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Meet the RC Ambassadors!

Connect with experts on life as an RC student!

From Anthropology to Philosophy, and International Studies to Urban Studies, the RC Ambassadors are more than just the "typical" RC student! Whether it was four years ago or less than one, every RC Ambassador was once a prospective RC student and considering the RC just like you. Connect with RC Ambassadors during the University of Michigan Campus Days for admitted students. You can also email rescollege@umich.edu with a question - RC Ambassadors are here to help!

Katie Wiatrak

Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Pre-Health
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: Women's Glee Club (Wellness Chair), OEC (Opportunities to Educate Children, currently tutoring in Pediatric Dialysis), CGIS Exchange Buddies program
Future Goals: Graduate school in a medical field
What first interested you in the RC? My high school was very small (approximately 300 students) and is a liberal arts school. I have loved Umich ever since I was born, but coming to a giant public university can be daunting, no matter how many Michigan t-shirts you wear. The RC is perfect for me because I can have the big school experience while also fitting into a small liberal arts community. Best of both worlds!
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The language program is probably my favorite thing about the RC. I took Spanish in high school, but I never really cared about it. But after 16 credits of Spanish in my first year of college, it became a core pillar of my life. It pushed me to study abroad in Barcelona, which I would have never considered if not for this language requirement.
What challenges you the most about the RC? Branching out of the RC community can be a challenge sometimes. It can be easy to become enveloped in this wonderful liberal arts community, but that has its pros and cons. I pushed myself to discover other student orgs and get involved outside the RC, but it is definitely tempting to hide away in East Quad!
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? Try EVERYTHING! There are SO many amazing opportunities in college, so read every pamphlet, skim every email, and make yourself try new things, no matter how outlandish they may seem!

Morgan Palmer

Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Charlotte, MI
RC Language: Spanish
Major: BCN and Spanish
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: VP of figure skating club, PALMA, research, volunteering
Future Goals: Med school - and to just have a happy life
What first interested you in the RC? I wanted to take a more intensive Spanish class!
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The community and support form all of the teachers!
What challenges you the most about the RC? The professors definitely push you to be the best version of yourself since they do get to know you on a personal level
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? I would tell myself that the most important thing to carry with you into your college career is your empathy for other people and your determination to be the best you can be. Your grades, your extracurriculars, your one bad exam freshman year... none of that carries with you. But who you are as a person and how you treat other people continues to grow. Keep that.

Elisa Dornbos

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI 
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Sociology 
Minor: Education for Empowerment, Spanish 
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: I play the violin and am planning to take violin lessons this semester, Campus Orchestra, CAPS in Action (Events Committee), participant in Wolverine Support Network 
What first interested you in the RC? I chose to join the RC because of the small community within the large college! I was also interested in the intensive language program and the focus on the arts.  
What do you enjoy most about the RC? I love the close relationship with professors!
What challenges you the most about the RC? Choosing between all the available opportunities! 
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? Don't apply to too many schools! Narrow it down to the ones you feel are the best fit for you, with a range of safety, match and reach schools.

Molly Duplaga

Year: First Year
Hometown: Sterling Heights, MI
RC Language: Russian
Major: Undecided (something STEM)
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: Quiz Bowl, CAPS in action, reading, French, classical music
What first interested you in the RC? The intensive language program seemed really exciting to me and I wanted to make sure the humanities were still a large part of my education.
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The strong sense of community and openness.
What challenges you the most about the RC? Balancing an intensive language with my other courses.
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? The University of Michigan IS the right choice for you. And take more risks/care less what others think.

Erica Meyers

Year: Senior
Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
RC Language: German
Major: German and PitE
Minors: Urban Studies & LGBTQ Studies
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: RC Review and Botany Undergrads Doing Stuff (BUDS)
What first interested you in the RC? I joined the RC because of a student panel at a Campus Day. The small classes, heavy language focus, and community feel drew me to the RC.
What do you enjoy most about the RC? I enjoy feeling at home. While the rest of the University may be scary and overwhelming, I know I can always look to the RC for a more collaborative atmosphere and a kinder environment.
What challenges you the most about the RC? 
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? I would tell myself to be open and honest with professors. Students need to know that they are within their rights to communicate their needs.

