For many, May 22 signifies an end to classrooms, tests, papers and the world of academia (for a while), but for Kevin Hill, this is just a transition to the next step in Higher Education. Hill, a double major in International Studies and Government will be starting his Master of Arts at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations.
You may know Kevin Hill as the nephew of Father Hill, one of the brothers on campus who leads weekly meditations. Having such a prominent familial presence on campus made Manhattan seem like an obvious choice. “My family is really connected with this school, other than my uncle being Father Hill, all of my brothers siblings and cousins have attended here, so it is almost intrinsic that this was my choice for college,” Hill said.
Seeing as he is extremely involved in the Government and International Studies departments, it would seem that this was his initial choice, however Hill actually started at MC as a Computer Science major. “I liked the work that comes along with a Computer Science major, but it didn’t like the idea of sitting in an chair starring at code for years on end. I also needed something with more meaning, something which was more fulfilling,” Hill said.
The more fulfilling option just so happened to be Government and International Studies. “While I have always been interested in current events and the news in general. I always tried to make an effort to stay on top of what was going on. But I also had a friend, boss and now mentor who told me to try it out. Looking back now it was some really great advice,” Hill said. He wanted to not only focus on US government but also how policy affects the rest of the world.
Hill has spent the last year interning for Congressmen Engle, who represents this district of the Bronx. This has given him hands on experience about how local government operates as well as a little bit more background into Riverdale and the communities that surround it. “My internship has given me insight into what it takes to work in politics. I do administrative work as well as case work which helps me see that an office such as a local congressman really does focus on helping the people themselves, rather than just be part of some bureaucratic machine,” Hill said.
One of the most meaningful experiences at Manhattan College Hill has had was participating in Model UN. “While interning for the Congressman has given me experience in local government, Model UN has really given me insight about what the world of international politics is like. While the weeks spent debating, writing, and not sleeping are intense and insane, it is something I look back on positively and that I will never forget,” Hill said.
Hill has also been the student assistant for the International Studies and government department meaning that he has worked directly with the professor in charge of Model UN, Pam Chasek. Hill said that she has easily been one of the biggest influences on his academic and personal development. “The Government department and all of the professors have been wonderful at giving me advice whenever I needed and have really have helped with both my search an decision for graduate school. Dr. Chasek and her variety of classes that I took were all great classes and gave me huge insight into the field of international relations. In particular she was always available to discuss any issues I was having, and always seemed genuinely interested in my success and always had a smile on her face when I entered her office,” Hill said.
Over the summer Hill will be working for ZUMA education operated out of Fordham University, which does NYC tours for international students.
Looking to the future, Hill is extremely excited about the upcoming fall semester and really taking his studies to the next level. “I chose Seton Hall because it is very similar to Manhattan. It is close enough to the city being a half an hour away via the NJ Transit, but it also actually has the feel of a real campus. Specifically I will be studying Foreign Policy Analysis and International Law,” Hill said.
“We all have different ways of impacting the world, but you just have to find your own way of doing it,” Hill said.
If you ever find yourself complaining about how busy you are, or feel that you are stressed out, it is time to get some perspective. Senior Michelle Beltran is easily one of the most involved people on campus, and through it all you will never see her being anything but positive.
Beltran is a double major in both Biochemistry and Spanish and is currently applying and interviewing for Medical School. “Currently I am either going to take a gap year, and continue with the medical process because it usually is lengthy and takes a long time to get the details straightened out or go to St. George University in the Caribbean which offers a program that lets you start right away,” Beltran said.
Being a double major is hard enough, but when you go across schools, the requirements get even harder. Michelle has worked extremely hard to make sure that all the requirements for both majors were met, sometimes taking as many as 6 classes in one semester, not including labs and independent studies. Beltran is also a Spanish lab assistant, RA, Zumba instructor, part of the executive board for an academic society, as well as works for Red Bull.
Manhattan was essentially a perfect choice for Beltran because of its close location to where her family lives, but also being so close to the city, having just relocated during her senior year of high school. “I will always remember how everyone was so nice and welcoming, both students, staff and professors,” Beltran said.
Over the last four years, MC has given Beltran a home away from home. “I have loved the fact that MC is such a small campus with such a close community it is really easy to feel like you are involved and a part of something. It feels homey in a way. Having moved here from South America right before Freshman year, it was really hard for me to be away from family and my mom since that was all I really knew. It was great coming here and instantly creating a sorta second family. The really good friends that I made became like my family,” Beltran said.
In the midst of all her activities and studies, there were definitely influential people at Manhattan that Michelle will never forget. “If there was one person who had the biggest impact on me academically it would have to be the chair of the Modern Languages department, Marlene Gottlieb. It is just the fact that she always pushes me to do more, and to do the best that I can do. She is someone that believes in her students, and continually asks them to do more than they think they can. She always made me want to be a better student, and I think because of her I can say that I am,” Beltran said.
While Beltran may be extremely smart and dedicated to her work she is best known on campus as being responsible for the loud music that blares out of Alumni late on Monday and Tuesday nights. “Teaching Zumba for the last four years has been something I will never really forget. It has given me some really amazing friendships and experiences that have really helped shape my MC experience. After a long hard day, I can always know that I can lose myself dancing for an hour. It has helped me stand out on campus, and I never would have imagined that something that I lead, and have helped create would become the most popular fitness class on campus. Having as many as 80 people watch you twerk is a crazy experience,” Beltran said.
While the future for Beltran is still being determined, it will undoubtedly be filled with success and will never be without a soundtrack that makes you want to dance.