XASS: Becca, welcome! Thank you for agreeing to a spotlight interview. Let’s start with the basics. Tell us who you are and where you’re from.
Becca: I am a junior studying French and history. I’ve lived in quite a few places because I was a military kid, I’ll say I’m from Redding, California to make it simple.
XASS: You were a military kid? Which branch?
Becca: Air Force.
XASS: And was that one parent or both?
Becca: Both. My mom and my dad met in the Air Force in Cuba, and then my mom got out because she was enlisted and my dad was an officer.
XASS: Wow. Have you considered a military career yourself?
Becca: No. It’s too chaotic.
XASS: Of the places you’ve lived, what was your favorite?
Becca: That’s kind of difficult. I usually say Alaska or D.C. However, if I was old enough to remember it, I might say Oman. I lived in Muscat from three months old to two years old.
XASS: All right. Redding is where you settled down and spent most of your childhood?
Becca: I moved to Redding right before my freshman year of high school, and did high school there.
XASS: A decent amount of time, then. So why Stanford?
Becca: Originally I was pretty set on going to a UC school just because that’s what my brother did. But during my junior year of high school, I studied abroad in France and I remember going to a World War One memorial. I lived in Northern France where there is a lot of World War I history. And I remember coming home from that memory, and thinking, “Oh, wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to tie French and American history together and study that?” So I went on Google and I typed in “best international relations school,” and Stanford was the first one that came up. So I decided to apply to Stanford based on that one Google search. And it worked out! It was also four hours away from home. And it had pretty good financial aid. I was like, “This is the best shot I’m gonna get, so I’ll take it.”
XASS: Your major is French and your minor is history. But now I hear IR is in your heart as well. Tell me the story.
Becca: While living in Northern France, I saw how prevalent the memories of World War I and World War II are there. I was there during the seventy-fifth anniversary of Dunkirk. Seeing this blend between the two worlds in my life… It was something that I never experienced before. It made me feel like I had my feet in two places, and actually gave me some sense of identity after a childhood of moving around. I thought it’d be somehow cool to play a bigger role in the history between the two countries, because I cared for them so deeply, both. And then I did an international relations class at Stanford, and I realized I really don’t enjoy talking about policy. When I got down to it, I found myself most happy in a literature class. I just feel like it was a lot more engaging.
XASS: Do you have a French heritage?
Becca: Technically? Yes. So my maternal grandmother was a German immigrant, but she had a bit of a mix with the French and German. And you know, some of those borders have gotten blurred with all the wars, so I’m technically like forty-nine percent French or German.
XASS: What’s the rest of the mix?
Becca: The other fifty one? Let’s see if I can remember off the top of my head. From 23andMe: 14% West African. Like 15% Southern European. Yeah. And then a bit Eastern European and a good chunk indigenous American.
XASS: So what are you into outside of your academics? What are your hobbies?
Becca: So for two years I was into absolutely nothing because during the pandemic when I was locked inside my house, my life was just school. Before fall quarter, you actually asked me in the car while we were driving to church what my hobbies are. It caused something in me to spiral because I realized I lost all my hobbies. *laughs* So I picked them up after you asked me. I picked up rock climbing again. I started drawing again. I picked up reading again. I really enjoy high fantasy books like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. I’m looking to take more painting classes. I miss painting dearly, so do that again, and then I love coffee. Anything coffee related. The process of making coffee. Talking about coffee. Anything coffee.
XASS: So is there something which if I knew you better, I would know to ask about?
Becca: Hmm. Let’s see. It’s a good question. There’s a few things you could ask me about. I have some random facts about my life. Um, let’s see. When I was ten I got on the Today Show for being cute. I was in New York for my birthday and I had a “Future Today Show journalist” poster. I was a very intense swimmer growing up. That was the one thing that was consistent in my life. I was training to go to the Olympics and stuff like that. I mean two hours a day plus an hour of CrossFit on the same day when I was ten years old. I was absolutely shredded. You could even ask me about my heritage. I’m a French major, but I’m half Hispanic and I don’t speak Spanish. Choosing to study French was actually a choice I made in seventh grade, when I didn’t want to study Spanish because I was frustrated that no one had taught me Spanish. And that kind of all culminated finally, when I went to Guatemala this summer and met a lot of my relatives who I had never met, because of language barriers. I had this wonderful time just learning about a part of myself that I had never encountered, and I was so uncomfortable because I felt like I stood out despite resembling everybody else. Back in seventh grade and even more so now, I appreciate how language connects people so much. That’s originally why I wanted to go to France in the first place when I was younger, and continue studying it and study it now. Learning a new language can help you go over the barriers that separate us, or to meet someone new that you wouldn’t ever talk to and find new ways to communicate with them. And hopefully Spanish is next for me!
