Elm Student Spotlight: Kelly Topita
By Aubrey Hastings
Student Life Editor
The Elm would like to put the Student Spotlight
on senior Kelly Topita. Since this is the spring semester
of Kelly’s senior year, she, like the rest of
the Class of 2011, has a lot to juggle during her last
few months at Washington College. Not only is she
plowing through an English thesis, but she is also
applying to grad school, minoring in anthropology,
and continuing her passion as a dedicated member
of the WC Dance Club.
Topita is also now among the extraordinary students
who keep WC on the map. She was recently
awarded the Undergraduate Student Literary Award
from the National Dance Association.
“Professor Smith suggested that I apply after
I showed her a paper I had written for a history
course. Next thing you know, it is being published,”
Her essay portrays and examines the relationship
between popular dance and the ideals of a culture.
Topita’s essay will appear in the next published issue
of the Nu Delta Alpha Journal, the journal of the
Dance Honor Society.
The WC chapter of Nu Delta Alpha is open to students
who maintain a 3.0 GPA and show outstanding
ability in dance technique, performance, scholarship,
choreography, literature, and/or production. Topita
has been an active member of the WC Dance Club
for all four years of her college career and was inducted
into Nu Delta Alpha as a sophomore. She is also
currently the treasurer for the honor society.
Kelly Topita has been taking dance classes since
the age of two, starting in her hometown of Pasadena.
When it came time to choose a college, Topita
was drawn to WC because of the small size and the
outstanding English department. Topita believes she
has been able to balance dance and academics better
at WC than she would have been able to at a larger
university, such as Towson.
“The atmosphere and pressures of dance combined
with academics here is much more relaxed and
noncompetitive than in larger schools, where dance
would be considered your major course of study.
Dancing is my passion and keeps me active, once you
start you just can’t stop. I’m not always motivated to
go to the gym, but the girls I dance with are great,
and I know we all count on each other to be in class
to learn choreography,” she said.
When asked, “why English?” Topita said, “it’s
just something I have always enjoyed. I have always
been interested in literature and continually found
myself doing well in English classes throughout high
She is currently working on a thesis with her advisor,
Professor Corey Olsen, examining and analyzing
the Christian themes found in works written by
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
“Be true to yourself and do what you love right
away” is a bit of advice she would give to students just
starting out at WC.
“I struggled with holding back on doing things
that I wanted to do and loved to do when I first started
college, it would have been so much easier if I had
just gone right for it,” said Topita.
Come see Topita perform in the WC Dance Concert
in April and remember to congratulate her when
you see her around campus. She has made WC proud.
February 18, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 15