Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer
This Gustie of the Week knew she had found a home at Gustavus when she visited campus and experienced the academic opportunities during a class visit.
Originally from Foley, Minnesota, Senior Emily Falk was familiar with Gustavus through an uncle and a teacher who are alumni. Once she visited campus for herself, she knew she had found the place she wanted to be.
“Because I kind of knew people who went here, but didn’t really know about the school, I decided to visit, and when I did, just walking around campus, I felt very at home. When I was actually able to sit in on a class, I [thought] “Oh, this is where I would like to go to school, this is the kind of academic environment I’d like to be in,” Falk said.
Now, as a triple major in Political Science, Spanish, LALACS, and a minor in History, Falk is fully embracing the liberal arts ideals at Gustavus. Some areas of study were a given, and others were somewhat of a surprise.
“I’ve always known I was going to study Political Science. I’ve always been interested in politics. Since the time I was old enough to talk, basically, which is kind of odd, but it’s just always kind of been my thing. I originally thought I was going to study PoliSci and Psychology, but that just wasn’t where my passion was,” Falk said.
“I really enjoyed all the Spanish courses I was taking and felt like I was learning something valuable from those, so I decided to continue on with Spanish, and then LALACS, because there’s so much crossover. And I really felt like it was giving me just a broader scope of things across the region of Latin America, not only culturally, but politically as well. I think it has been really helpful to study LALACS and PoliSci because of how many leftist political figures are in Latin America,” Falk said.
Falk’s passion for these areas of study is clear in her academic participation.
Professor in Modern Languages, Literature, and Cultures, Spanish, and Chair in LALACS, Angelique Dwyer has instructed Falk in several of her classes.
“Emily is an outstanding student; always ready to contribute to class discussion — even while knitting, sipping from her thermos, interning and leading civic engagement. She is fun, personable and smart. She’s overcome any challenge I’ve thrown her way, and then some,” Dwyer said.
In her campus involvements, Falk enjoys being able to put her ideals into practice through community engagement and activism.
As a third year Gustie Greeter, member of Building Bridges and the Gustavus Wind Symphony, and Co-President of Students for Reproductive Freedom (SRF), Falk finds it fulfilling to be involved in organizations that provide her with a platform to make a difference.
“I’d say the most rewarding thing is being able to do the things that I’ve always been passionate about but actually be able to do something more than just talk about it. Besides just talking about reproductive justice and social justice, I can actually participate,” Falk said.
Senior Jack Milford has worked closely with Falk as Vice-president of SRF.
“Emily is a great and strong person but also has the ability to converse with anyone. Working with her has been nothing short of a blessing and I could not imagine working with anyone else. She’s a phenomenal leader but also is extremely humble,” Milford said.
As a senior, Falk is excited to see new students joining these organizations and she is confident in the work they will do once she is done with her time at Gustavus.
“I think that students now, even more so, are so smart, they have so much at their disposal, and they’re really giving it 110%, and it’s really rewarding to see that, to see where the future will go,” Falk said.
As for her own future, Falk is planning on taking a gap year before pursuing either a master’s degree in Politics and Theology or law school.
Falk spends her free time reading and knitting, and advises students to seek out similar hobbies to truly take a break from academic and work commitments.
“Find something to do – a hobby – that has nothing to do with your work, school, anything, that’s totally separate, so that you can actually be able to have a break from those things and be able to do something that’s totally opposite from that. Then you can actually take some time for yourself,” Falk said.