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Class of 2023 Snapshot: School of the Arts and Marlboro Institute

Each year, Emerson Today reaches out to graduating seniors from across the College and asks them the same seven questions. Here are some answers from members of School of the Art’s and the Marlboro Institute’s Class of 2023. Check out previous answers from the School of Communication.:

Pranit Chand

Pranit Chand looking dapper
Pranit Chand (Courtesy photo)

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Data Science and Economics
Minor (if applicable): Entrepreneurship

What is your favorite place around campus, and why?

If you walk with me during class transitions when Boylston Street is busy, chances are I’ll say “hello” to at least two people, usually more, but not less. This is probably my favorite place on campus because I get to see so many people and briefly meet with them in passing. My record is 12 people in 40 seconds. 

What will you miss most about your time at Emerson?

For me it’s going to be the amazing individuals I have met at Emerson. I always say that I have been very blessed to come to Emerson at a time where I could meet some exceptional student leaders. Individuals who were creating really tangible changes here on campus through various student organizations. They walked so that I could run.

I hope I have contributed enough to this institution to come back and observe a legacy that was handed to me, as the Student Government president, as a Dean’s Fellow, and as an RA and ISPM. I’ll miss being able to engage in life-changing discourse with these amazing individuals. 

Describe your senior year in three words:

Humbling, Nostalgic, Unconventional

What was your favorite class, and why?

I could say every single economics class I have taken is my favorite, including Hollywood Economics and Behavioral Economics. However, I took this class on cartography and it really changed my perspective on how the world looks, literally. So, I would say it was probably my favorite.

What song will forever remind you of your time at Emerson?

“Stay Open” by Diplo & Mø. 

What advice would you give your first-year self?

First-year me did not know what hit him. From merging with another college, going through a global pandemic, and moving your entire life to a new city, first-year college for me was super interesting. I would say that believe in yourself. Persevere when it gets tough, because the rewards you will reap will be even better.  

When you look back on your college experience, what are you most proud of?

I am one of the few students from Nepal to have graduated from Emerson.The only student to graduate from undergraduate studies at Emerson. On top of that, I believe I might also be one of the few students ever from Nepal to become the president of student government at a higher education institution in the United States.

Looking back, I have done so much, from winning the second prize at E3 Expo, to building a community of Marlboro students, to co-founding the affinity organization for South Asian students. All of it was deeply rooted in my desire to make things better for myself, but at the same time make it better for the community around me. Might sound very altruistic of me, but none of these achievements would mean anything to me if it didn’t make an impact on the community I am representing. 

What’s next (or what do you hope is next)?

I will be going to grad school!

Sisel Gelman Montero

Sisel Gelman Montero (Courtesy photo)

Hometown: I was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. After high school, I moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, to write my first novel. Since then I’ve also briefly lived in California, the Netherlands (Kasteel Well), and obviously, Boston. 

Major: Creative Writing

Minor: Philosophy and the Honors Program. 

What is your favorite place around campus, and why? 

Lately, I’ve been LOVING the photo darkroom on the 5th floor of Ansin. I didn’t know it existed until last semester! It is such an awesome space for Emerson students interested in photography to test the limit of their creativity, their photo negatives, and their patience. It’s such an awesome spot to listen to some music while developing film or using the enlargers to see those pictures come to life on photo-sensitive paper. 

What will you miss most about your time at Emerson?

The people. A place’s community is its most important asset. At Emerson, I’ve met some of the most wonderful, creative minds: my friends, my peers, my professors, and other pro-staff members. These were people who saw potential in me and my crazy ideas…and they gave me all the support in the world to pursue these dreams. I’ll miss my friends, collaborating with other writers and photographers for campus magazines, and digging deep into a topic with my professors. Thank you so much to everyone for being so patient and kind! 

Describe your senior year in three words:

A magical sunset. (I view sunsets as transition moments, and senior year was certainly a magical transition that has taught me to cherish even the most mundane parts of life.) 

