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People @ Goddard

Avelynn Mitra

Before attending Goddard as an undergrad, my educational experience was quite varied, to say the least. I must have attended umpteen community colleges in various regions throughout the United States, as well as a small private school in Boston, and two large universities in Maryland. Meanwhile, I had a baby, and I was a single mom. When I found Goddard during one of their one-day orientations, I knew I found home! I loved the 8-day residencies. It was my “vacation” away from home—not that we didn’t do any “work.” I was challenged by both my peers and the faculty to really dig into my interests, because Goddard wasn’t about telling me what to learn. I learned how to learn on my own, and how to follow my nose, and how to “read” a book (you can ask me about this one) and take notes in ways that a conventional college wouldn’t ever have you learn! The independent study program was perfect for me because no one was forcing a syllabus into my hands and interpreting material for me. As an undergrad, I “studied” Asian American Gender Studies and Music, and as a graduate student, I specifically “studied” the Filipina-American Identity through videomaking, poetry, painting and music. As I learned about racial-cultural-gender identity, I raised my biracial son…and to this day, we continue to learn about identity. Through the BA and MFA programs, I learned that I didn’t have to go outside of my interests for my research to be validated. As a student, my video work was shown at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival and my poetry was published in the Pitkin Review – and those works would not have been made if Goddard hadn’t gently guided me through my process!