Meet Members of the 2020 Class

Due to conditions beyond anyone’s control, the seats in the Chapel of the Resurrection may be empty this spring, but our senior students have always filled Valparaiso University with their inspiring spirit and search for greater knowledge during their time on campus. Therefore, the Department of English wishes to honor our Class of 2020. We celebrate all of our graduates, and we thank the following seniors for taking a few moments at the close of their busy final semester to share photos, as well as statements with some favorite memories or quotes. Congratulations!

I’m Courtney Aguilera and I’m finally graduating after leaving my college education behind to follow my husband in the military. (Graduating high school in 2005). I’m graduating with a major in English and a minor in Communications. My favorite moment at VU is Professor Mark Wagenaar’s midterm and his coffee creamer. I will forever be grateful for all of my memories and opportunities I had while at VU! Here’s to the quarantined class of 2020! 

Haley Brewer is an English major with minors in creative writing and communications from Portage, IN. While at Valpo, she served as the Arts & Entertainment Editor for The Torch and the Editor-in-Chief of the Lighter. Her favorite memories at Valpo were all the Torch nights in Schnabel, the Lighter Coffeehouses, and the Literary Society Writing Group. She’ll miss the rice bowls and late-night meetings the most. Her favorite inspiring quotation: “If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”―Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Isabel Coffey, Creative Writing major, Phoenix, AZ. When I think of Valpo English, a lot of moments come to mind—the final discussion and tea party in Medieval Lit with Dr. Sévère, time spent with Professor Burow-Flak discussing doomed love in banned novels, and tearing up reading Anne Lamott in Chelsea Wagenaar’s creative nonfiction class (the only one I remember from my semester with mono). But these are the moments that made up the years, and if I had to choose a memory to illustrate the best of all of this, I’d choose the February 2020 Cabaret, where the department came together to read and sing and celebrate the convergence of the academic and the playful. Being emcee at my senior cabaret is a memory I will not soon let go of. Favorite quote: “A bad map is worse than no map at all for it engendered in the traveler a false confidence and might easily cause him to set aside these instincts which would otherwise guide him if he would but place himself in their care. He said that to follow a false map was to invite disaster. He gestured at the sketching in the dirt. As if to invite them to behold its futility. The second man on the bench nodded his agreement in this and said that the map in question was a folly and that the dogs in the street would piss upon it.”—Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2)

My name is Cheyenne Davey. I’m an English and Communication double major. I’m from Valparaiso. One of my favorite memories was going to see Nell Gwynn in Chicago with Professor Burow-Flak. I had never been to a play before and it was such a blast riding to Chicago in a limo, getting to know the class more, and seeing an incredible play. I’ll forever cherish that memory. A quote that inspires me every day is “Darling you’ll be okay” from Pierce the Veil. It’s a perfect reminder that everything will be okay and to keep moving forward. 

My name is Courtney Earl and I am from Valparaiso, IN, majoring in creative writing. My favorite memory is the time I spent on e-board as membership chair for Sigma Tau Delta. A quote that inspires me is from Ray Bradbury: “Write only what you love, and love what you write.”

Zoe Fischer is a Professional Writing, Psychology, and Humanities major from Joliet, Illinois. She has done lots of writing over her time at Valpo in her majors and with Christ College. But, one of her favorite memories over the years is writing curriculum, grading papers, and leading classes as a TA for Christ College first-years. A quote that inspires Zoe is “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”—Carrie Fisher

Emma Hecht is a creative writing & humanities major and computer science minor from Battle Creek, MI. She loves that her creative writing senior seminar group took on a second semester of reading each other’s work. (S/O to the Literary Society!!) She feels comforted by Michael Scott’s “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going” because this often happens to her when she sits down to write.

Jesse Hershberger is an English Literature major from Madison, WI. Her favorite memory has been serving as the Vice-President for Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honors Society) and watching the organization grow over the past year. She especially enjoyed being able to read at Cabaret. A quotation that motivates her is one that she has clung to since childhood: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better—it’s not” (Dr. Seuss). 

Megan Jones, Crown Point, IN, Public Relations & Professional Writing double major. Favorite quote: “Verso L’Alto: To the heights” 

Hayley Kim, Major: English; Hometown: Highland, IN. Favorite Memory: I always love the Lighter coffeehouses, getting to hear and see the art of my peers, seeing the final magazine, and spending time with Valpo’s creative community. Motivational Quote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”—J R R Tolkien

Demi Marshall, Major: Literature; Hometown: Valparaiso, IN. Favorite memory: meeting Alexis Mentis when I switched my major to English. We quickly became best friends and got to be roommates our senior year! Favorite quote: “I don’t like to doze by the fire. I like adventures, and I’m going to find some.”—Little Women

Alexis Mentis, Literature and Creative Writing; Greentown, IN. Favorite memory: my favorite memory includes being able to attend every Books and Coffee event this semester with Demi Marshall. We had the honor of introducing Professor Ruff at the last event, and I’ll never forget how the microphones wouldn’t work so we had to improvise! It’s a memory that will always make me laugh and smile! Quote that motivates me: “My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”—Maya Angelou

Maddie Meyer, Area of study: English & Secondary Education; Hometown: Crown Point, IN. Favorite memory: visiting the Notre Dame archives with ENGL-309. An inspirational quote that motivates me: “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”—Harper Lee

Emily Neuharth, Creative Writing & Humanities majors; Wheaton, IL. Favorite memories: all of the The Lighter‘s Coffeehouses—seeing (and holding!) the published book for the first time and celebrating Valpo’s creative community with loved ones. Favorite quote: “Art allows you to imbue the truth with a sort of magic…so it can infiltrate the psyches of more people, including those who don’t believe the same things as you.”—Wangechi Mutu

Mahika Patel, English Literature; Michigan City, IN. Favorite memory: walking around campus at night with my friends and having long and deep conversations! Favorite quote: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Kylie Sterling, I grew up in Palos Heights, IL. I always loved reading and writing stories, especially fantasy, and have majored in Creative Writing here at Valpo (along with French, and minors in Studio Arts and Humanities). I’m aiming to become a published author, though I’m also interested in editing and design. Favorite memory: meeting my future best friend at Christ College, and immediately bonding over Star Wars. Favorite quote: “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”—The Doctor

Jaiden (Satoski) Triscik, English major and education minor. My hometown is Valparaiso, Indiana. Favorite quote: “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way”—Henry David Thoreau. My favorite memory at Valpo is meeting people who are inspired by literature in the same way I am, and being able to see this inspiration come to life in each class I’ve had the privilege to be a part of.