Sean Fitzpatrick

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Student Info

Graduation Year:
Spring 2015
Hometown:
Plymouth, Michigan

How did you decide on RCAH?
Michigan State wasn't really on my radar, but my grandma went here, so I had to at least go on a tour. I went to Green Carpet Day the summer after my junior year of high school, and while I found myself nodding along with the Honors College's presentation and was forced to admit that the campus was at least a little bit beautiful, it was still a courtesy call. On a whim, I chose to attend the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities' breakout session--the word philosophy was in the description, and history, too, so I decided to take a chance on it. I'm so glad I did. I heard a couple of students describing what the courses were like--intimate discussions with amazing professors, topics ranging from Black English to Appalachian poetry to Greek mythology--and something clicked. I remember whispering to my dad that this must be the place. It was sealed by a tour of Snyder-Phillips, which just felt like home.

What are your academic interests?
My academic interests are all over the place. I've taken and loved classes focused on everything from Appalachian literature and poetry to linguistics to contemporary American politics. I've come to gravitate toward local government, which has become a real passion of mine and a focus of my research. As you can probably tell, I'm a bit scatterbrained with interests all over the place. What's been amazing about my time at Michigan State is how I've been able to not just indulge these varied passions but also to connect them together and make them a part of a greater whole. In addition to my RCAH major, I'm double majoring in Interdisciplinary Social Science with a concentration in Community Governance and Advocacy along with Specializations in Peace and Justice Studies and Cognitive Science. These sound disparate, but I'm constantly making connections between my RCAH work and my other interests, and I can't tell you how many times I've been able to apply something I learned in one class to another in a way that made both more meaningful. That, to me, is the great benefit of interdisciplinary studies.  It's not just that you get to take classes in a lot of different departments, it's that you get to connect everything together.

What are your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
I love the RCAH's classes. There is something so incredible about the enthusiasm everyone brings to the classroom. Professors are engaged and passionate about their topics. Students give their all and help one another work through topics both big and small. The community of the RCAH is a special one, and I don't think there's anywhere that's more evident than during class times. The content also continually blows me away. I promise that not every college can throw a party when the next year's classes are announced. I feel like I've belabored this point a little bit already, but if you're reading this while considering RCAH for college, I can't recommend highly enough that you read through the course descriptions on this website.

What are your future plans?
I want to work in local government connecting citizens with their administration. What exact form that takes I'm still uncertain, but I'm fortunate enough to have incredible support and advice within the RCAH that I'm confident I'll find a way to make it happen.

What are your hobbies and interests within and outside of RCAH?
I'm a part of a group called Compass, which provides space for dialogues on gender equality and advocates against sexual assault at Michigan State. This has been an incredible opportunity to learn and grow with friends and peers. I'm also a research assistant helping investigate the causes of fiscal stress in cities. I also make crossword puzzles, play board games, and take advantage of Michigan State's excellent library, along with more typical college-y stuff.

Have you ever taken part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?  If so, which programs?
I haven't been abroad yet, but this coming summer I'm going with Dean Esquith to a program in Mali to help work on dialogue and reconciliation, a prospect I couldn't be more excited about.