What Olivia Yepez C’22 took away from meeting Drew Forum lecturer Cathy N. Davidson
September 2019 – I attended a small student discussion with Cathy N. Davidson for Baldwin Honors students, members of the BA/MAT program, and Women’s and Gender Studies majors. The event allowed us to chat with the City University of New York professor and author before her Drew Forum lecture [sponsored by the Merrill Maguire Skaggs Lecture endowed fund].
Davidson, who advocates for changing our education practices to prepare students for questions that can’t be answered in a college classroom, immediately struck me as a genuinely kind-hearted individual who deeply cares about students. She insisted on sitting facing the door so that she could welcome students who arrived late into the space.
She talked enthusiastically with her hands as she introduced herself and her academic journey. Davidson had placed a temperature-sensitive pencil and an index card on each seat and asked everyone to take 90 seconds to write down a question to ask her. She then asked us all to pair up, discuss our questions and choose the one we wanted to ask.
Questions ranged from topics like climate change, diversifying experiences within a chosen profession, to college and beyond. I was surprised at how fluidly Davidson was able to apply her knowledge and research to thoroughly answer every one of the varied questions she was asked.
In our discussion, Davidson credited the liberal arts education system as being a great resource for life. To her, a liberal arts education is much more than just going to college—seeking higher education at a liberal arts school is a voluntary decision that prepares the student for the inevitable twists and turns that life has in store for us.
She believes that the liberal arts offer students the opportunity to pose questions they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, take classes outside of their comfort zones and find answers to real-world problems that don’t have simple black-and-white solutions.
Davidson’s advice and wisdom were well-received by all of the students in the room and I was grateful to be a part of her audience. When the event ended, I felt excited to use her words to make the most of my liberal arts education at Drew.
Read about Cathy N. Davidson’s lecture here.