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Co-Valedictorians: Dynamic Duo Atop Class of 2019

Vendi Pavic’s dream is to be a novelist.
By David Ertischek ’01

The undergraduate Class of 2019 has co-valedictorians: Carrie Cullen and Vendi Pavic. Both students have worked hard during their years at Emerson College, getting involved with school organizations and preparing themselves for their moves into the professional world. Cullen and Pavic fielded questions from Emerson Today about being co-valedictorians, their favorite classes, and what they’re doing after graduating.

Vendi Pavic holds an umbrella
Vendi Pavic is co-valedictorian for Emerson College’s class of 2019.
Carrie Cullen holds a baby
Carrie Cullen is co-valedictorian for Emerson College’s class of 2019.

Q: What is your hometown?

Pavic: I’m from Zagreb, Croatia.
Cullen: Jefferson, New Jersey
Q: What are your pronouns?
Pavic: I use she/her pronouns.
Cullen: She/her/hers
Q: What is your major?
Pavic: I’m a Writing, Literature, and Publishing major.
Cullen: Visual Media Arts
Q: What did you think when you learned you were co-valedictorian?
Pavic: Honestly? I was completely taken by surprise. I’ve always been a believer in taking advantage of every opportunity I have, especially as regards my education, but I never thought I’d be valedictorian in any capacity. It’s a great honor. The moment I got my bearings about me, I told my parents. They gave me every chance that I’ve had in life, and I’m so lucky to have two such supportive people in my life.
Cullen: First I thought, “We have those?” Then I spent the next hour calling my family and friends to thank them for their support while intermittently considering what precautions I should take to prevent tripping on stage.
Q: What were your favorite classes and/or Emerson College learning experiences?
Pavic: My favorite classes were always the ones where I “clicked” with my classmates and professors. It’s the people who make a learning environment inclusive, free of judgement, and interesting, and I was lucky enough that those three factors were a part of all of my classes. As far as professor highlights, I have to mention Adam Spry, David Emblidge, Ben Brooks, Dan Weaver, Lise Haines, Carol Ferrara, and Mary Potorti; all of them could lecture for four hours straight on paint drying and still keep me engaged and feeling like I’d learned a lot.
Cullen: I loved Personal Documentary, Creating Feminist Media, LA Underrepresented, and every environmental science class I took because they inspired me to take action and be more conscious about my work.

Q: What groups and organizations did you participate in while at Emerson?

Pavic: Since I had a job alongside going to school, I wasn’t as involved with as many Emerson organizations as I would have liked. I work remotely for a South Carolina-based medical provider called Housecalls MD. We provide at-home/on-site care to patients in the greater Charleston area, focusing primarily on geriatric patients. I did TA for Professor Emblidge during my last semester, and it was a wonderful experience seeing a class run “from the other side.”
Cullen: Working for the Office of Sustainability at Emerson was one of the biggest parts of my experience, as was my other job as digital organizer at Our Climate (a student activism organization). I was on the Food Advisory Board, treasurer of Earth Emerson, and a student organizer at the It’s All True documentary film festival on campus. In my free time I volunteered on a local farm and had a few internships at non-profit documentary groups.
Q: What are you most proud of during your time at Emerson College?
Pavic: I think I’m most proud of the progression of my writing. Being a novelist is the dream, and I know the workshop classes and the critiques from my peers helped me hone in on my strengths and improve upon my weaknesses as a writer.
Cullen: I’m proud of the people around me. It’s been a pleasure watching my classmates grow and I look forward to seeing everyone reach their dreams over the next few years.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
Pavic: After graduation I’ll be job hunting. If you know anyone looking for an editorial assistant, let me know!
Cullen: I am moving to Los Angeles to work for Bon Appetit Management Company, the food service company that services the Emerson dining hall, while doing some part-time advocacy work for some other non-profit groups. Bon Appetit is very focused on sustainably sourced food, so in this role I’ll be supporting college students organizing sustainability initiatives on West Coast campuses and helping integrate topics of food ethics into college curriculums. I also plan on catching up on all the sleep I missed in college!
Q: What will you miss most about Emerson College?
Pavic: I’ll miss the people the most, since they’re what made everything else as good as it was. I’m so lucky to have made so many talented, intelligent, wonderful friends and connections. I can’t wait to see what all they have in store for us.
Cullen: I’m going to miss my professors who were all so inspiring and supportive. I already miss being constantly exposed to new ideas, content, and challenges under their guidance.

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