As a newly accepted UD Honors student, one of the first people to reach out to me was my Munson Fellow, Ellen Schenk, a sophomore from Simsbury, Connecticut. I remember getting an e-mail from her at the beginning of August and felt comforted that there was someone I could go to for advice as I made the transition to college. Now that I have gotten to know Ellen, I am thankful for her support, kindness, advice, and commitment to bettering our Honors community. To honor Redding’s Munson Fellows, here are seven questions with Ellen, my very own Munson Fellow!
Q: How would you describe your role as a Munson Fellow?
A: I am an academic peer mentor and the liaison between the Honors Program and the students living in Redding. But I’m also … there if you guys need anything or someone to talk to. I also build an inclusive floor community.
Q: Why did you become a Munson Fellow, and what inspired you to get more involved in the Honors Program?
A: The reason why I came to UD was because of the Honors Program. I loved the idea of a big university with research, good professors, career services, and just all of the amenities of a big university. But the Honors program makes that community a lot smaller … I just want to support the program … and just get more involved in it because I love it.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a Munson Fellow?
A: The students! I like giving advice and figuring out what I didn’t know freshman year and … trying to make your freshman year as enjoyable as mine was.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a Munson Fellow?
A: I really like seeing … events that I … put a lot of hard work into planning just come to life and seeing students enjoying them … For me, living in Redding was such an important part of my freshman year, so it’s really rewarding to be able to be a part of that and to be able to contribute to community building.
Q: For people who are interested in the position, how can they work towards becoming a Munson Fellow?
A: The most important thing if someone does want to become a Munson Fellow is getting involved on your floor and being able to show that you personally have built a floor community. Also having a passion for the Honors program, wanting to better students’ lives because freshman year is scary, and showing that you are able to be there and that you are able to support freshmen.
Q: What is your advice for freshmen as we close out the first semester?
A: Keep your door open. I think everyone has kind of formed their friend groups, but it’s also important to remember that … building a floor community is still really important, and it’s important that those goals that we all set for ourselves as a floor continue even through second semester.
Q: Finally, as a Munson Fellow, what would you like residents to know?
A: Munsons are a really good resource, but we’re also here to go to dinner with you guys and to come to your events that you plan and to support you in whatever you’re doing, so we’re pretty cool people to hang out with, and we just want to get to know you guys better. I think it’s kind of like a two-way street; we get to know you, but also you get to know us, and that helps build a floor community and a building community as well.
Ellen and all the Munson Fellows play an integral role in Honors students’ first year. From planning fun events to calming registration nerves to just chatting with us, they are here to talk with us, support us, and strengthen our community. My thanks to the magnificent Munsons of Redding for all they do!