Grace Tucker

Year: First Year
Hometown: Zionsville, IN
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Journalism and Spanish
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: I am the publicity manager for and member of Gimble Acappella, a co-ed acappella group here on campus. I am also a Daily Arts writer for The Michigan Daily. Lastly, I work as a lobby attendant for University Productions and am a classroom tutor for America Reads Tutoring Corps.
Future Goals: Graduate with a Journalism degree and move to Chicago to work in media journalism (online or print). I am also considering Law School.
What first interested you in the RC? The "best of both worlds" philosophy the program offered because it provided a small, liberal arts community while also having access to the plethora of resources a large university like UMich offers. I really appreciate the way the RC emphasizes the importance of the arts in an education.
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The intimate classroom experiences. I am only in my second week of classes and I have already experienced incredible academic growth. It is truly refreshing to have peers who are actually motivated to learn and care about what they're learning. I have found RC students to be a very driven, ambitious bunch and I have loved being in class with them.
What challenges you the most about the RC? Learning how to balance RC opportunities with activities offered across campus. Because the RC is built on such a strong community, there is a real abundance of academic opportunities and social activities offered through the RC and it can be easy to spend an entire day solely in East Quad. Though, I think it is really important to pursue opportunities outside of the RC in order to have a well-rounded social and academic experience. Nonetheless, East Quad is still my favorite place on campus and has become like a second home to me.
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? To simply "follow your instinct." While undergoing the college application process, I exercised the mentality that it's better to have too many opportunities than not enough. So, I applied to lots of colleges and every honors or scholarship program I could, which created a lot of unnecessary stress and turmoil once it came to making my final college decision. I think I always instinctively knew that UMich was the place for me but the type A overthinker in me wanted to entertain every single possibility before I made a final decision. I think choosing a college involves a lot more fate and instinct than I originally thought it did.

Madison Krumins 

Year: RC Sophomore & LSA Honors College
Hometown: Waterford, MI
RC Language: Russian
Major: Cognitive Science & Sociology
Minor: Russian 
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: University Band, MAC Alternative Spring Break, K-Grams, RC Letter Club, Dance Marathon, Fraternity and Sorority Life
Future Goals: Law School
What first interested you in the RC? I became interested in the RC when I heard about the RC's "liberal arts" school vibe. I was originally searching for a smaller liberal arts school, but the RC provided me the opportunity to get this experience while still getting the experience of going to an amazing BIG 10 university.
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? I enjoy the smaller class sizes and the selection of classes specifically available to me as an RC student. Especially in my first year, I think having the small class sizes was so beneficial to me--I got to form great connections directly with my professors, something some first-year students don't get to do. The Intensive Language program accelerated my studies and opened up doors for scholarships and fellowships this year that I didn't think possible before.
One of my favorite aspects of the RC, though, is the team of advisors just for RC students. The fact that they have less students to manage means that they have more time and energy to devote to my schedule and my questions. RC students, for each RC class they take, receive not only a grade on their transcript, but basically a recommendation letter from their professor. It's definitely a huge benefit, not only for applying for internships and study abroad programs during school, but for whatever I plan to do afterwards!
What challenges you the most about the RC? I think some of my favorite parts of the RC are the ones that have challenged me the most. The Intensive language track is definitely intense, and going through Intensive I and II was exhausting and difficult. However, I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. Being able to say that I went from not being able to speak a word of Russian to passing Proficiency with Level 5 abilities in roughly 8 months is pretty amazing. I don't know where else you would get a similar experience, unless you were in a study abroad or summer program dedicated to just this. As a student in Readings now, I can tell that I'll miss the RC language classes next semester when I go into the regular LSA program.

 

Elizabeth Schriner 

Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Olivet, MI
RC Language: Japanese
Major: Sociology (Health & Medicine Submajor) & Creative Writing
Minor: Asian Languages & Culture
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: Currently, my extra-curricular activities include being an RC MAP mentor and Women's Glee Club member. I also work as a Community Center Assistant (CCA) in West Quad and am a paid blogger for Arts, Ink. under Arts at Michigan.
Future Goals: Graduate School
What first interested you in the RC? Coming from a small high school, I was initially intimidated by U of M's size. The RC offered the "best-of-both-worlds," and I was drawn in by the benefits of a small college. The intensive language program was also intriguing.
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? Over the past two years, I've enjoyed living in East Quad and participating in some of the various classes and clubs the RC has to offer. I found my closest friends, one of my majors, and an overall welcoming community through the RC.
What challenges you the most about the RC? Taking 10-credits of Intensive Japanese each semester during my freshman year has definitely been my biggest RC challenge thus far. I started the class with no prior knowledge of the language, which was daunting; however, I made some great friends, learned three new writing systems, and grew close to an amazing professor through taking Japanese in the RC. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take more Japanese classes and pursue the minor! Learning Japanese continues to be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I've ever done, and I highly recommend the RC's intensive language programs.
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? Everything will work out! :)

