Student and Alumni/ae Spotlights

Stephen Wyssenski

Stephen hails from New Jersey and is studying psychology at Bard. He works as a laboratory assistant, finding time to write and act outside of class.

I was always the kind of person who raised his hand a lot in class. I didn’t apply to huge schools because I like being in a small class and getting to know my teachers. I knew I would get that at Bard. I’m in a research lab now with six other people and that’s such an awesome feeling. You’re held more accountable for your work, and the contact you have with professors in such a small group is invaluable. The faculty wants you to succeed. Bard gives you a lot of resources. I appreciate that and try to take advantage of it as much as possible, be it the spaces for research and study, the library, or all the academic publishing subscriptions we have.

Students at Bard are really enthusiastic about social justice. Hearing about what people around me were doing, I felt like I should get involved. Last summer, I received a Community Action Award to work with kids in New York City to reduce police misconduct. I write and do theater at Bard, too, which came in handy in my field assignments. I wrote presentations and trained high school students in public speaking, teaching them to do outreach with even younger students. I would go into neighborhoods, see a bunch of kids who had been in bad situations with the police, and tell them about their rights and about how to defuse a situation. The students I worked with were super inspiring—their drive to get involved and work for social justice at such a young age was amazing. I told a lot of them to apply to Bard! It was a fun organization to work for. It felt like I was doing something important and meaningful.

Naturally curious people are drawn to Bard. I’ve been exposed to so many things here that I had never thought about before. My roommate’s a film major and he also studies philosophy. He’s introduced me to all these films and new ideas. I meet tons of people here who really know their stuff in their particular field. I hear about it and it’s mind blowing. It’s made me think about new topics. The curiosity rubs off on you.