Student Profile ~ Alicia DeMaio
History and English major
Home School: The College Year of Graduation: 2013 Hometown: Aston, Pennsylvania
Studying: History major with a concentration in American history and an English major with a concentration in 18th and 19th Century Literature and Culture.
Why did you choose Penn?: Penn has a number of faculty members who specialize in early America and we have the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, which draws the newest scholarship in a variety of humanities fields connected to the Atlantic world in which early America was situated. I also wanted a school with an urban setting without going too far from home, so Philadelphia was a perfect fit for me.
What did you love about Penn?: I have been heavily involved in the academic community at Penn, and I've loved how I've found students in my respective majors with a love of learning and faculty who enjoy teaching and mentoring undergraduates. I love Penn's commitment to undergraduate research, which has allowed me to pursue my academic interests outside of class. Lastly, I love Philadelphia, a world-class city with many cultural institutions, rich history, and sundry neighborhoods, each with their own story.
Where is your favorite place on campus?: This is a difficult question! I spend a lot of time in Van Pelt, because it has the tools I need to do the research I love (lots and lots of history books!) and it has the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, which I love not only because I work there, but because we have such fascinating and diverse collections which undergraduates should take advantage of when given the opportunity.
How are you involved on campus?: As I mentioned above, I work at the Rare Books library and I am involved in undergraduate research—I am a University Scholar and a Center for Undergraduate Research (CURF) Research Peer Advisor. I also give admissions tours as part of the Kite and Key Tour Guiding staff, and I am a staff writer for Penn Course Review. I also am the co-chair of the History Undergraduate Advisory Board.
Do you have a favorite class or professor?: My favorite classes have involved research opportunities, including my independent study with Dr. Richard Beeman and the honors thesis program in history, where I am writing a thesis on the public reception of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Other than those experiences, I enjoyed Michal Gamer's ENGL 101: Jane Austen and Adaptation, and Thomas Sugrue's HIST 373: America in the 1960s.