Beyond a good cup of coffee, you’ll find smart and passionate students inside Meadows Coffeehouse on campus. During a day at Meadows, we sat down with five Hilltoppers to hear a little about them and their experiences on the hilltop. They shared some interesting details about what they’re learning and involved in, and what they dream of doing.

Lesley Martinez-Silva ’20, Bilingual Education major

“I’m here to meet Ben Griffith ’18 for a ‘buddy date’ because we’re both on the Hilltop Welcome Team. We lead orientation and other activities for incoming students over the summer. There are 50 of us, so we’re supposed to meet up and get to know each other. That way we can function as a team by the time we start working with new students. I know freshmen who took some time to figure out their place at St. Edward’s, so I want to inform new students, ‘Hey, you can figure it out, and there are resources to help you.’ That was the big thing I learned in my own orientation session that I want to tell other people.

Noah Dimas ’20, Biology

“This crucifix was given to me by my home parish in Corpus Christi at the start of my high school years. I was an altar server there for 10 years. I got the bumper sticker on my computer [which says “Love is the only solution”] from volunteering at Mary House Catholic Worker during a S.E.R.V.E. 1 Day experience [through the Office of Community Engagement on campus]. That organization helps homeless people who have terminal illnesses and need a place to stay while they get medical care.

Montana Marie Hermes ’18, Communication

“I’m using the Duolingo program to learn the basics of Italian, because I’m going there next week for a family event. My mom lives in Singapore, and my grandmother lives in Germany and is turning 70, so we decided to meet in Italy to celebrate her birthday. I’m half Danish and half Lebanese, and I grew up in Singapore and Houston. The connection to Singapore is that maritime shipping is a big industry in Denmark, and my grandfather moved from Denmark to Singapore to start a shipping company. My mom eventually moved there, too. The Houston connection is that my dad, and other Lebanese family members, live there. And I studied abroad in France last semester. My life is spread across the whole world.”

Victoire Vaille ’18, Global Studies and Spanish

“I’m reading a book for my Spanish Literature class — I love traveling and languages, and I would like to be a diplomat or perhaps an ambassador. I’ve been a French teaching assistant, and next semester I’ll be a Spanish teaching assistant; plus, I’m going to learn German. I’m from Paris and this summer I went to Malta (the little island between Sicily and Africa) to work for an organization that promotes French language and culture around the world. Last summer I worked at a hostel in Santiago, Chile, for several months to get to know the culture and language, and then I studied there for a semester. Plus, my best friend at St. Edward’s is Chilean, so he was already in Santiago, and he introduced me to the city.”

Alanoud Almatar ’20, Biology

“I come here a lot to study and read because being surrounded by the smell of coffee makes me happy. My goal is to become a doctor — not just to help people and save lives, but to be close to my patients and let them feel how beautiful life is. That’s my dream. I’ve always thought people should do what they really love, not just what other people want them to do. Sometimes we look at people who have achieved a lot and are living their dreams and we think they’re geniuses. We think they’re different from us, but that’s not true. We can all reach our dreams as long as we work hard for it. Basically, when you become what you really dreamed about, other people will be drawn to you because you’re following your passion.

By Robyn Ross
Photographs by Morgan Printy and Whitney Devin ’10