Andrea Finley, a Buffalo, New York na-tive, arrived at Colgate with the intention of concentrating in theatre. Now in her senior year, she finds herself a double concentrator in sociology and women’s studies.
“I found that my own identity really in-tersected with … what I was interested in,” Finley said.
Her presence at Colgate far transcends the bounds of the classroom: she is a research assis-tant for Professor of Sociology Rhonda Levine, an intern for LGBTQ initiatives, vice-presi-dent of the Black Student Union, a WRCU radio show host, a Community Leader and an Office of Admission mentor. Finley’s duties as a research assistant involved editing the sylla-bus and finding works that were more inclu-sive to the African-American ideology, which coincides with her focus on racial indifferences within the study of sociology.
“I ask, ‘what does it mean to be black in general in society?’ Furthermore, ‘what does it mean to be black in Colgate society?'” she said.
Her interests also include sexuality, a topic that is relevant to her own personal experiences at Colgate.
“Colgate has only known me to be out, but that process really started upon me coming to Colgate,” Finley said.
Part of that process included her partici-pation in the LGBTQ initiatives, a group she has been a member of for the entirety of her Colgate career. Working as a Safe Zone trainer, she helps in creating safe spaces where students can come together to discuss issues such as homophobia, heterosexism and sexual oppression.
“It’s work that I love – that’s really where my passion is and my heart is,” Finley said.
Her engagement on campus continues with her participation in the Office of Un-dergraduate Studies (OUS) mentorship pro-gram. Occurring the summer before the first year, OUS allows students to take two college courses to prepare them for the rigor that Colgate provides. As a mentor she not only advises students academically, but also main-tains a personal relationship with her students throughout the year. Finley was a participant of the program herself, and feels that it was a vital component of her successes at Colgate.
Finley modestly said she has been of-fered admission to Princeton University for graduate school, although she may initially work for OUS to save money. As for advice for current students, she encourages them to be a voice for others.
“There should be time taken to stop and think, ‘what does it take for me to get outside of myself?'” Finley said.
To nominate a senior for In The Light e-mail [email protected]