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Kalamazoo College

Lauren Perlaki


Woodhaven, MI
English with an Emphasis in Writing
Art History
Media Studies
Study Away:
New York Arts Program
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Butter Pecan
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 15 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
The faculty. The English department boasts caring, considerate, and deeply knowledgeable professors who will go the extra mile for their students.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
Contemporary Poetry (a course I took freshman year that is, unfortunately, no longer offered) with professor, Diane Seuss, completely rocked my world. It was the first English class I’d ever taken at K. I was on track to be an ANSO major with a concentration in Public Policy. Ha! Funny how things work out. I was immediately enthralled with the riveting course material and the work great literature is able to accomplish – the impact it can have, the impression it can leave. The course allowed me to experience a sort of “great knowing” that the English Department was, ultimately, where I belonged. The wonderful faculty and the interesting courses keep me coming back for more. The material that I have been given the opportunity to study in the English department has allowed me to grow academically as well as personally in numerous ways. I have always felt that the work I do within the department is not only valid, but also valued. You truly can’t beat that.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Be present while in class! Engage with the material! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to admit when something isn’t clear! Believe in yourself (and your work)! These are some of the greatest lessons I have learned during my time as an English major at K. Actively contributing to class discussion, striving to understand, and putting in the time as well as the effort will only make things easier and more rewarding for you, your classmates, and your professors.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
As a former co-director of the Kalamazoo Poetry Collective, one of the current editor-in-chiefs of Kalamazoo College’s annually published literary and visual arts magazine, The Cauldron, and an intern with the Kalamazoo Book Art Center’s “Poets-in-Print Reading Series,” I would say that my department has encouraged me to keep an eye out for opportunities that could foster my personal growth within the literary community both within and outside of the department.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
How to manage time properly. For a small school, there are a great deal of student organizations and opportunities to get involved with. In order to take a full course load, have a part-time job, be involved on campus, and have any sort of social life, you have to know how to manage your time effectively.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Contemporary Poetry, the course I mentioned above. The course material was engaging, the professor was great, and the class environment was first-rate. Students participated, and were really jazzed about the things we were studying and discussing. Everyone wanted to be there – everyone wanted to learn, and when you get that in a class, it’s magic.

What is your SIP?
My SIP is a Creative Writing SIP that, further, is a Poetry and Creative Nonfiction Hybrid. My topic is rooted in disability, and the disabled population. My interest in the subject derives from a yearly position I hold as a camp counselor at a summer camp for special needs adults. From a mostly personal perspective, I am writing about the ways ableists interact with, and react to, the disabled population, how the disabled population interacts with, and reacts to, ableists, and how ableists and the disabled navigate spaces together.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
The dream is to become a college professor and published author (like, big-time). Until that day, I plan to pursue an MFA directly following my graduation from K. I am undoubtedly excited to discover what the future holds!

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