Anna Blackmon ’25 is a Spanish major and RA who keeps busy with a wide array of extracurricular activities—when she’s not enjoying the sunshine upstairs at Denim. She thanks her Presidential Scholarship for paving the way for her Dickinson experience and advises anyone else following that path to treat it as an adventure and keep an open mind. Here, she discusses classes as diverse as Health Professions and Philosophy of Punishment, why she wishes she could have met Mother Teresa and more.
Spanish (concentration in Hispanic studies) and philosophy minor
Clubs and Organizations:
Student Alumni Association, president; Philosophy Collective, treasurer; Philanthropy Fellow in the Office of College Advancement; resident advisor in Adams; Pi Beta Phi sorority, member; and Lyric Performance Practicum (LPP), singer
Presidential Scholar, Dean’s List and Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society. My Presidential Scholarship has made my Dickinson experience possible, and it has sparked increased opportunities for connection with President Jones, alumni and current students about their Dickinson experiences and beyond.
Straight Candid podcast on Spotify
Best thing about my major:
The experiential learning component. In the fall, I took Spanish for the Health Professions with Professor Asunción Arnedo. Over a 14-week span, my classmates and I were trained on interpretation/translation, cultural competency, Spanish language and medical terminology, herbal medicines and health disparities and common illness. We brought this knowledge into action, serving as medical interpreters and medical job shadows for healthcare workers in Franklin, Adams and Cumberland counties and increasing overall access to medical resources for migrant workers in the local area. This class completely shifted my perspective on global healthcare access and encouraged me to 1). think about the origins of the fruit I eat (e.g., who picked this apple? What did they undergo in the process?), 2). recognize (first-hand) the major health disparities in populations across the U.S., 3). recognize my own privilege (e.g., access to medical services for minimal cost) and 4). begin advocating for radical change.
Favorite place on campus:
Denim Coffee at the Quarry! I love doing my work on the top floor—the sunlight is always shining through the windows, and it’s a lovely space to sit and read.
This is a hard one! Every class at Dickinson has opened my eyes to a different perspective, shifted my understanding of the world and helped me learn something new about myself. If I had to choose, it would be Philosophy of Punishment with Assistant Professor of Philosophy Amy McKiernan. In this course, we studied various theories of punishment––retributivism, deterrence, rehabilitation, restorative justice, shame, expressivism and a unified theory of punishment. We read books about prison abolition and had in-depth class discussions on surveillance and the prison system in the U.S. By the end of this class, I found myself questioning our practices of judgment and punishment in the U.S.––are these practices necessary in the first place?––and thinking about the ways in which I am surveilled and monitored in my day-to-day life (e.g., Foucault’s “panopticon”).
As a kid, I wanted to be…
A first-grade teacher! Today, I am still interested in teaching (but in a different way)—perhaps teaching English in Spanish-speaking communities.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be…
Mother Theresa. I would love to work with her as a spiritual student, learning more about her connection with the Divine and any challenges she may have faced along the way.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
The importance of saying “no” and setting boundaries for yourself! (I’m currently writing a research paper in ethical theory on how we can care for ourselves—more details to come!)
Advice for younger students:
Don’t be afraid to adventure and take risks. You never know where the path might lead you!