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OUS Student Profiles: Larissa Grijalva ’17

By Nali Byrd '19 on December 15, 2016

Hometown: Imperial, CA

Major: Educational Studies


Larissa Grijalva ’17

Class Year: 2017

What are you involved with on campus?

Other than OUS, I’m a part of Link Staff, Konosioni, Greek Life, This Is Not A Play About Sex and Vagina Monologues!


As a senior, what advice would you give younger students on campus?

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! Being at Colgate is not easy, but there are tons of ways to make it a little more bearable. I started doing at least one major thing I want to do a day (although lately it’s been more like 3 a day). No matter how much work I have, at the end of the day, I make sure I’ve done something I chose to do whether it’s watching a movie or going for a run or baking something.

In what ways have you felt OUS has impacted your time while at Colgate?

There’s a reason why OUS is a family. Having people who can both call you out on your bullshit but also be there for you at 3 a.m. is incredibly hard to find at a place like this, but it’s super necessary!! I’m so lucky to be part of my amazing ’17 OUS class. Also, shout out to Frank Frey and Frank Kuan who have been there for us since Day 1.

What has been the highlight of your Colgate experience thus far?

Despite the ways in which Colgate has failed me, it has also given me so so much. I am mostly thankful for all the people I’ve gotten to know over these past 4 years. I’d have to say that the highlight of my Colgate experience is getting to share it with my brothers.

OUS Greek Life Nali Byrd’19

By Nali Byrd '19 on November 25, 2016

Greek Organization: Kappa Kappa Gamma

1. What inspired you to rush?
I was inspired to rush for many reasons! My sister was in Kappa as well, and it was in Kappa that she met her best friends and made some of her favorite Colgate memories. Hearing all of those stories made me pretty excited to go through the process and see if there were a house and a group of women that stuck out to me. I was also pretty excited to meet a lot of new women my age and older and make lasting connections!

Nali Byrd ’19

2. What has been your favorite thing about being in your organization so far?

My favorite thing about being in Kappa so far has been the amount of support and love that is felt around the room when we are all together. It was a crazy process to go from not knowing most of the girls in the organization to knowing them all within a matter of a few weeks! Being from Los Angeles, I am constantly homesick when I am at Colgate, and through Kappa, I gained amazing friends and even more importantly so many new sisters.
3. What advice would you give to students who may be considering rush next fall?
Don’t lose yourself in the process! It is really important to not try to change who you are to try to fit what you think a certain organization may be looking for. If you are the right fit for an organization and you are true to yourself, it will work out in the end! Also, try not to stress. It can be an intimidating process; I know I was SO nervous. Remember to try to just have fun. Enjoy getting a little fancy for the events you’ll attend, and treat yourself to the free food you’ll be served.
4. What challenges have you faced, if any, and how have you handled these challenges?
The biggest challenge I have faced is convincing my parents that I am not involved in greek life solely for the social reasons! My parents were the type that freaked out a little when they heard I was rushing and thought my grades would suffer as a result. However, with a lot of communication, I proved to them that joining a sorority has only positively added to my Colgate experience. Not everyone was hyped about my decision to rush a sorority and that was hard, but I knew it was my decision to make and I have absolutely no regrets!

OUS Greek Life: Kaine Brown’19 and Max Michael’19

By Nali Byrd '19 on November 17, 2016

Greek Organization
: Phi Kappa Tau
1. What inspired you to rush?
Kaine: I was inspired to rush because of the connections that I could make post-Colgate. I also wanted to meet more guys that would become my brothers.
Max: My friends and I thought it’d be a fun thing to do.

2. What has been your favorite thing about being in your
organization so far?

Max: Everyone in my organization. When I walk into the house, I feel like I’m somewhere where I am 100% welcome. It’s not a space where I look like everyone or have had the same experiences but at the same time I can feel that my brothers do genuinely care about me.

