Faith Oakes hails from a small town called Auburn in northern California. She is currently a senior and residence assistant at the University of Dallas, where she majors in English with a minor in Computer Science. She was an ISI Honors Scholar last year (2015-16). When she's not writing for UD's University News publication and interning with the Office of Undergraduate Admission, she enjoys reading poetry, debating politics, and playing soccer.
- How did you find out about ISI? What drew you to get involved in ISI's programming?
I discovered ISI after one of my dear friends, Melody Wood, who is an Honors alumna, recommended the program to me. My first ISI conference was the West Coast Honors conference in Seabeck.
- If you had to choose one highlight of your undergraduate experience, what would it be?
Aside from ISI (which has been incredible), I would probably have to say my semester abroad. The University of Dallas has an incredible Rome program. We read Greek tragedies in the amphitheaters they were written for and study some of the greatest art and architecture of Western civilization in cities that brought that beauty to life. The Rome semester is immersive—sometimes in the most unexpected ways. Once, I accidentally happened upon a beautiful church with a statue of St. Teresa of Avila, the patroness of my home parish. It's those little moments of surprise and awe that, for me, are the most incredible part of the Rome experience, and why I would say that it’s the highlight of my undergraduate experience.
- What have you valued most about your ISI experience?
The defining facet of the ISI experience has been the people, both students and professors. I always appreciate the conversations that we have, both in and out of the formal sessions, and I think it really speaks to the character and caliber of people that ISI attracts. I’m so honored to have been included in this incredible group.
- How have you spent your summers while in college?
I spent my first and second summers at home, working, while I saved for my Rome semester. This summer I started interning in the Office of Admissions here at UD.
- Whom do you admire most, and why?
This is a really hard question to answer. I’m tempted to say something impressively intellectual, but I think the honest answer is my parents. I was homeschooled from kindergarten all the way through high school, and I’m so thankful for the sacrifices they made so that I could have an excellent education. Both then and now, my parents are the best teachers and biggest supporters I could ever have.
- What advice would you give to other students who want to preserve the principles of liberty?
I think as an English major, I might be a little biased, but my answer would be to read. Read the Great Books of Western civilization like your life depends on it! And then have conversations with peers and professors alike.