Pandemic Perspectives: Three Students Share


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In this episode you’ll hear: the different perspectives of three students sharing the same house in a small Oregon town during the pandemic, how all of their academic plans have been affected, why eliminating the SAT and standardized tests might increase college application rates, what’s helping them each get through the pandemic, and what gives them all hope for their futures.

Our first guest is: Will Sumerfield, a junior at UC San Diego studying Cognitive Science and Computer Science, with a goal to achieve a Doctorate in Machine Learning. He is now taking classes remotely from his family’s home in Oregon, trying to decide if he’ll return to campus for his senior year of college, and what the pandemic means for his graduate school plans.

Our next guest is: Branislav Petrovic, a water polo player from Serbia who came to Oregon as a foreign exchange student planning to spend his senior year at an in-person American high school, seeing how Americans really live, and applying to colleges, but has had to change nearly all of those plans.

Our final guest is: Olivia Sumerfield, the president of her senior class, now taking her classes online, applying to colleges she’s never been able to visit, preparing for her future as a doctor, and wondering about the merits of taking a gap year.

Your host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women, gender, and sexuality. Christina supports her pandemic-life well-being by working on her photography, taking long walks in nature, and going to [online] meditation class. Will and Olivia are her cousins.

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Your Host

Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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