Laleh Ahmad ’20 and Sophia Krivatsy ’20 named new Athenaeum fellows

Since freshman year, Laleh Ahmad ’20 and Sophia Krivatsy ’20 have attended lunch and dinner events several times a week at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Even as life became busier for both at CMC, the rising seniors made sure their schedules had plenty of built-in “Ath time.”

“There’s never a question of not having enough time to go,” Ahmad said. “It’s one of the truly special parts of our CMC experience.”

As newly-announced Woolley Fellows, Ahmad and Krivatsy will be the student faces of the Ath during the 2019-20 academic year. Ath fellows oversee and facilitate events, including speaker introductions, head table conversations, and post-talk Q&As. Director Priya Junnar said both students were chosen because they not only demonstrated a love and passion for the Ath, but also a “deep appreciation and understanding of the special, important role the Ath embodies for the CMC community.”

Ahmad, of Karachi, Pakistan, is a history major with a human rights sequence. She is also senior class president-elect, a legal research assistant with the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights, and will be a first-year guide for the third time in fall. Krivatsy, of Honolulu, is a psychology and sociology dual major. She is a member of CMC Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, and this summer, will be a publicity intern with Sony Pictures in Los Angeles.

Neither student hesitated when asked about their favorite Ath talks. For Ahmad, it was hearing Robert Sapolsky, a neuroscientist at Stanford University, share research on the biology of good and evil, and Amal Kassir, a Syrian-American spoken word poet reflect on violence in the war-torn country. Krivatsy cited Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, and Rabia Chaudry, an attorney featured in the popular Serial podcast. The variety of their choices reveal what both value about the Ath as a communal learning experience meant to inspire diversity of thought and expertise. Or as Krivatsy put it: “There is nothing I love more than watching someone who is passionate about a subject share that knowledge with others.”

“I’m never going to be an organic chemistry major, but I still want to know the applications of the subject. I’m also not an international relations major, but I can still listen and be moved by hearing (ambassador) Wendy Sherman,” Ahmad added. “Ath talks have been so accessible to me that way. I go there to learn more about the world and myself.”

—Thomas Rozwadowski