Research News

WATCH Class of 2022: Students find belonging and enrich community

By Amy Wolf

Students who attend Vanderbilt belong to a special community, comprising the best and brightest of their peers and faculty. This unique group is brought together for the purpose of making each other—and society as a whole—better.

Meet some of the members of the Class of 2022 who have embraced that challenge and are cultivating belonging to strengthen, support and enrich their community.

“The pay-it-forward aspect to these groups has been incredible,” Britto said. “I want to give younger students the courage to feel that they can do it too. A big part of that for me is just sharing my struggles with trying to get involved and the hurdles and shyness I faced. Ultimately, the opportunities and people that have supported me are the reason that I’m succeeding today.”

Read more of Lucy’s story here. >>

“Everything that I do I think through the lens of, ‘Does this action build or break community?’ There is so much out there in the world that’s breaking community, so my seemingly small contribution of trying to build community is really important to me,” Moskowitz said.

“The programming and the support structures that we’ve worked on are creating a culture of inclusion and empowerment so that more women want to come to business school, specifically at Owen, because of the culture that we’ve built,” she said.

Read more of Liza’s story here. >>

“Being first-gen and a Black woman here, I feel like I’ve had to learn ways to be a bridge builder—connecting with audiences who have not shared my experience and communicating to them how we can enable everyone to flourish,” Jordan said.

Read more of Megan’s story here. >>

“Every time I meet somebody new, I want it to feel like Vanderbilt Move-In Day when there’s just that overwhelming welcomeness,” Choi said. “I really thank the Vanderbilt community for the experiences that I’ve had because I was able to grow and form meaningful connections. To me, belonging is being seen and appreciated by the people around you—but also feeling you can blend and fit in with other people. I’ve definitely felt that here.”

Read more of Harry’s story here. >>

“One of the most influential things that was ever said to me at Vanderbilt was from a senior when I was a first-year, who told me, ‘You are not special because you’re at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is special because you are here.’ That was a game changer for me to realize that I didn’t have to measure up to the Vanderbilt name. Vanderbilt wanted the unique perspective I bring to the community,” Woods said.

Read more of Maddie’s story here. >>

“I love being at Shade Tree Clinic,” González Peña said. “I really just found belonging because I think we all had this common goal of service as well as learning and teaching each other, since people work there with all different subspecialties like ophthalmology, gynecology, and orthopaedics. Ultimately, we have that same overarching goal of caring for those in need.”

Read more of Tita’s story here. >>