Q&A: Kate Vasconi ‰09


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So the city wasn’t seen as a dangerous place?
No, we just had the same things a regular dad would say. Don’t go walking around by yourself at night. Setting curfews if we were in the city so we wouldn’t have to take the subway alone or something like that. But I worked in the city all summer and he hated it when I was commuting. If something was going to happen, it would happen during commuting hours.

You said your brother is a firefighter?
Yes, this is his first full year on the job. My dad’s really proud of him.

Does your family worry about him?
Yes and no. All of us really worry when something bad comes on the news, when a fireman is killed. At the same time, everyone in my family knows it’s a job he’s going to be really good at, and it’s a job that he’s passionate about.

Your dad has a health issue? When did that start to crop up?
When he first got back from the actual site of September 11, it was a problem, coughing up phlegm and things like that, just from debris. And then a year or two passed and he was okay, but then it really started three years ago. His lungs started deteriorating. My dad’s been a minor league athlete, in baseball. He’s always been healthy. He never had lung issues. Now he has pretty bad asthma. It’s pretty obvious that’s why he has it.

He’s not alone?
There are a lot of his friends. Not just lung things. He has friends who have prostate cancer, things like that. They’re finally coming to terms with it. For the longest time, what was so frustrating for my dad was that [the city] wouldn’t say, ‘You’re sick because of this.’ He had to keep going and going and eventually the doctors were like, ‘He really is sick.’

Did you consider being a firefighter?
No, physically I could never do it. I could never make it through the academy. I’m only four-eleven.

So instead you’re a classics major.

You think that’s one of the majors that’s probably furthest from being a firefighter?
Yeah, I’d say so. But when I was little I wanted to be a librarian. So nothing really shocks my family about me anymore. They’re really supportive of me and they know it’s something I’m passionate about.

So what turned you on to classics?
I really loved The Odyssey, so one of my first classes freshman year was on The Odyssey, with [Professor] Hanna Roisman. Two weeks in, I was just hooked.

So is it classics all the time?
I’m in three classics courses right now. I love it. I’m having fun.

So what do you think you’ll do after Colby? Whoops. Do I sound like a parent?
I want to go into sports administration. I absolutely love professional sports, especially baseball. But anything really. I want to go into marketing for a professional sports team.

So are you a—
I’m a huge A’s fan. It’s a pitching and defense thing. And I’m a big Giants fan. That’s my New York team, I guess. I’m a Mets fan, too. But mostly A’s.

So when did you decide that you wanted to go into sports?
At first I wanted to be a sports journalist. And then I worked in marketing at Penguin Publishing this summer. I really loved marketing, but I didn’t necessarily like it in publishing. So the thing I like about marketing and sports—I always say it’s like trying to get your neighbors to come to dinner. And there’s so much community involvement to it. That’s what draws me to it. How involved you have to be to get the community to
succeed in your own goal.

So what does that have to do with The Odyssey?
At Colby, you’re getting such a background at being analytical. And so much of classics is, when you’re reading a text, it’s like reading between the lines. And I think in marketing, in some sense, you really having to think outside the norm. Classics really prepares you for that. What can you do that’s new and different? When you think of classics, these are texts that have been around for thousands of years, but why are there so many classicists who have new ideas about what each line means?

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  • On December 21, 2007, Rew* wrote:
    wow this interview is wonderful..my daughter just got accepted to COLBY & we are thrilled so i read this article because we are from NYC & 911 is very close to our being... my daughter is also 4'11'' ...i am so looking forward to her meeting people like yourselves... HAppY hOLiDAZE.. ~Rew*