Kaine: My favorite thing about joining Phi Kappa Tau is all of the strong bonds I have developed. I have really enjoyed attending family dinners at the house, watching movies, and doing homework with my brothers.
3. What advice would you give to students who may be considering rush next fall?
Kaine: I would advise students who may be considering rushing to fully explore all of the options. It can be a time-consuming process, so I would say it is really important to get your work done early so you can just focus on having fun at night. While the process is stressful, it is also really fun, so just remember to enjoy yourself.
Max: Definitely do it. Like even if you’re not 100% sold on the idea it’s just a fun experience to go through and if you find a place on campus where you can find additional support then that’s lit!
4. What challenges have you faced if any and how have you handled these challenges?
Kaine: There are a lot of negative stereotypes about fraternities and what they represent. Dealing with people making assumptions about you when you say your in an organization can be hard, but at the end of the day you know what your organization represents and it is something to be proud of!

Max Michael’ 19


Kaine Brown’ 19

OUS/ First Gen House: A Home Away From Home

By Nali Byrd '19 on October 26, 2016

This past summer, the OUS/ First Gen house was completely renovated including new floors, computer labs, a lounge with a television and video game area, homework space, a group study room and printers! Upstairs are the offices of OUS Directors Frank Frey and Frank Kuan, Graduate Residential Fellow Salote Tenisi ’15 and  Assistant Dean and Director of First Generations Program Drea Finley ’13. The house is open to all OUS students, First Generation students and their friends. Students are constantly found using the space to work on homework together, cook dinner for one another or just hang out and watch a movie.

Students serving food at a family dinner!

One first-year student was asked where his favorite place on campus was, and he replied “my favorite place on campus is the OUS/ First Gen house. Sometimes it gets hard to be so far away from your family when you are at college and the house became my home away from home”.

Two biology students agreed that they have no idea what they would do without the group study room in the house. “We are always meeting here before exams with our peers to go over notes and study together”.

Students have even utilized the house to host performances and get-togethers. Often times, different themed nights occur in the house such as poetry night, where students gather and recite different work and share new ideas with friends.


For everyone, family dinners in the house are a very cherished time. Students from all four years as well as Frank Frey, Frank Kuan, Drea and Salote come together to enjoy a great meal and just catch up with one another.

The OUS house is a place for students to unwind, get work done, relax, and have fun with one another. Many students cannot imagine their time at Colgate without having the house as their sanctuary!

The house is also equipped with an extensive library!

The house is also equipped with an extensive library where students can often find their textbooks!

Valeria Felix '18 working in the living room

Valeria Felix ’18 working in the living room.

OUS Student Athlete: Regine Cooper ’19

By Nali Byrd '19 on October 12, 2016

Name: Regine (Ré) Cooper

Hometown: Fort Meyers, Florida

Major/ Minor: Political Science/Economics

Q1: Describe your Colgate experience so far in a few sentences?
Colgate has been “like a wake-up”. I have grown up so much. Although the school is challenging in multiple ways, it will pay off in the future.
Q2: What activities are you involved in on campus?
I am a Varsity Track & Field athlete, and I am also involved with TIA (Thought Into Action).
Q3: What is the most challenging thing about being a student-athlete?
Being a student-athlete means you are tired.  Those 6am lifts with those long nights mean you have to have great time management. It can be stressful at times. But I love Track & Field because it gives me the sports community and friends. It also connects me to more alumni. I also love to challenge myself.


OUS Student Athlete: Abu Daramy ’20

By Nali Byrd '19 on September 27, 2016

Name: Abu Daramy

Class Year: 2020

Q1: What was the highlight of your OUS experience?

The highlight of my OUS experience was when we went on a trip to the amusement park, Darien Lake. I had a lot of fun there and had a chance to bond with the other OUS kids more.

Q2:  What activities are you involved in on campus?

