Three Generations at Brandeis: Alana Abramson ’12, American Studies Graduate

BrandeisNOW features a story about Alana Abramsom, a 2012 graduate from the American Studies program and also a Gila Prize winner, and her mother and grandmother — all Brandeis graduates.

From the article:

Precisely because Brandeis was omnipresent while Alana growing up – she first visited campus as a nine-month-old for her mother’s 10th reunion and was back again five years later for her 15th – she wanted to be sure that she did not choose to attend Brandeis just for tradition’s sake.

“When Alana was younger, I always told her that she would go to Brandeis. I was just joking of course but she thought I was serious,” Naomi remembers. “It certainly was not preordained that she would attend the university.”

As a high school student, Alana visited several elite colleges and universities around the Northeast before deciding to apply to Brandeis as an early-decision candidate in November 2007. “It turned out that Brandeis had everything I was looking for,” Alana says.

Although they arrived on campus 32 years apart, Alana and Naomi each took a class with longtime American Studies Professor Jerry Cohen. According to Naomi, that may have been the only similarity in their academic experiences.

“I wasn’t half the student that Alana is,” Naomi explains. “She understood all the resources available to her and was a much more mature student. She just exploded intellectually and had a tremendous experience.”

Alana learned that the centrality of the unique Brandeis student-faculty connection to the overall academic experience was more than just admissions marketing hype. A political science and American studies double major, she met frequently with her professors and developed a particularly close relationship with Stephen Whitfield, Ph.D.’72, the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization. She took three of Whitfield’s courses and he served as her senior thesis adviser.

“It only takes one teacher to inspire you and make you believe in yourself and give you the courage to pursue your potential,” Susan says of the first of her nine grandchildren, who will graduate Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude.

Congratulations to Alana and to her family. Alana moves on to the Columbia University School of Journalism in the fall for graduate school.

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