By Emily Glory Peters
From the outside, Sophie Fron ’22’s academic path reflects what Scripps is known for: an intimate college experience rooted in the liberal arts. Attracted to a major in humanities in interdisciplinary studies in culture, the senior took it a step further last summer by adding a major in art—a decision that helped her garner the Ament Scholars Award, a scholarship recognizing an outstanding humanities student. And while her majors couldn’t be more “Scripps,” Fron notes that her journey has diverged from the norm.
“In some ways, I don’t think I’m meant for higher education in the way the system is made. I have learning disabilities, and for people with different brains, it can make some things hard to balance,” she says. Her initial experiences at Scripps led her to the department of Academic Resources and Services (ARS), which assists students with academic support and accommodations. With the help of ARS, Scripps’ small class sizes, and a cadre of understanding professors, Fron has reshaped what it means to be “outstanding”—starting with being able to build her own curriculum at Scripps.
“I’ve been able to take interesting classes that connect across a lot more fields than you might first realize,” says Fron, noting that the interdisciplinary richness of some of those courses took her by surprise. “I took a film course in the French department that focused on cinema directed by women and dove into the history of women filmmakers; another class in the department was all about systems of power and images related to that. In both courses there was an analysis of visuals, of meaning, and of different cultures—and I think all of that has been quite helpful toward my art practice.”
Coming into her own as a “humanities person” at Scripps
As a portraitist, Fron explores meaning through the eyes of her subjects. During the pandemic, she observes, the human cost of the virus seemed to get lost in a sea of endless statistics. Almost in an act of artistic rebellion, Fron drew from her studies and picked up her paintbrush.
“Both art and humanities look at the human condition, visually and across disciplines, through storytelling. By focusing in on one person, or a few people, in artwork, I could tell a story that’s more personal, more relatable about this time than statistics about deaths and hospitalizations,” she says. “We need more of that.”
Some of Fron’s artwork will be featured in the College’s upcoming senior art exhibition at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery this spring. But it won’t quite represent the end for the senior, who plans to return—and possibly study abroad—for a ninth and final semester this fall.
Rather than choosing to graduate this spring, she says that centering her energy on fewer courses each semester has been the right choice for her, allowing her to enjoy extracurricular classes (“take every PE class you can!”) and build community through clubs like Hillel, where she’s been on the board the last three years. Acknowledging the evolution of her College experience, Fron’s reflections for future Scripps students are clear: chart your own path.
“The pandemic has forced everyone to see that not all students fit into one mold of higher education,” she says. “With younger students, I tell them about interdisciplinary humanities at Scripps; how you can be really creative with your own education. You can’t say that about many colleges. So listen to your intuition and see what opportunities there are to build the experience you want.”
Given the time the pandemic took from her overall Scripps experience, Fron is particularly grateful for the scholarship support to help extend her own—and for validating the ways she’s grown.
“I’ve put in so much hard work, and I didn’t really know if anyone noticed. The recognition from the Ament Scholars Award itself is quite beautiful and shows I wasn’t just putting it in for no reason!” she says. “Especially for someone who has struggled so much with completing semesters, it makes me proud to be awarded in a department that I am passionate about. It feels like I’m on the right path, that I made the right decision. Like yeah, I am a humanities person!”
Scholarships allow students, no matter their interests, to chart their own path at Scripps. We invite you to make a gift to scholarships on Day of Giving on April 13, 2022!