What was your favorite class, and why?

I did not have a single bad class at Emerson. I loved every single class I took these last four years for different reasons. This year, I especially loved taking the Art of Poetry with Peter Shippy. It was such a comprehensive overview of all types of poetry (from the most ancient to the most modern)…and my final project for that class, a poetry anthology, became the first issue of my very own magazine: SIEVA Magazine

What song will forever remind you of your time at Emerson?

I went to Kasteel Well during the fall of 2021 (we were the first cohort after COVID-19) and we’d have a lot of karaoke nights. Nothing will ever top the feeling of my entire cohort unanimously singing “Someone Like You” by Adele on our very last night as my best friend played the piano and I played the drums. We were together, and that was all that mattered. 

What advice would you give your first-year self?

Take risks. These are the years to make mistakes, find new passions, outgrow friends and find new friends, stay up late, stay up late again but this time for the right reasons, and laugh…laugh at the good moments and throughout the troubles.

There is no reason to take college so seriously. It is a tool for your growth, so take advantage of the opportunities it offers to become more uniquely you as a person, as a friend, and as a leader. And write. Write a lot, even if sometimes you have to write poorly or in a rush. You are going to look back at these years with so much love, but only because you made them the best they could be. 

When you reflect on your college experience, what are you most proud of?

Coincidentally, I’ve been asked this question a number of times this semester. I am immensely proud of all the work I put into college. It was not easy to write all those essays and projects. But most of all, I am honored to have been trusted with building a community. I’ve told it through the lens of the following story: 

My sophomore year, I won the Student Distinction Award at the EVVYs. My writing was also nominated, but I lost both the fiction and the poetry section. I felt like a failure for having put in so much love into those stories and poems, and still having lost. My father then revealed that the EVVYs had received over two hours of footage from friends all over the world congratulating me for the Student Distinction Award—an award that honored my work as Class President, Board of Trustees Representative, and a [soon]-to-be Resident Assistant. That was the moment I realized that the most powerful thing I could be was a kind person. My strength came from being a leader that brings the best out of other people. Since then, I’ve kept focusing on building communities wherever I go.

So yes, I’m proud of my 4.0, but I am more touched by my job as a campus leader, a club member, and a friend. 

What’s next (or what do you hope is next)?

I will be pursuing a double master’s! I will be simultaneously studying for my MA at the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, and my MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I hope Vermont and Chicago are ready because a whirlwind of an Emersonian is headed their way! 

Nina Maria Khosla

Nina Maria Khosla
Nina Maria Khosla (Courtesy photo)

Hometown: La Jolla, California
Major: Comedic Arts
Minor: African American Studies

What is your favorite place around campus, and why?

I love the Lion’s Den! It’s a great place for me to get work done and catch up with friends. Also the egg and cheese on a croissant is probably my favorite food ever. And I love watching the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts they play on the projector.

What will you miss most about your time at Emerson?

I’ll definitely miss being part of the women’s lacrosse team the most. I played all four years and I made so many friends and developed a lot of confidence from lacrosse, and the memories I made with my teammates are some of my favorite parts of Emerson. 

Describe your senior year in three words:

 Exciting. Entertaining. Memorable

What was your favorite class, and why?

Comedy Writers Room with Manny Basanese has been my favorite class. We spent the semester in groups developing and writing an original comedy pilot. Working with my group gave me a lot of experience in what it takes to come up with an idea, flesh it out, write outlines, and turn those outlines into a finished script. It also helped me take constructive criticism when we gave notes, and it taught me how to implement changes from notes while still keeping the integrity of the script. 

What song will forever remind you of your time at Emerson?

“Tia Tamera” by Doja Cat ft. Rico Nasty. Amazing song. 

What advice would you give your first-year self?

I would tell myself to relax. I spent a long time trying to impress people and make people think I deserved to be at Emerson, and all it did was make it look like I was trying too hard. Once I settled into college and acted like myself, I made friends who were much more genuine than the ones I had before.