As of right now, the football team is the only thing I’m affiliated with. But after the season is over, I’m looking to try out for the dance group “Melanated”.
Abu at the Colgate field

Q3: What is the most challenging thing about being a student-athlete?

The most challenging part of being a student-athlete is trying to balance out school and sports. Because of the time-constraint, it’s hard to try and do the same amount of work as students who don’t play sports. There is lifting, meetings, and practices throughout the day that are mandatory, and then there is traveling for games. It is possible and has been done by many, but it is still very difficult.

Q4: Why do you love football?

This might sound very cliché, but I didn’t go out searching for a sport to play. Football found me at a very young age. All of my cousins played and my brother played. Ever since I was first introduced to the game at the age of 5, I couldn’t stay away from it. Being on a football field lets me let go of all of my worries in the world and makes me feel like I’m in a whole different world with my teammates whether in practice or a game. And it also gives me the opportunity to hit someone as hard as I can without getting in trouble for it.

Senior Reflection: Kalani Byrd ’16

By Nali Byrd '19 on May 4, 2016

Name: Kalani Byrd

Major/Minor: Peace & Conflict Studies/Psychology

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

1. What type of activities are you involved in on campus?

On campus, I have held a number of work-related positions. I worked as a Research Assistant
for Dr. Tomlinson in the Psychology Department for two years and as a Student
Caller for the Office of the Annual Fund. I also spent time working in the Merchandising Department of the Colgate Bookstore. I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and have served on its philanthropy committee throughout my membership. In my senior year, I was the Vice President of Colgate’s Panhellenic Council, which works closely with Colgate’s Administration and the Interfraternity Council to ensure that sorority life runs smoothly on campus.

2. What legacy/ idea are you hoping to leave at Colgate when you graduate?12715746_10208461214072868_7413871080801491141_n

I want people to see that a first-generation woman of color can be successful at Colgate. It was a blessing for me to have the opportunity to attend this university and I did everything I could to reap the benefits, enjoy my time here and set myself up for future success. Colgate is such a generous place and you definitely can find the right people here to help you do well and support you along the way. I also want to leave people understanding that despite some flaws in the system, there can be a place for women of color in Greek Life at Colgate, seeing as I have had such a positive experience and have found some of my best friends through it. Finally, I hope I leave people with an understanding that you do not have to study something “mainstream” or “expected” to be successful. You should absolutely only do what you want to do; I started out on the pre-med track, changed to Peace & Conflict studies because it’s what I truly loved studying, and still have a great job lined up after I graduate!

3. How has being in OUS impacted your college experience? Do you see OUS impacting your life after Colgate?

OUS has tremendously impacted my time here at Colgate. Although I was so annoyed back then to be spending my last summer before college taking classes here, I’ve come to realize that it was all totally worth it. Having those two classes and the experience of those two classes really prepared me for Colgate’s academic challenges. Having a family of faculty and professors who I can go to when I need literally anything at all, has been invaluable. Some of my very best friends who I know I will be with for life I also found from that summer and OUS. These are memories and people that are going to be with me for a lifetime – and for that, I am forever grateful to OUS


Senior Reflection: Joe Aiken ’16

By Nali Byrd '19 on May 4, 2016

Name: Joshua (Joe) Aiken

Major: Philosophy

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

1. What type of activities are you involved in on campus?

I spent time on the Link staff, worked as an SGA campaign manager (my team was elected obviously), spoke in the In Your Company segment of freshman orientation, performed in This Is Not a Play About Sex (positive sexuality initiative on campus), acted as the Philanthropy Chair for Phi Kappa Tau, served as the Interfraternity Council President, and will graduate as a member of the Konosioni Senior Honor Society. 

