“There have not been many constants for the past four years. As is quite normal for college students, I have worked slowly, deliberately, and sometimes painfully to ‘find myself’—to come to terms with who I am, and where I am meant to be. This, of course, is an ongoing journey. I owe a great deal to the few constants who have provided me with stable footing to keep moving forward. Christine Cohen (coordinator for leadership and service at the Landis Center) and Prof. Benjamin Cohen (chair of engineering studies) are these constants.
“Since my first year, I have been a part of America Reads, a highly impactful tutoring organization. Christine is the program coordinator—also known as the best boss lady ever! I cannot tell you how many times I have told my friends and family that I literally have the best boss. From her expertly picked meme emails to her regular reminders to ‘take a break’ and ‘go outside and have fun,’ Christine always puts her tutors before herself. She is one of the most selfless, kind-hearted, and respected leaders I know. Her passion for her work with Landis and America Reads inspires me every day. She goes above and beyond what is required of her to ensure that the many tutors she works with feel comfortable and supported in their roles. As the assistant director for America Reads, I have been privy to the little things Christine does to make our work more special, like bringing her signature homemade sweets to every staff meeting. My work and collaboration with Chris have developed my leadership skills, cultivated my passion for environmental education, and helped me find a family of active citizens on campus. I owe a great deal of my happiness and sense of purpose to Christine.
“Prof. Benjamin Cohen has been my academic mentor before he or I knew it. Toward the end of my first year, when I was struggling to know what major should define the rest of my life (of course, a major does not define the rest of one’s life, but this is how it felt at the time), he provided me with guidance and a safe space to work out the knotted web of thoughts that were running through my brain. He heard me say that I am passionate about improving our relationship with the environment, which I now understand to be our sociotechnical and socioenvironmental systems. Prof. Cohen opened the door to the major that allowed me to explore and contextualize my passions. Now, as I am an engineering studies and environmental studies double major, Prof. Cohen acts as my academic, independent study, and food/farm/technology/sustainability/engineering/environmental studies adviser. Through the conversations that Prof. Cohen has facilitated, academic decisions he has advised, and coursework he has assigned, I have cultivated my passion for sustainability and justice. My majors and the support from Prof. Cohen have helped me to develop a deeper understanding of myself and my interests. As a result, I feel confident that I will find a fulfilling and impactful career path.
“Both Prof. Cohen and Christine Cohen have, individually, been by my side through all the trials, tribulations, and successes of my past four years at Lafayette. They have helped pick me up when I was low and honored my accomplishments as if they were their own. They help me see the best in myself and ensure that I never sell myself short. They are my mentors, cheerleaders, teachers, and friends. I could not be more grateful to have had their constant positive presence in my life. I know that their impact reaches far beyond just me, and I will carry the lessons they have taught me about myself and life throughout the rest of my journey. Thank you to both of you for keeping me grounded through these crazy, unpredictable, and transformative years. I am forever grateful!”–Madeline Squarcia ’22