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Department ofHistory


Advice from a Graduating Senior: Do More

Emma Chen let her passions guide her academic and extracurricular involvement at SCU, and she’s ready to embrace the new opportunities ahead.

Emma Chen ‘18 found success through variety during her Santa Clara career. During her four years, she picked up majors in History and Ethnic Studies and a minor in Political Science, as well as expanding her passions with a range of extracurriculars.

Graduate school is “on the radar” for Emma, but she’s doing her best to remain flexible with her post-graduation plans. “It's really great to be closing out the chapter of college,” she says. Emma’s time at SCU provided ample opportunities to explore her passions and formulate ideas for her post-graduation life.

Before college, Emma wasn’t involved with theater at all, but the costume crew became her “home on campus.” She considers her time with the costume crew to be “the best part of [her] experience at Santa Clara University.” Emma learned about the costume crew through SCU’s work-study program, and she was hired on-the-spot during her interview four years ago. Emma has since been an active member of the costume crew for every performance put on by SCU’s Theatre and Dance Department. Now, as a senior, she is putting the capstone on her experience by designing the costumes for the department’s production of The Glass Menagerie.

Not satisfied to do less when she could do more, Emma also made space for SCU’s official yearbook The Redwood after connecting with staff at the club fair during her freshman year. She’s held positions as a page designer and head of digital publishing, and is currently editor of the “Personalities” section.

Apart from theater, Emma’s other great love is history. In addition to her coursework as a History major, Emma also devotes time to Historical Perspectives, the Santa Clara University Undergraduate Journal of History. After one of her essays was accepted by the journal, Emma was invited to join the staff; she eventually moved up to the position of co-editor. Emma encourages her fellow Broncos to “get as much mileage out of [essays written for class] as [they] can” by submitting their work to the wide range of publications.

In addition to her achievements in the History Department, Emma was recognized by the Women and Gender Studies Department with the 2017 Nina Liebman award, which celebrates excellent undergraduate projects that “critically examine creative expression or representations of gender and/or sexuality.”

Emma discovered a passion for Ethnic Studies when taking a course with Professor Anna Sampaio to satisfy a diversity requirement for the College of Arts and Sciences. A testament to Emma’s enthusiasm for diving into new opportunities, that first class piqued an interest that developed into a second major.

“Emma is one of the most gifted, talented, and well-rounded students I've ever had,” says Professor Sampaio. “She is not only a remarkable student with exceptional analytical and expressive abilities, but she is genuinely kind and generous person and that rare combination of skills has endeared her to faculty and students alike.”


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