Aurora Lenz-Watson '09
East of Lake Pennesseewassee lies little Norway, Maine, population 4,611 as of the 2000 census, home to Green Mountain College senior Aurora Lenz-Watson. Her parents were influential early, Aurora says. “My parents really focused on education. They both were very passionate about learning. They passed that on to me. It’s what I enjoy doing most.”
After a high school AP psychology class, Aurora found herself drawn to the study of human behavior. “I don’t think anyone has what it means to be human completely figured out, like ‘Oh! I know exactly what it means!', " she says. “I’m interested in psychology to take pieces and try to figure out certain aspects of what it means to be human.”
Upon arriving at Green Mountain College, she discovered gender studies. “When I took my first few women’s studies classes I felt like blinders had been taken off of my eyes,” she says. “I realized that in everyday interactions people say a lot and don’t realize they are saying it. These things are right in front of me and I just didn’t see them.”
She slowly shaped her college education to mirror her interests, double-majoring in psychology and a self-designed women’s studies degree, combining the separate studies into a concentration in social psychology.
“It’s nice that there aren’t many graduate students here because I was able to work as a research assistant for Alan Marwine, and that really opened up doors. I was able to work on further research projects with all three psychology professors here. They really helped me a lot with getting into graduate school, especially Jen Sellers, who also went into social psychology.”
Aurora’s passion for learning has paid off: Not only has she already completed her studies, she has been accepted to PhD programs at Penn State and UVM. As she gets ready to walk with her graduation class in May, she is keeping busy completing research projects with Vance Jackson, and is grateful for her GMC experience.
“I want to live my life in a sustainable way it’s really built that way at GMC. I definitely had a good environmental education, and even if my career doesn’t relate to that, it will be an important part of my life.”