• Baker Institute Team

"Confidence in the value of your own wealth of knowledge is the key."


Isabela Madrigal '20 | Software Engineering

Major | IDEAS: Computer Science and Communications

Minor| Latin American and Latino Studies

Hometown | Bethlehem, PA


As a student, I have always struggled with building up the courage to ask the questions that are important to me. The thoughts of “what if I sound stupid” or “what if I make a fool of myself” always pop up in the back of my mind, creating a tug of war between the curiosity that drives me and the timidity that holds me back, with the latter winning out most times and keeping me silent.

One of the things that LSV encourages us to do- and what I’d say I’ve found most challenging over the past two days- is to actively listen to and engage with every guest we have in front of us by asking questions that are both well informed and born out of a genuine curiosity to simply learn. In such a unique academic setting like the one LSV provides us, where students of all disciplines are bringing unique perspectives to drive an informative and sophisticated conversation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you don’t know, wanting to ask compelling questions that contribute positively but not even knowing where to start. Personally, I tend to focus so much on the kinds of questions that others are asking to serve as a guide for how I should be participating, that I forget that I have my own, equally valuable background and experiences that can lead me to think about and contribute to the conversation in a different way than my peers.

A major lesson I have been able to reflect upon during my first few days in LSV is that having confidence in the value of your own wealth of knowledge is the key to being able to break down those fears that can often hold you back from truly being able to invest in your own learning experience. Just having the courage to ask the question, even if it doesn’t come out quite right, is an important step in letting your curiosity guide you to the answers you may not have even been looking for.

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Whitaker Lab 318

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610-758-5626

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