What is your preferred name?
Ash Kwiatkowski (They/Them)
What is your major and minor?
I’m a philosophy major.
What are some of the jobs you held while at McDaniel?
What organizations were you a part of at McDaniel? What positions did you hold?
I was the president of Social/Civil/Human, and during my years here, I was a member of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Magic: The Gathering Club, and Global Zero.
Did you enjoy your time at McDaniel? How?
McDaniel feels like home to me. I discovered my identity here (thanks GSA), and I’ve grown here as an academic, activist, and person. Also, thanks to my professors, I’ve been able to explore topics and do projects that I honestly doubt I could have explored at other colleges.
Who do you think is/was your best mentor(s)?
My best mentors have and always will be my peers. I learned a lot from my friends here, and there’s no way I could mention them all. That being said, I also need to mention my advisor, Dr. Grosz. She has believed in me and my ability, allowing me to research and study topics that interest me, and utilize creative outlets to express my beliefs.
What is your best memory at McDaniel?
There are so many good memories that I’ve had thanks to McDaniel. My study abroad trips to Ireland and Germany, the myriad of events I’ve held with my organization and others, but my best memories have been from both creating and preparing The Gay Agenda this year as part of my Senior Seminar.
What were some of the challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them?
I was never the best when it came to academics, and I still struggle to this day. I’ve always found the education system to be a drag, because I had to do that stuff over what I actually wanted to do. Yet as the years went on, I found ways to merge the two through my major, and now I’m able to thrive in academic settings whereas years ago I barely tried.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I’m going to take a bit of a break before anything else; I’m not planning on going straight into graduate school. That being said, I will probably try to get a job in the nonprofit sector, and I will definitely continue working on The Gay Agenda.
What advice can you give to those not graduating?
Don’t listen to anyone but yourself. There will be people out there who tell you that you can’t do something. I had doubters when I told people about the projects that I wanted to do, or the change that I wanted to make. People told me that The Gay Agenda was too ambitious, that I wouldn’t have it ready in time, yet I did. To quote one of my favorite YouTubers, Casey Neistat, “Do what you can’t.”
Is there anything else you want to share with the McDaniel community?
I’m going to miss you all! I’ll try to visit, but Hawaii is kind of far away.