2. What legacy/ idea are you hoping to leave at Colgate when you graduate? 

12662536_1103789526308076_7305669647273720627_nAll these accolades and involvements are fine, but I kind of lost steam by the end of my spring
semester junior year. It’s not that I was burnt out from the work. I think I just became unenthused by my surroundings. Colgate is a school of accomplishment and we even speak in a language of accomplishment: “I worked here last summer. I am working there next
summer. I just left (x) important meeting, now I am en route to a more important meeting.” These things become draining after a while, and I realized that I was working to prove a point that’s not worth proving to people that wh0 [for the most part] are of no consequence to my life. So, to end this long winded response, I’d like to leave behind the legacy of ‘doin’ you’ — whatever that may constitute. Make a way, make things happens, and grab a ‘yes’ in a room full of no’s.

3. How has being in OUS impacted your college experience? Do you see OUS impacting your life after Colgate?

OUS has already impacted my life after Colgate. During the summer program, I met four guys who will forever be my brothers. These are the individuals who will be the best men at my wedding. OUS has enabled me to acquire resources and friendships that I wouldn’t have been able to survive college without — and for that — I am forever indebted to the program. I do not get the chance to vocalize this often, but I attribute all of my success to Frank Frey, Frank Kuan, Andrea Finley, Professor Spires, and all of the other key players in the OUS family. 


Senior Reflection: Elsa Gomez ’16

By Nali Byrd '19 on May 4, 2016

Name: Elsa Gomez Pena

Major/Minor: International Relations/Economics

Hometown: Sonoma, California

1. As a senior who is about to graduate, how would you sum up your last four years at Colgate?

It’s incredibly shocking to realize how fast these past four years have gone by.  I still remember OUS Summer Institute as if it were yesterday.  Over the past four years, I have taken incredibly stimulating courses, met brilliant professors, and have made life long friends.  I cannot condense my time here into a few sentences, but I know that I would not change my experience for the world.  If I had to use three words to describe my experience, they would be coffee, procrastination, and Google.

2. How has being in OUS impacted your college experience? Do you see OUS 10609576_10203629164121307_3302096161910072407_nimpacting your life after Colgate?

As a first-generation college student, I definitely think OUS was necessary to prepare me for what the Colgate curriculum would entail.  It helped me become acquainted with the workload and how to manage it, as well as constantly giving me the support I need in everything from job search to graduation logistics.  I will carry the experiences and friends I have made through OUS with me for the rest of my life.

3. What advice would you give incoming OUS freshman?

Honestly, as corny as this may sound, life’s way too short to sweat the little things.  Do what you are passionate about, be happy, and HAVE FUN.  Also, figure out what work technique works for you.  If you are a procrastinator, embrace it, enjoy your day, watch Netflix, and get it done. Ultimately, no one ever thinks back to the nights spent sleeping. Elsa out.

Meet D’Andre Stamper ’19

By Nali Byrd '19 on April 5, 2016

Name: D’Andre Eugene Lee Stamper

Intended Major: Computer Science, Mathematics, or Spanish

Hometown: East Palo Alto, California

What clubs are you a part of at Colgate?IMG_25221
Here at Colgate, I participate in Brothers, BSU, Ultimate Frisbee, and the Sojourners Choir Group.

In what ways do you feel that OUS prepared you for your first year of college?
OUS has prepared me for college because it has provided me with a very strong friend group here on Colgate’s campus. Also, the OUS Summer Institute gave me a first-hand look at what actual college classes are like.

What job do you have on campus?
My campus job is working for Campus Safety. I check emergency lights for almost all of the buildings on campus. Since Campus Safety works closely with EHS (Environmental Health and Safety), I also am affiliated with that office as a student worker; as such, I get to see a different side of the Campus Safety department as well as EHS that other students don’t normally get to see, which is so cool!

What are you most looking forward to next year?
I decided to apply for the Sophomore Residential Seminars  (SRS) program next year. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn and grow in a community where students share the same passions and interests as me! I got into the SRS Challenges of Modernity course focused on Istanbul. I am looking forward to challenging myself and my peers throughout the course in order to push the ideas, questions, and answers that are presented in the class!