Monday Meet and Greet: Ava Bertone

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Tell us about yourself!

Hi! I’m Ava, and I’m in my first year of the MA program. I was born and raised in northern New Jersey. I’m an only child. I have what all of my former (and, possibly, current — hi, Reagan) housemates would call an unhealthy passion for Halloween décor. At home in New Jersey, I have a toy poodle named Lola and three cats: Muffin, Amen, and Binx (stories behind their names available upon request). I’m incredibly clumsy and the stairs on this campus are not my friends… I once showed up to Prof. Lay’s Milton class actively bleeding through ripped jeans, after having fallen on my way to the building.

Why did you choose Lehigh?

I helped a family friend move into his first-year dorm here the summer before I started 8th grade. The campus felt incredibly collegiate to my 13-year-old self (although, I can’t say I feel much differently now). When I began my own college search, Lehigh was #1 on the list. I ultimately ended up applying Early Decision and, thankfully, got accepted. I certainly had my ups and downs during undergrad, but the English Department always felt like my place on this campus. It just felt right to apply here for grad school, too! Plus, I’m looking forward to learning more about social justice through the program’s LSJ emphasis.

What is your favorite book outside your field of study?

Anything by Mitch Albom, simply because his prose is evocative and beautiful. My top two favorites are The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie. I also have to include a children’s book called Lily’s Ghosts, by Laura Ruby. I reread it every summer because it reminds me of going to Scholastic book fairs as a kid. There’s something nice about the simplicity of returning to a childhood favorite!

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m hoping to get more involved within the department! Being here as a grad student feels so different from my undergrad experience, so I’m looking forward to exploring all that grad life has to offer. I’m also excited to continue working with some of my favorite professors in the department (as well as some new ones!) and building upon the academic interests I’ve cultivated over the last four years.

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