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Class of 2021: Valerie Galderisi

Valerie Galderisi explored the myth of childhood in “Peter and Wendy” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” for her English capstone and learned techniques she can incorporate into her classroom someday while exploring the world with the opportunities McDaniel has offered. The English and American Sign Language double major plans to pursue her master’s degree in Deaf Education at McDaniel, and no doubt will continue to leave footprints while tailgating with her Phi Mu sisters in the stadium bowl.

Valerie Galderisi

Valerie Galderisi is an English and American Sign Language double major with a minor in Secondary Education from Upper Township, New Jersey.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: at ease, I knew it was meant to be.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: someone who has grown tremendously with the amount of support and guidance that everyone dreams of.

Real world experiences: I have been a first look facilitator, which is a student mentor for the First Year Seminar classes, for the Hoover Library, and I was able to study abroad in Budapest Fall of 2019. I loved both opportunities equally. By working with the library, I learned so much about cataloging, valuable techniques that I can incorporate in the classroom, and learned how to research correctly. I was blessed with the opportunity to study in Budapest and go to 13 countries while I was there, then I did an independent study with a trip to Japan. McDaniel has also been amazing with my dreams to become a teacher. They had me observing and teaching in the classroom setting as earlier as my sophomore year.

Aha moment: Shakespeare created the word alligator.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill:  can be found in the Phi Mu clubroom, tailgating area for the football field, Merritt and Hill Hall, and lastly the lovely Hoover Library.

Professor who most influenced who I have become: English professor Dr. Paul Zajac because not only do you see the passion he has for teaching English, but as a person truly made me feel excited to learn English. His teaching methods and dedication to his students are something that I personally strive to do/be with my own students.

My mentor. For life.: Professor Andrea Briggs. She was an adjunct professor at the college who taught Introduction to College Writing and was the archivist for the Hoover Library. She was a perfect fit for my first year at college. I am a first-generation college student and was extremely nervous entering this new scene, and she not only made me feel at home at the school but also answered any questions I had. She was always available to help me with my school work or to just talk about things going on at the school and personal interests. She helped showed me the beauty that McDaniel has to offer.

Best class ever: There are way too many classes to choose from, but I would have to say my favorite classes were when I studied abroad in Budapest. The classes are called Garden to Table and Cultural Production in Europe. On the main campus, I would have to say Mathematical Excursion with Professor Michele Gribben (I know crazy it’s not an English class) because not only is the professor extremely sweet but also because this was the first time I had a tremendous amount of friends in the class. It was extremely fun being able to work with all of them. Another class that I will always recommend for someone to take is Lifetime Fitness and Health with Professor Tara Bartolain. I learned almost everything I could from this woman when it came to not only physical health but mental health as well. She was always there for me to ask questions about the material and showed genuine concern and care for her students. There have been multiple times when I needed guidance about having a healthy lifestyle, and she always took time out of her personal day to give it to me.

Took me totally by surprise: was that McDaniel actually is on a Hill with a tailgating bowl stadium, and that I was able to travel to my #1 place with the school: Japan.

My favorite spot on campus: would have to be either the library or Red Square on a nice spring or summer day.

Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: That there is such a place as Ocean City, Maryland. I went to high school at Ocean City, New Jersey, and never knew there was another one! It has been an ongoing joke with my friends and I which Ocean City is better.

My capstone: “Why You So Obsessed with Me?”: Humanity Clinging to Childhood in “Peter Pan” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”

What it’s about:  How humanity is obsessed with the timeless notion known as the myth of childhood, because a myth can be an ideology that is a repetitive topic in the human’s psyche. So much so in fact that it led to the creation of “Peter and Wendy” by James Matthew Barrie and “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones. Which then accurately portrays how humanity deals with childhood as either being frozen in time like Peter Pan or maturing into adults like Howl.

Capstone translated: That a myth is not just mythology seen in Greek or Roman; it is also an idea and culture. And that these two stories that are popular in society represent how humanity actively lives with their childhood which shows just how obsessed they are with the idea of it.

What’s next: After graduation my goal is to try and enter McDaniel’s Deaf Education master’s program while substitute teaching. And maybe, just maybe go to school for my doctorate in Mythology and Folklore.

About Valerie

Name: Valerie Galderisi

Major: English and American Sign Language (ASL)

Minor: Education

Class of 2021