I would tell myself to pursue avenues I’m interested in, no matter my experience levels. I would also tell myself to be more willing to try new things and branch out more willingly, since the experiences I had stepping out of my comfort zone were some of the best parts of my Emerson experience. 

When you look back on your college experience, what are you most proud of?

Becoming co-chair of my comedy troupe, Flawed Comedy. When I came to Emerson, I quickly realized I had a lot less experience than other people, and it felt very disheartening to be so far behind everyone else. I joined Flawed Comedy, and from there my comedic voice was able to really develop. Flawed has instilled a sense of confidence in myself and my comedic abilities, and being able to perform with my troupe has always made me proud of how much we’ve accomplished despite not being run the same way as the other troupes.

What’s next (or what do you hope is next)?

I’m going to move to LA and pursue TV writing. My goal is to one day write for a sitcom.

Oliver Schaffer

Oliver Schaffer
Oliver Schaffer (Courtesy photo)

Hometown: Clifton Park, New York
Major: Media Arts Production
Minor: Psychology 

What is your favorite place around campus, and why?

172 is my favorite place around campus! I’ve spent so much time there, whether it be for organizations or just to hang out with friends. The Lion’s Den would be a close second though!

What will you miss most about your time at Emerson?

The people and community! Everyone is so kind, creative, and passionate. 

Describe your senior year in three words:

Fast-paced, fun, energetic

What was your favorite class, and why?

My BFA thesis film class with Cristina Cornejo and Jesse Epstein was one of my favorite classes at Emerson. I learned so many invaluable things and met so many talented people. I also loved my feminist film class with Colleen Kelly! I learned so much about how film can incorporate such deep, important, themes.

What song will forever remind you of your time at Emerson?

“What’s Up Danger” [by Blackway & Black Caviar] from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. It’s a silly choice, but I listened to it all the time throughout all four years!

What advice would you give your first-year self?

It’s OK to take a break, listen to your gut, and you don’t have to be perfect.

When you look back on your college experience, what are you most proud of?

I’m really proud of all the work Access: the Student Disability Union did! Other than that, either when the organization I was a part of (Frames Per Second) won an Emerson Recognition Award, or when my film Scouts was shown at the United Nations!

What’s next (or what do you hope is next)?

Making art I can be proud of! I would love to go to graduate school and move to LA, but my ultimate plan is to keep creating. 

Emeline Shepard

Emeline Shepard
Emeline Shepard (Courtesy photo)

Hometown:  Charlottesville, Virginia 
Major: Theatre BFA
Minor:  Nonprofit Communications 

What is your favorite place around campus, and why? 

I love the Esplanade! Being in theatre, I think it’s important to spend time outside when I can. I love either walking around or bringing a book with me. 

What will you miss most about your time at Emerson? 

I’ll miss having the opportunity to watch SO many amazing performances! 

Describe your senior year in three words:

Busy, happy, engaging

What was your favorite class, and why? 

My favorite class was Burning Down the House with P. Carl. His class was so engaging and the discussions we had were so important to being in the world of theatre today. I learned so much about what I find important as a theatre artist, as well as how to create a community in a classroom. 

What song will forever remind you of your time at Emerson?

“Good Days” by SZA.

What advice would you give your first-year self? 

I transferred to Emerson at the start of my sophomore year,  I’d remind myself that everyone’s path looks different, and there’s no one way to do things. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and in its own time. 

When you look back on your college experience, what are you most proud of?

 I’m most proud of balancing being involved on campus, making incredible friends, and maintaining grades I’m proud of. I was able to work with so many student theatre organizations, which taught me so much about leadership and was such an amazing resource in my education. As I transferred to Emerson, I hoped for all of these things, and I’m so happy that I was able to work towards them. 

What’s next (or what do you hope is next)?

I’m pursuing arts administration!

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