By the time they've graduated from high school, not many people have written textbooks or founded their own nonprofit — but Bucknell's Class of 2021, set to start New Student Orientation today, includes students who have accomplished those feats and more.
This year, the Office of Admissions received 10,253 applications from students across the country and around the world who were interested in attending Bucknell. Of that number, 988 students will arrive on campus from 31 states, the District of Columbia and 49 countries that range from Australia to Venezuela.
The enrolled students include 21.6 percent students of color and 10.6 percent first-generation college students. The class has an incoming average GPA of 3.7 and includes 172 students who earned merit-based scholarships.
"With 988 students, Bucknell is thrilled to enroll our largest incoming class in the history of the institution," said Marylyn Scott, interim dean of admissions. "These stellar individuals are accomplished, many having either conducted or contributed to research in a variety of areas, and they will add a strong sense of altruism and civic engagement to the community as many have contributed significant hours and talents to improving the lives of their local communities."
Who will be joining the Bucknell community this fall? Meet some of the first-year students here.
Hometown: Manhasset, N.Y.
Plans to study: Psychology
As a first-generation college student, Jin knows the importance of getting an education and being prepared for studies. After teaching English to students in a Burmese village as a high school junior, she noticed they all carried thin cloth backpacks that were inadequate in protecting their books and supplies against the climate, which includes frequent monsoons. She founded Kids for Kids International, which collects gently used backpacks and raises funds for Burmese students.
It's Jin's passion for these "international connections" and learning about the "interactions and relationships between people" that influenced her plans to major in psychology and minor in international relations. She is eager to explore both of those and more through Bucknell's Residential Colleges, which was a unique aspect that drew her to the University.
"I have always thought that it was important to encourage cooperation and communication between people of different majors and fields, as this mutual exchange allows for discussion to be multi-faceted and unrestricted to one viewpoint," Jin said. "Enrolling in a Residential College allows one to do just that, as students from different majors interested in a mutual topic can live and learn amongst one another."
Hometown: Bethlehem, Pa.
Plans to study: Engineering and management
Bailis has long had a love of music, playing the cello in his high school orchestra, band and string orchestra, and for the Young People's Philharmonic of the Lehigh Valley. His other passions? Robotics and engineering, the latter of which he plans to pursue at Bucknell.
"I was heavily involved with my high school's robotics team as one of the founding members and for the first time, I was able to experience real-world engineering and intense problem-solving scenarios," Bailis said. "Bucknell's unique five-year engineering program will allow me to explore the world of engineering while also developing my business acumen. I find this extremely attractive — it drives me toward my goal of being an innovative leader in the engineering community."
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia
Plans to study: Political science
A dedicated student, Gvilia received a gold medal from the Georgian Ministry of Education, the highest academic honor for a high school graduate, and was the Tbilisi delegate to the European Youth Parliament's economics committee, which worked on finding solutions to stop the widening of wealth gap in the European Union. Despite her interest in political science, however, she said she is drawn to diverse fields of study, such as economics, political science, finance, international relations and media — and Bucknell is the perfect place to explore her future.
"Considering its flexible liberal arts program, I chose to apply to Bucknell as I believe it will allow me to explore everything I am interested in and help me make a more conscious decision based on my experience," Gvilia said.
Hometown: Garden City, N.Y.
Plans to study: Accounting & financial management
Gormley had a busy high school schedule — maintaining the highest GPA on the lacrosse team, among other activities — but still found time to volunteer for six weeks every summer for the last several years at Camp ANCHOR, a camp for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. He also worked part-time at his mother's accounting firm, an experience that solidified his decision to pursue accounting & financial management at Bucknell — although he's also looking forward to taking classes outside of his comfort zone.
"I really like how students at Bucknell are able to take classes that are completely different from their major and that are unique to the school," Gormley said. "The ability to diversify oneself in a wide array of classes truly enable a Bucknell student to be well versed in many aspects before graduating from the University and entering one's intended career."
Hometown: Gujarat, India
Plans to study: Biomedical engineering
Vaidya will enter college having written a math textbook, The Wonderful World of Mathematics, which he compiled while teaching English, math and science to children in a tribal village near his hometown in India. He also worked under a biomedical engineer for the last two years and helped create a device that creates water waves to prevent mosquito breeding in stagnant water sources — a problem in a plethora of Indian cities. He said he is excited to continue biology-centered research at Bucknell as a Presidential Fellow.
"I am really looking forward to work with Professor Kenneth Mineart's presidential fellowship project of drug delivery systems via microcapsules," Vaidya said. "This experience is unique because along with doing research, I will be helping him set up his new lab at Bucknell — a rare and rewarding experience for a college freshman."
Stay up-to-date about the class as they join Bucknell at Class of 2021.