1 in 950: Leonida Radford '17

Interviewed by Jasmine Russell '17
Staff Writer

Where are you from?

San Francisco, California

What is your major?


What are you involved in on campus?

I am a tour guide for Admissions. I am on the 5C club volleyball team. I am Vice President of Wanawake Weusi. I am part of the first generation community on campus. I am also on the Admission Advisory Board.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

I would have to say SCORE [Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment].


I just think the people in SCORE are absolutely fantastic. They are a very dynamic group of people. The conversations that we have in SCORE aren’t typically the ones that we have in the res halls at Scripps or in living rooms at Scripps or at the Motley. It’s very much what I’m interested in talking about on campus, and it’s typically stuff that I would like to see improved with the institution.

What did you do last summer?

I worked for a nonprofit summer enrichment program for middle to high school students in San Francisco. The first half of the day, [the students] go through academics: so that’s science, humanities, math, and issues and choices, which talks about identity/social justice type of things. So I taught Biology to seventh grade students. And the second half of the day it’s more recreational, so it’s stuff like cooking. A group of people made a kiosk for a garden. I taught a cooking class, a cappella and indoor sports for the kids.

What did you do over winter break?

I slept and ate my mom’s food.

What food(s)?

Literally the first meal that I had when I got home was a traditional Filipino soup called sinigang. It’s vinegar- and tamarind-based, so it’s really sour. I like it very sour, so I put extra vinegar in it, and you eat it with rice. It has like bok choy, and I asked my mom to make it with beef this time. It has some tomatoes in it and stuff. It’s really good. It’s my favorite soup to have.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

It’s a tie between my mom and my brother.

[For my mother] It’s bigger than the bounds of like ‘she’s the person I look up to’ or ‘she’s my best friend,’ because she’s not my best friend. That’s not true. But the sacrifices she made for me and my brother are sacrifices that I can’t even picture myself doing. Partially because I don’t have a child, but I wouldn’t even think about doing the things that she’s done for me and my brother. The life that she had and the life she continues to have is one that’s very difficult, but she still finds a reason to wake up in the morning, and that’s something I really admire about her.

As for my brother, we’re both first generation students, so he literally had no help applying to college. He didn’t know which colleges to apply to. I had pretty much my hand held the entire way. But somehow, even though he ended up at one of the top engineering schools, he feels like he failed in a way. I don’t want him to feel like that, but even though he thinks he failed, he is ridiculously smart. He’s an engineering major and I feel like he’s going to graduate probably in the top tier of his class. He tries really hard. He never took a summer off; he’s taken summer classes since he started. He’s just had a bunch of obstacles in the way, but somehow he keeps going over these hurdles and doing fantastic things.

What’s your favorite class that you’ve taken so far?

It’s a tie between IBC [Introductory Biological Chemistry] and my Core 2.

IBC I took my first semester at Scripps and it was a really tight-knit community of students who like science. The professors that taught it were spectacular. I still talk to them a lot. Although it was extremely rigorous, I felt like it was a nice introduction to college because now every science course in comparison… I feel myself taking a step back and really analyzing it instead of work-work-work, which I feel like a lot of my peers do. I’m not saying my work ethic has lessened, but IBC was really intense time-wise.

My Core 2 was [Los Angeles] and the Poetics of Unrest. I feel like everybody should take that class. I felt like we talked about a lot of things that aren’t… They’re talked about at Scripps, but I felt like I had a deeper understanding of these things that I already thought that I completely mastered. I was able to think about them in a different way, [through] a different lens. Although I didn’t necessarily voice my opinions or voice my perspective on things, I was kind of able to see what other people thought and what their processes were throughout the entire thing. So it kind of like opened up my eyes to my peers here at Scripps.

What advice do you have for current and/or future Scripps students?

I would advise them to be open to the feeling of being uncomfortable. I feel like a lot of times--especially Scripps students, or maybe just Claremont in general--people are scared to feel uncomfortable because they want to be right. They want to be correct in every situation that they’re in. But once you’re uncomfortable and once you’re vulnerable, that’s where the learning begins. Once you can admit to yourself ‘Oh, I was wrong’ or ‘Oh, I didn’t think about it that way,’ that’s when you can shape who you are as a person, if you choose to do so. If you don’t, then whatever--evaluate yourself, please. But just being open to feeling uncomfortable and to being vulnerable is something that I highly encourage.