she has “been fortunate to work with Conn alumni who are currently taking the industry by storm and hear about their journeys” navigating the dance industry.
“There's a joy that comes from researching and developing something you are interested in, and that is a beautiful experience,” she told members of the College community at a celebratory gathering in Shain Library at the end of the Symposium.
Bazeed Shahzad ’24, a studio art and computer science double major and Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology scholar, called his Connections journey “both inspiring and transformative.”
“I often say that the fusion of art and technology is like watching the worlds of vivid imagination and logic come together,” Shahzad said at the celebratory event. “When I first stepped into Conn, I had a burning passion for art, but it was here that I discovered the wonders of merging it with the analytical realm of computer science.”
Shahzad reflected on the resiliency of the members of his class, and recalled the challenges of beginning his first year at Connecticut College remotely from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “While there were days that felt overwhelming,” he recalled, “I was fortunate to be guided by some exceptional mentors during my time here.”
“Today, as I stand before you, the blend of excitement and pride is palpable. Walking around campus and seeing familiar faces share their achievements—it reinforces the shared spirit of exploration and discovery that embodies Conn,” he said.
Shahzad concluded his remarks with an anecdote about an experience that helped shape his senior integrative project, “don’t lose your head over it,” an animated short film he is creating with a classmate that explores the human psyche through digital art.
“Last semester, I undertook an independent study with Professor Nadav Assor in which I explored digital modeling, texturing, composition and storytelling in depth. It was this experience that laid the foundation for my final project. It pushed me to think bigger, to go beyond my perceived boundaries,” he said.
“And that’s the essence of what Conn offers: an environment to dream, to explore and to transcend.”