Life as a Mountain Hawk: Daphnee McMaster

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The first thing one notices about Daphnee McMaster is her big smile and her even bigger personality. Lehigh University Professor John Savage said “Daphnee is an irrepressible spirit.”

McMaster is a senior at Lehigh University and has recently been reflecting on her last four years as a mountain hawk. She will graduate this spring with a degree in both Global Studies and English.

During her time at Lehigh McMaster has fully immersed herself in a wide variety of clubs. She is a member of both the acapella club and the club rugby team. She works as a career ambassador, manages the men’s basketball team and works in video productions for Lehigh’s IMRC and study abroad programs.

She embodies the very essence of a busy college student. Yet she never seems stressed. McMaster takes everything in stride and meets every challenge with a bright smile and willingness to give her best.

While at Lehigh McMaster had the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland and to work abroad in Italy. Lehigh University Professor Jack Lule said, “Daphnee was made to travel the world. She is so happy and open and friendly that people naturally gravitate to her. She can make friends in any city in any country in the world.”

McMaster’s experiences in Ireland were not quite what she had expected and in her opinion being an African American international student was a very different experience. She said, “I don’t think many people realize that it is rude to put their hands in someone else’s hair without asking.”

However, she did love the school that she attended which is called NUI Galway. She said that she became friends with the other international students and that the staff was extremely considerate and funny.

It seems Professor Lule’s statement was true: McMaster really can make friends in any city in any country in the world.

As a sophomore, McMaster was selected to be a part of the Iaccoca Internship Program in Milan. While there she worked as marketing and social media intern for Ufuud. She said, “It was honestly my favorite time abroad.”

Lule said, “I selected her for the Iacocca Internship in Milan because I knew not only would she perform wonderfully but that her confidence would also help the performance of the other students. She got a great deal out of the internship and helped the other students as well. And, of course, the Italians loved her.”

McMaster is very fond of Lule and refers to him as “the man”. She cites him as a driving force behind her decision to select Global Studies as a major and said “I’ve valued the major so much more because of him.”

At Lehigh McMaster is truly loved by her professors who remember her for her big voice and strong opinions. “Daphnee is a very bright student who never shies away from a discussion topic,” said Global Studies Program director Bruce Whitehouse. “That’s just the kind of student we want.”

In fact group discussions are one of Daphnee’s favorite things about her classes. She loves that her classes give her the opportunity to exchange different perceptions of the world and engage in challenging debates.

She feels that her Global Studies major allows her to take a wide variety of classes and that these classes both teach and discuss a diverse array of topics that are imperative to understanding everyday life.

“Students learn a lot about their perceptions of the world and how little they actually know about globalization and the changing world,” McMaster said of the Global Studies major.

She said her all-time favorite class was “Histories of Globalization” which was taught by Professor John Savage.

In the class she read a book called The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein which she said dramatically changed the way that she views the world.

McMaster said that the class touches on topics like politics, women’s roles in society and the creation of poverty and violence in particular areas. She said, “It is all around an amazing class.”

Savage thinks very highly of McMaster. “She often helps us remember the human dimension of the big structural trends we’re looking at, and she has a feel for the political side of even the smallest microhistories,” he said. “She’s comfortable with the messiness of history.”

McMaster feels that her comfort “with the messiness of history” has made her a better writer and English major.

“Global studies helps me to develop story ideas that utilize life outside of America,” she said. “I am also more sensitive to certain topics because of my Global Studies major.”

After college McMaster plans to work in marketing and advertising before going to graduate school to pursue a degree in film production.

As Professor Lule put it, “She is very confident and rooted but also very curious about the world and how she can learn more about it.” McMaster’s passion for life and the world around her will carry her far, and her friends and mentors are excited to see where she goes next.

 

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