The Personals: Questions for Stevie Lin Thacker ’11
By Nathan Nash ’12, Contributing Writer
Where do you live?

I’m the RC of third floor South, following in the footsteps of great people: Tatiana Butler, Tom McClintock, Marissa Bates and, most importantly, Peter Tang.

Why is Peter Tang so great?

Peter Tang embodies the classic Amherst student. He is witty, dedicated and possesses an insatiable thirst for social change. Did I mention that he is so good-looking that he puts Chuck Norris to shame?

Would you say that Peter Tang is better looking than Tony Marx?

Well, now that he is leaving, I can share my true thoughts…

Who would you like to see as the next President of Amherst College?

Edward Cullen — he’d greatly improve the nightlife. I would also accept RC David Ressler ’13. They’re basically the same person.

Why not Peter Tang for President?

Peter Tang has only just embarked on the journey that will one day lead him to the presidency of Amherst College, on the way to his global dictatorship.

Speaking of vampires, is it true that you kidnap your residents every other Sunday?

Yes, we go on a “magical mystery tour.” This past Sunday we went for a tractor ride to pick pumpkins. Of course, I can’t tell you what we’re doing next. That would ruin the surprise and my residents’ terror.

What do you like best about being an RC?

My residents — third floor South is ballin’. I’m also hopelessly in love with my co-RC, Mike Hudak ’12.

How is your anthropology thesis going?

Hella well, especially if the Dean of the Faculty approves my funding request to return to Cairo to finish my thesis research.

What brought you to Cairo in the first place?

I studied abroad in the spring of my sophomore year. Once there I read about problems in Sudanese refugee education and taught English to refugees for six months while studying abroad. I became so passionate about education rights for refugees that I’m focusing my thesis on the school where I taught.

Have you taught English anywhere else?

Yes, this past summer I taught English to high school and university students in Bosnia as part of an after-school program initiated by an Amherst alum, Chris Bragdon ’85. At Amherst, I also student-taught at Holyoke High School and tutored at Girls, Inc. in Holyoke.

Any good stories from Cairo?

Well, I went with a guy from Cairo to Alexandria. Once there, he tried to marry me and refused to talk to me in English — he introduced me to his family, had me live with him and everything. Another time, I went to Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula. I’d been told that I needed a passport, but that another American had gotten through with just his license. On the way back, I was pulled off the bus and taken to the police station where they asked me why I didn’t have a passport. They kept questioning me, insisting that I wasn’t American and told me they were going to deport me to Taba, in Israel. Finally they backed down and let me back on the bus. When I got back to Cairo I found out that the student who made it with only his license had slipped some cash under his license, to bribe the security checkpoint officials. Too bad I’m so honest and upstanding.

What about from Bosnia?

I was on a long-distance train to Budapest in a compartment with my friend and a random Polish guy. My friend was joking that she couldn’t button up her pants because of all the dough we’d eaten over the past three months. As I was laughing, the button popped off of my pants. I had to spend the whole rest of the trip sewing the button back on my jeans; meanwhile the Polish guy looked scandalized.

Wow, so you must really hate traveling?

Actually, I love long train rides. I always bring a copy of my favorite book, “East of Eden.” One time I took a three-day train ride from San Francisco to Pittsfield. If I didn’t like trains, I would probably have killed someone. You also get to relax and meet some really cool people and make your own world while moving through others.

What advice would such a worldly person as you have for freshmen out there?

There’s a Sufi verse about living in the moment that I believe is salient. “As if it were a sword, when you treat it gently, it is gentle to your touch, while its edges are harsh if you treat it harshly.” But my for my residents, I just want to reiterate that nothing is safer than touching yourself when alone.

What do you do when you’re alone?

Luckily, I’m never alone. Since my sophomore year I’ve been regularly sleeping with Godi, my stuffed chimpanzee. I bring him everywhere with me, and he’s always been a faithful cuddle-buddy.

What’s been your favorite class here?

“Practice of Art” — it forces me to give up what I think I know about how things should be and instead see them as they are. All of my art is currently on display on third-floor South — true statement. I’ve brought my tour groups to see it, though I haven’t had any offers yet.

Tour guide, tutor, RC, Peter Tang admirer — what else do you do on campus?

I am a summer internship coordinator, so if you’ve sent in an application to the Amherst Select Internship Program, I’ve had the immense pleasure of reading it. I also have a radio show.

What do you play?

If it were up to me, I would play straight Motown, but unfortunately I have a co-DJ who likes some kind of alternative rock.

Where does this irrational love of Motown originate from?

I don’t know. I made a Pandora playlist of Motown and realized that I know all of the words to all of the songs for some reason.

I’ve also heard you have some irrational fears — care to share?

I’m terribly afraid of the dark and always sleep with the lights on. This started when I was house-sitting in San Francisco over the summer and there was this little dog that would always start barking in the middle of the night. Every night when he barked, I was certain someone had broken in and was going to murder me.

What are your future plans?

I really want to work in public education. I’ve applied for the Mississippi Teachers’ Corps and Teach for America. I also had a quarter-life crisis moment and applied for a Ph.D. program in education at Harvard and Tony Marx’s position. If I get rejected, I’m going to spend three months working at a restaurant in Idaho until I get enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Thailand and another one-way ticket, leaving six months later, from Cairo. Should be fun.

Issue 07, Submitted 2010-10-29 20:09:10