Janetha (Janna) Girotto

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI / Rochester, NY
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Public Health
Minor: Business
Future Goals: I’d like to minor in Ross, I’d like to get a masters from the school of public health some day, and my dream is to work for the WHO
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: Multicultural council, artsy forum
What first interested you in the RC? For the language and the community 
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The community 
What challenges you the most about the RC? Proficiency was really hard and stressful, but I survived thanks to our amazing staff 
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? It’s okay to say no to people and take a night for yourself- it’s even good for you and you should.

 

Amelia Turco

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Grosse Pointe, MI 
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Film, TV, and Media
Minor: Spanish
Future Goals: I would like to study abroad, counselor for Overland Summer Camps and be fluent in Spanish!
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: My clubs and employment include the Sopranos A Capella group, the Musket Marketing Team and I'm a Graphic Designer for the Library as well as a Graphic Designer for stickers on RedBubble! My interests include photography, film, reading, traveling and exploring Ann Arbor on weekends!
What first interested you in the RC? I was first interested in the language component of the Residential College. I always wanted to study Spanish and study abroad, and I knew the intensive environment would be the best fit to improve my Spanish quickly. I was also interested in the smaller, themed First Year Writing Seminars instead of the general, required ones in LSA. In addition to academic reasons, I was interested in living in the same place as my classmates and thought that I'd be a great environment to make friends- which it has been!
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? So far in the Residential College, I've enjoyed my Intensive Spanish class the most! My professors were very approachable and kind, the lunch tables were fun and very helpful to improve conversational Spanish, and I made lots of close friends from being in class with them 4 days a week. 
What challenges you the most about the RC? I think the RC is primarily left-sided political views. I consider myself liberal as well, but I grew up in a very conservative community so it has been very engaging to learn about others viewpoints and why they, too, identify with a liberal political platform. I think it can be challenging to adjust to this environment and still keep an open mind to other sides of politics when the grand majority is liberal and very vocal about their beliefs. But I think the people in the RC, at least all that I've met, have been very open to discussing all perspectives in politics.
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? I would tell myself to join clubs for things that general interest me, not just things my friends are doing, so that I could branch out more independently and make new friends with similar interests than me!

Sarah Mitz

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Data Science
Minor: Spanish or Crime & Justice
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: I love going to Hillel every week, going on long walks, and am planning on joining an RC forum this semester! 
What first interested you in the RC? I came across the RC on Michigan’s website while trying to find something to write about in my “Why Michigan” application essay. After reading a little bit more about it, I realized that being a part of the RC would basically allow me to have my dream college experience: going to a big school with lots of resources but also having a smaller built in community where I know people by name, an abundant array of classes centered around social justice topics, being able to easily get help from professors, and being offered many ways to get involved.  
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The RC has allowed me to feel at home in a school of 30,000 undergrads. I can walk downstairs and talk to my amazing professors’ in their offices, I have made so many friends that have vastly different interests and majors than my own, I get sent emails every week about cool RC events and clubs that I can join, and the list goes on. Overall, the RC has made me feel much less overwhelmed during my transition into college life and has made it easier to seek new opportunities.  
What challenges you the most about the RC? Not being a social sciences or humanities major while still being in the RC has been challenging for me not only because I am not able to take as many RC classes as many of my peers can, but also because branching out into the wider university where my classes are much bigger and less personal has been overwhelming at times. 
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? It seems like every time I left my dorm room during my first semester of Freshmen year, I ended up meeting someone new or finding out about a cool opportunity or club. Although I was often intimidated, my college experience got so much better once I became more willing to try new things, sit at a table with new people, or go to my professors’ office hours. 

 

Peter Matarweh

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Flint, MI 
RC Language: Spanish and French
Major: Comparative Literature & International Studies
Minor: Translation Studies
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: PALMA, Artsy Forum, Creative Writing Forum
What first interested you in the RC? The language program was what made me first look into it, and then everything else followed with it.
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? The closeness of the community, and proximity to classes and offices during the live-in. 
What challenges you the most about the RC? I don't have an answer to this.
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? Don't feel bad about not "doing as much," there are so many more opportunities in college/university and they honestly are much better.

