Name: Sofía Carolina Pèrez Wernick 

Field of Study: French and Francophone Studies (Minor in German)

Status: Undergraduate student  

Graduation Year: 2021

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Why did you choose Catholic University? There were many elements involved in my decision, but being invited into Dr. [Jennifer] Paxton's office and chatting about our admiration of Eleanor of Aquitaine and discussing St. Joan of Arc with Dr. [Nora] Heimann were two moments on Odyssey Day of 2018 that made a huge impact. When speaking to these faculty members, all I could think was, "I have to go to this school if these are the kinds of professors that would be teaching me!" In addition, several of my friends were already students here. Hearing their insider perspective on the school, I assumed that there would be pros and cons to weigh before making a decision, like with anything. However, the reviews I got from my upperclassmen friends were only and all wonderful.

"CatholicU is a place that values both faith and academics, and as a result, is truly open-minded."
– Sofía Pèrez Wernick 

What activities have you been involved with? During my time at CatholicU I have mostly been involved with the modern languages department as treasurer of both the French and German clubs. As I also study Arabic and Mandarin, (when I can fit them in my class schedule!), one of my favorite things to do is to help represent the different language clubs at Fall Festival or events for prospective students. Other great events that I have enjoyed participating in were taking groups of students to Café Berlin or the National Gallery of Art for German Club and helping to host French Conversation Hours and Crêpe Feasts with the French Club.

What are your goals for the future? As of right now, my twenty and a half-year-old self hopes to: graduate college in May 2021 (I vowed to graduate in three years when I entered university, and I am on track to fulfill this goal this May!), become a polyglot (I have 4 out of my 6 languages down so far!), write novels (I'm editing my first one now), and to advocate internationally for truth and freedom in the future, however God wills it. I also wouldn't mind becoming a world-class flamenco dancer, but that's on the back burner for now.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on you? One professor to whom I am deeply indebted is Dr. Nora Heimann of the art department. As a prospective student, she invited me into her office to chat about art history and St. Joan of Arc and made me a cup of tea. Art history is one of my great passions, and so getting to discuss my favorite paintings and artists with someone so knowledgeable was a wonderful treat. After our conversation, I had no doubts in my mind about where I wanted to go to college. I had hoped to take several classes with Dr. Heimann while at CatholicU, but unfortunately, my schedule did not afford me space to take extra art history classes until this past semester when I had the opportunity to participate in HSLS 352: Honors Art and Culture in Paris. Needless to say, I was over the moon. A whole semester of class time and office hours with Dr. Heimann was what I had been waiting for all this time! Though our subject matter was Parisian art and culture, I learned so much more. Even the grace, patience, and elegance with which Dr. Heimann conducts herself taught me so much about who I want to be in the future. I cannot be more grateful to her, and highly recommend any course of hers to my peers. 

What makes Catholic University unique? CatholicU is a place that values both faith and academics, and as a result, is truly open-minded. By understanding the necessity of both in the University community, it creates a space where students can grow intellectually and spiritually, which I believe is how all learning should be.

Awards/recognition: Besides being a student of the Honors Program, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has asked me to speak at their events for students several times, about varying subjects ranging from how to tackle language learning or the possibilities that being multilingual opens. Getting to promote a department and subject matter that I feel so passionate about to my fellow students has truly been a great honor.

Proudest accomplishment: There are many things that I am grateful for, but honestly, each of the things that I have to be proud of has been made possible because of the hard work of others on my behalf! My advisors have patiently listened to me for hours as I considered each of the possibilities available in my future; my professors have answered my endless strings of questions in class and in office hours, and have given me the constructive criticism I needed to grow as a student; my peers have provided me with the encouragement and perspective I needed to persevere even when I was experiencing difficulties in class or in my personal life; the workers at the Pryz have become wonderful friends, always ready to give out hugs when I needed them and ask about how I was doing. Without these people, I couldn't have done half of what I have accomplished. So, to answer the question, I guess I would say that I am most proud of the CatholicU community, and the wonderful education that it has facilitated for me. After that, I would give myself credit for my curiosity and gumption, especially in face of financial challenges, a very long commute, working a part-time job throughout college, and 2020 in general!

What Catholic University means to you: As a Cuban, non-denominational Christian of Jewish heritage from Miami, whose childhood was spent in locations ranging from a hippie farming community in Massachusetts to the streets of Granada, Nicaragua, I am able to adapt to and appreciate many different circumstances. That said, very few of the places where I have lived have felt like home, as I have had to move away just as I was spreading roots. At CatholicU, I have finally found a lasting community that fulfills my wish. Even though I do not fit the typical profile of a CatholicU student, I have found that my peers and I have much more in common than not. They are some of the kindest, most thoughtful, intelligent, and dedicated people I know. What makes this school special to me is that it truly is a community centered on faith and directed towards the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. I feel very lucky to call The Catholic University of America my alma mater.