XASS: How did you get connected to Chi Alpha?
Becca: It was the big Christian 2024 group chat of all the admits. And I think Elijah or someone said this group is doing a virtual welcome. It was like a Zoom open house. So it’s just a Zoom room. And I remember popping in and just listening. So I ended up going to some live streams and then joining a life group. And yeah, when I got to campus I was like, “All right. Let’s get connected in real life!”
XASS: Very cool. We’re glad you chose what you chose!
XASS: You were raised in a Christian family. Describe your religious upbringing, and how that has developed over time at Stanford.
Becca: Yes, so like I said, I grew up as a military kid, so my life was very transient. Going to church was one of the few consistent things growing up. When you’re younger, you don’t realize the denominations that you’re going to, or at least my parents weren’t very expressive of the denominations, and so to me that meant we weren’t one thing or another. We were just Christians. If anything, we said we’re nondenominational Christians. Looking back at it now, my parents have always somewhat leaned Pentecostal. So I grew up going to Pentecostal or nondenominational churches. Then in high school of my freshman year we moved to Redding to go to a large Pentecostal church there.
Becca: So I had a personal relationship with Jesus starting when I was ten. I got baptized. I had more head knowledge than heart knowledge. I knew it was good to read the Bible, but I hadn’t really delved into it for myself, so that probably all started in college. I am very thankful for my parents instilling in me and my brother a love for God above all. It has helped me and my brother for the better, and I can see how that legacy of their faith is helping us in our own lives.
XASS: And has Stanford been a positive experience for your faith, negative or neutral?
Becca: It’s definitely been positive. It’s been extremely positive, actually. I think my faith was… I imagine it kind of as a blob. It was there, but nothing was there to shape it. I had all these things thrown at me because, like I said, I moved around so much and encountered all these different ideas, and then my dad passed away when I was in eighth grade, so things were kind of just confusing. We ended up moving here for that Pentecostal church, and it was, I mean, a highly emotional part of my life. Like I said I had a faith in God, but I never really sat down and formed routines. So, coming to Stanford and talking with people and having actual spiritual guidance has been really beneficial. What does it look like to walk alongside God rather than just knowing about him and loving Him? And even this summer with opportunities Stanford has given me, my faith has been stretched. I worked in a think tank that was mostly Catholic, and that was very challenging. I still have to really think it through because I don’t want to get stuck in division, but rather aim for charity with all my Christian brothers and sisters.
XASS: And now for the classic Chi Alpha Spotlight Series question. Becca, are you in a relationship?
Becca: *with joy* Yes!
XASS: Would you care to unpack that?
Becca: Yes! I’ve been in a relationship for nearly 2.5 years. With Brandon. Love him! He’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met under his workout king and economics buff exterior. He is a firecracker. He does have a really kind, sweet heart that I admire so much, and he has softened me in ways unimaginable. And I have… I don’t know what I’ve done to him. I guess I’ve helped him out. We’re like iron and iron. I am thankful to God that He put me and Brandon together so we could refine one another. We are just like two peas in a pod. I can’t help but love him more and more. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
XASS: Do you have any advice for others in Chi Alpha contemplating the world of romance?
Becca: Oh, gosh! *laughs* Um, don’t force it. I don’t think you should ever force it. If it was not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. But sometimes God gives you someone that you didn’t expect such as Brandon. I didn’t expect to date Brandon. I didn’t even expect to start dating in college. But if they are making you better, if they are pushing you, and even if you have a little conflict and run-ins with them sometimes, I think that’s good. It shows that there are other viewpoints in this world from which you can learn. It’s crucial that you realize relationships are much more than the honeymoon phase. Find someone willing to work through a little bit of conflict, who is willing to do actual life with you.
XASS: Becca, thank you so much for your time. Awesome interview!