 

Paul Treder

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Grosse Pointe, MI 
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Undecided maybe Polisci
Minor: Maybe History
Future Goals: Go to law school or pursue an MBA
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: I'm currently on U of M quizbowl, I am a member of Welisten, I participate in the RC Forums, I work at Oxford Twigs Dining Hall, and I'm planning on joining PALMA this semester. I have had a lot of past volunteer experience, including a weekly position volunteering at a hospital during high school.
What first interested you in the RC? I was interested in the small size, intimacy and community aspect, small class sizes, and language programs 
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? I enjoy the strong aspect of community and welcoming nature of the program 
What challenges you the most about the RC? the intensive languages classes; however they also greatly improve your ability to speak the language
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? I would tell myself to be less stressed and to look more into the specifications of various majors

 

Marlon Rajan

Year: Sophomore
Hometown: New York, NY
RC Language: Spanish
Major: RC Creative Writing
Future Goals: I think it would be cool to be a GSI later in life. I've had some amazing GSI's so far and they've inspired me a lot! I'm not sure about the specifics though.
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: I'm currently a part of the RC Review and Model United Nations most frequently. I also visit Spoon Club and Film Forum if I have time. I work at the Museum of Natural History on campus and am currently an RA in East Quad. I like to sew and create things and submit to literary magazines in my free time. Occasionally I write for the Michigan Daily, and I'm hoping to expand my engagement with them next year! 
What first interested you in the RC? My mom went to UM and she said all the cool people were in the RC (haha). That's how I first heard about it! I ended up applying because I thought the intensive language program was incredible, and it definitely delivered. I thought all the art offerings were amazing too, and while I've done Sculpture I hope to do more studio arts soon.
What do you enjoy most about the RC? I think being in the RC gives you an element of community structure that can ground you in your interests and your college experience as a whole. Because the RC is so open to all students in LSA the classes are not elitist or exclusive, but things like ARC's, RC events, and personal advising makes every day college life more personal and fulfilling.
What challenges you the most about the RC? This sounds cheesy, but there are too many interesting classes to take! RCHUMS are always so unique and hyper focused on one particular topic that always appeals to me. Because of other class requirements or clubs I can't always take the ones I want to and I always go back and forth between which ones to take. 
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? I wish high school me knew just how comfortable I was going to be in college with the help of the RC. I was pretty insecure in high school, and wasn't completely sure that I was going to find out any more about myself during my first few years of college. Lucky for me, I feel like I've grown a lot and become more comfortable in so many ways. 

 

Malinda Barberio

Year: Freshman
Hometown: Laingsburg, MI
RC Language: Spanish
Major: Plant Biology and Program in the Environment
Future Goals: I would love to do a few study abroad programs over the summer while in college. Later I would like to attend grad school.
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: I currently participate in the ECO forum and plan to take part in the artsy forum this semester. I also enjoy playing cards with my friends, going to the gym, and sewing.
What first interested you in the RC? I loved the close sense of community and being able to walk down the hall or into a class and meet different people. Coming from a small school this was very important to me when making my college transition.
What do you enjoy most about the RC? I love the community, the classes and being able to learn a language past just the basics.
What challenges you the most about the RC? The language requirement is no joke. Its extremely intense and students must be ready for hours and hours of tough work every day.
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? If I had known I would be part of the residential college I would've looked into languages ahead of time and practiced getting comfortable. I also would have participated sooner in the facebook groups as that's a great way to make friends before moving in.

 

Jennie Wang

Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Rochester Hills, MI
RC Language: Japanese
Major: Economics and Organizational Studies
Minor: Japanese Language and Culture
Campus Involvement and Hobbies: Mentality Magazine, LSA Mentorship, RC Map, Society for Women in Economics
What first interested you in the RC? I graduated from a small high school and needed help with a smooth transition into college. The RC offers the "atmosphere of a small college with the resources of a large university."          
What do you enjoy the most about the RC? Being able to eat, sleep, learn, study, and hang out with friends in the same building! Also, having close relationships with my professors and classmates.
What challenges you the most about the RC? The intensive language program is a lot of work.   
What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself during your senior year of high school, having the experiences and knowledge you do now? It's okay to feel scared and unprepared for college, but you're gonna be okay. It's extremely easy to make friends! Everyone here is super welcoming and accepting.