Lydia Fantoni | Distinguished Undergraduate Scholar

Major: International Studies and Foreign Languages & Literature with a concentration in French 

Hometown: Broken Arrow, OK

Favorite experience: The University has offered me so many wonderful opportunities, so choosing a favorite experience is no easy task! However, throughout my four years at The Capstone, the weekly Multi-Cultural Coffee Hour, held first at B.B. Comer, then at the Intercultural Diversity Center, has consistently remained one of my favorite events. As soon as you enter the room, you can feel the welcoming spirit and the smiles of some of the friendliest, most interesting people you will ever meet. Attending Coffee Hour has not only made me more culturally aware, empathetic, and open-minded; the people I met there have made me re-evaluate my own beliefs and values, and many of these people have become close friends.

I would encourage all students—regardless of their major—to stop by one week and start up a conversation with a stranger!

Favorite classes: Each of my classes has been interesting and rewarding in its own way, but here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites (since choosing just one is too hard!).

UH 155 (Adventure Literature with Mr. Parker): This was one of my first classes at the University, and it will always be a treasured memory. Beyond learning about literature, my professor and classmates pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone, become a better writer, and face my fears. The magical mixture of camaraderie, vulnerability, and learning we all shared in the ten Hoor basement is something that none of my other classes have been able to repeat, and I am so grateful I ended up in that class!

CL 386 (History of Rome with Dr. Shannon-Henderson): Engaging lectures, class-wide essay contests, and in-class debates made learning about ancient history fun and relevant to today.

FR 563 (French-English Translation with Dr. Jennifer Carr): This class helped me realize just how complex translation is, and it deepened my appreciation for both English and French (and their respective cultures).

FR 590 (Survey of Global French Literature with Dr. Gina Stamm): Reading works by famous authors from around the world was truly special, and Dr. Stamm created an engaging learning environment.

NEW 403 (Global Health with Dr. Amanda Espy-Brown): This class helped me look at the world through a new lens, and I enjoyed the student-led, interdisciplinary discussions.

SP 102 (Spanish 102 with Mr. Jones): My professor’s enthusiasm and my classmates’ interest in improving their Spanish made this class fun, informative, and never boring!

Future plans: Following graduation, I plan to take a gap year to work abroad and will then apply to graduate schools to continue my studies.