Government major gets GoodCrushed
February 16, 2010
__On a Sunday night in a busy Daily Grind, I sat down to chat with Bailey Thomson after two days of e-mail tag trying to fit into her busy schedule. She talked about her plans for life in the real world, her interests in stencil graffiti and what it’s like to be on the College’s top-10 Most Crushed on GoodCrush.__
*How did you get into stencil graffiti?*
A friend of mine in high school introduced me to an artist named Banksy. He’s from near London. In fall 2003, I started following his work, including a website and several books he has published. I actually traveled to England and saw some of his stuff on the street, which was pretty incredible. The thing I love most about graffiti is that, as he says, there’s not an admission price to view it, so it’s really a voice for those who don’t get a chance to display their work in a museum or elsewhere.
*How do you feel about being one of the top 10 crushes on the College’s GoodCrush website?*
To be honest, it’s a bit of a surprise, and I have a feeling that most of the crushes I haven’t figured out are probably my girlfriends. Of the crushes I have figured out so far, two are girls and one is a gay friend of mine. So, I’m not optimistic about my “ring by spring” prospects, but it’s definitely an honor to be one of the most crushed women on campus.
*How did you get involved with Students Helping Honduras?*
Through Cosmo Fujiyama ’07, who is the co-founder of the organization. We met in fall of 2006 at a fraternity formal, when I was a freshman and she was a senior. From there, she asked me to help with a couple fundraising events, including a speed-dating event where I was the only freshman girl present. I was terrified, but it was a great time. She asked me to come down to El Progreso the next winter. So in January of 2008, I went there for the first time and have been back four times for a total of seven weeks. Our work site, which was just a field of weeds two years ago, has grown into a 44-home village with a education center, a waste management system and a water tower.
*That’s really impressive. Do you know where the organization is going next?*
There are a lot of different projects in store for the organization as it gets larger, and we are planning to open a children’s home at the conclusion of 2010. Cosmo’s brother, Shin, has been really excited about the idea of getting children out of abusive households and off the streets and into a safe home, so we’re hopeful we can make that happen.
*What is the topic of your senior thesis?*
My thesis is in the government department and my adviser is professor Joel Schwartz. It evolved out of my Monroe [Scholar] project and is a focus on religion in public universities. I frame discussions about the purpose of universities, Anglican history and constitutional law in a case study about William and Mary’s Wren Chapel.
*How did you get interested in glaciers and geology?*
One of my geology-major friends convinced me to take geology as my natural science GER, and I thought for certain that I did not like rocks, but it turns out I’m really into glaciers as sediment transporters. I think that if I had had taken geology earlier than my junior year, I would actually have considered switching my major.
*How did you get involved in Teach for America?*
As a government and Middle Eastern studies double major, I figured I’d work in government intelligence or with the State Department. But when I spent eight weeks teaching middle school math in Houston after my sophomore year, I became interested in teaching as a career. I began thinking seriously about working in underserved communities, so I applied for Teach for America, and I have been assigned to teach in the San Francisco Bay area at a charter school for the next two years.
*Do you have a class that you took at the College that you would recommend?*
Can I suggest two? The first one is professor [P.J.] Brendese’s Political Memory, Democracy, and Theology course. Professor Brendese is a brilliant political theorist, and he incorporates love and forgiveness into discussions about social justice. This semester, I’m also taking Middle Eastern Music Cultures with Professor [Anne] Rasmussen. We recently had a famous Arab musician come in to play and teach us about rhythm families in Middle Eastern music.
__Bailey is headed to San Francisco after graduation to work with Teach for America, but will continue to keep the values of community and service she learned at the College. Maybe they even have a San Francisco GoodCrush.__