"I love the person I've become at Bryn Mawr."
"I realized my passion for dance, education, and social-justice work while at Bryn Mawr. Through the encouragement of my dean, the generosity of the dance program, and the incredible opportunities available here, I'm able to realize my dreams in a way that I could never have imagined before coming here. If you had told me four years ago that I'd be packing up and moving to Africa to teach dance in disadvantaged communities outside of Cape Town, I would never have believed you. Bryn Mawr has challenged me, supported me, pushed me to pursue my passions, and has turned me into a person who cares intensely about the impact I'm making on the world."
Note: When Amanda Preston came to Bryn Mawr from Maine, the community she joined was far more ethnically and racially diverse than the one she had left. She had sought that in her undergraduate experience and was happy to find it, but she wasn't content to stay within her comfort zone and passively soak up the diversity nearby. Instead, she took the initiative in forging connections with students of many different backgrounds.
For Preston, a critical avenue to intercultural contact was dance. An avid hip-hop enthusiast with skills to spare, she joined several dance ensembles. But she didn't stop there: she also joined Mujeres, Bryn Mawr's Latina organization, and the Sisterhood, a campus group focusing on African-American issues. She spent her sophomore year living in Perry House, the College's Black Cultural Center; helped chair the Sisterhood's Black History Month celebration one year; and served as a student resource person during the Tri-Co Summer Institute on multicultural identity and leadership.
Through a Bryn Mawr summer internship grant, she spent a summer studying at the Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory in New York, where she also taught dance to preschool children; she taught hip-hop dance in London while studying abroad there. She is now working with Dance for All, a nonprofit that teaches dance to historically disadvantaged children and youth in Cape Town, South Africa.