Alumna November Spotlight: Paige Calabrese '14

Catch up with 2014 graduate Paige Calabrese.

Name: Paige Calabrese
Year Graduated Westover: 2014
College/University attended: Providence College
College/University Graduation Year: 2018; Majors: Political science & Spanish, Minor: Philosophy; Honors: Magna Cum Laude, Phi Sigma Iota International Foreign Language Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha International Political Science Honor Society, Phi Sigma Tau International Philosophy Honor Society

1. Going from Westover to college that first year, how did Westover prepare you to head into a brand new environment, socially/academics, etc.?

In terms of academic rigor, my first year was a very smooth adjustment because Westover's workload was significantly heavier and my schedule was more packed. I noticed right away that I was able to manage my time significantly better and think more critically about the material than most of my classmates, and I absolutely owe that to Westover.

2. How did Westover give you the confidence to find yourself or find success in college?

Westover helped me build up courage to be myself and stand up for what I believe in, which helped drive me to try to new things and venture out of my comfort zone to meet new people. I always attribute that to having been in an environment where I was comfortable with the people around me but who also encouraged me to push limits and take risks so that I could grow and reach my full potential.

3. What is something you discovered about yourself during your four years? Meaning a new passion, deciding on a major, etc.?

About halfway through my sophomore year, I started looking for opportunities to establish new friendships and become more involved around campus. One night I saw a post on the sophomore class Facebook group advertising an open spot on the campus newspaper, The Cowl. Although I had never written for a publication before, writing had always been one of my strengths and passions, so I decided to give it a try. As a member of The Cowl, I met some of my best friends and I became the Associate Editor-in-Chief my senior year. Applying for The Cowl was one of the best, most rewarding leaps of faith I made in college and it shaped my experience and personal development more than I had ever anticipated.

4. Life after college: Since graduating, what are you up to? Pursuing graduate school/jumping into the workforce?

After graduating from PC, I decided to attend law school at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas.

5. How did you decide on what to do after graduating? What was that thought-process like for you?

Because of my love for reading, writing, research, and community, I knew from the time I was at Westover that law school was something I wanted to pursue. I had several different internship and networking experiences as I was determining what kind of law I wanted to practice, and I ultimately decided I wanted to practice law in a way that advances women's rights and fights violence against women. I am especially interested in international criminal prosecution, international human rights litigation, and international policy work. The pivotal experiences that led me to decide on pursuing this part of law were my Westover career, both national and PC campus issues affecting women, and my semester abroad in Spain during my junior year of college. These experiences ignited my passions for advocacy and traveling, and my goal for my legal career is to combine the two and improve conditions for women globally.

6. For you, how valuable are the Westover connections?

Westover is where I started coming into myself, and I owe a lot of who I am today to the friends I am still very close with, my academic teachers, and my dance teachers (shoutout to the Dance Department!). When I am able to see and talk to my Westover people, I am reminded of where I come from and who helped me get to where I am today.

7. For the upcoming Class of 2019, what advice would you give them as they prepare to start their senior year, college applications, and thinking about life after Westover?

Above all else, support each other. Even though the college application process is competitive and everyone is equally stressed about it, the best thing you can do is be an encouraging, uplifting force in the lives of the people around you because it truly makes a significant difference. Some of my favorite Westover memories were formed during my senior year, and I owe those to the people who supported me most and stood by me when I needed someone to lean on.