Following the opening of the exhibit “Here, Having Been There” curated by Andrew Cushing ’12 and Marta Misiulaityte ’14, students have been encouraged to join a discussion about socioeconomic diversity on campus. The discussion that followed stimulated thoughts about what made “home” different for me, personally. 

Home has always been a transient concept for me .

Characterizing my home in a photograph helped me visualize and conceptualize a part of me I’ve never addressed head on. For years I have lived in and out of “homeless” shelters, houses provided by housing assistance programs ,and rental homes. Although none of these may be the most traditional candidates for “home,” for me they have embodied every aspect of a home I have ever needed: Safety, warmth and family unity. But the home in the photograph is especially poignant and meaningful, as it represents my childhood spent in ephemeral living spaces. 

After being named an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist in 2012 and gaining national media attention for my achievement in the face of adversity, that home became the most meaningful part of my entire award experience. My home was a gift from our county executive for my achievements. At the time, the gift of a house seemed unfathomable. To this day, it seems unbelievable that the place I have resided in and have cherished, a place that is and has been and continues to be fundamental to my very being, was the result of boundless generosity.