Concordy’s Interview with Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and Presidential Fellow Daniel Wilcox ‘22


Courtesy of Daniel Wilcox

Daniel Wilcox ’22 during the graduation ceremony.

Shriya Biswas, Staff Writer

Daniel Wilcox ‘22 double majored in Economics and Political Science along with double minoring in Chinese and a Seward Independent Research Project. He is currently serving as a Presidential Fellow and his main goal is to advance Union to be a better community for all members of the campus. Concordy interviewed Wilcox on how he is exploring a new experience in a new role. 

What motivated you to take on the role of Presidential Fellow and when exactly did you decide to take on this opportunity?

Wilcox: Having gotten involved in some committees during my senior year, I got a small taste of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make Union a greater place. Coming back after being at home in the UK during much of the pandemic, I had a new appreciation for why I had chosen Union and  enjoyed my first and sophomore years so much. It was a no-brainer to take the opportunity to extend the time that I was able to spend in the US and at Union. It goes without saying, having the opportunity to work with President Harris and his team so soon after graduation isn’t something that I wanted to miss out on.

Outside of Feigenbaum Hall, the location of the President’s Office, where Wilcox now works.

 Now that you are an alumni, how is your life on campus different from what it was when you were a student? 

Wilcox: Of course, most of my time is now spent in Feigenbaum Hall rather than in classes, and my main focus isn’t on class. As well, I have been able to meet so many other members of the Union community, from senior staff to new first years arriving in August and September. As a student, there tends to be less of an understanding of the role that senior staff and the President play in the everyday running of the College, and so one of the most fulfilling parts of the position has been to gain an appreciation of what is being done behind the scenes to ensure that students are able to gain a first-rate education. I would advocate for all students to get involved in committees or other parts of the college that will help to shape the current and future opportunities for students.

In the span of four years in Union College, what spot on the campus made you feel at home or reminded you of your home country?

Wilcox: One of the places that I did not appreciate enough while I was a student here was Jackson’s Garden. Over the summer I spent a lot of time sitting there reading, or listening to music. It is a peaceful spot on our campus that we are really lucky to have at Union. I recommend anybody to go there during a lunch break or after a busy day. I will of course mention the Nott Memorial as a place of special memories; the beginning of my Union journey in 2018, and the ending of a chapter during graduation in 2022. I walk past it every day, and the memories of those events, and many others from the past four years, frequently come to the front of my mind.

You are taking a course in the Computer Science department in the Fall Term, what motivated you to take a course after graduation?

Wilcox: The thing that drew me to the US and Union in the first place was the liberal arts, and the ability to study not simply a single discipline. I tried to do that as much as possible during my four years of being a student, but one of the benefits of now working at the college is being able to take a few courses for free. Having taken a practicum computer science course in my senior year, I knew that I wanted to take it a step forward by taking a full course. Of course, my main responsibility is my job; however, it has been a fulfilling opportunity so far to be involved in a class and meet current students, and I am grateful to Professor Kristina Striegnitz and the Computer Science department for letting me take the class.

How would you describe your responsibilities as a Union College Presidential Fellow? 

Wilcox: I would say that my main responsibility is to support President Harris and senior staff in their goals for the college, but also using my position as a recent alum, as well as the experiences that I have had at Union, to bring a ‘unique’ perspective to the office. Many of my tasks are research-based and are aimed at understanding what steps we can take as a school to improve the Union experience, especially for future classes that come here. I am grateful to be able to play a small role in moving our college forward into the future. I also see my role as being of use to current students as well, especially those international students that have questions about visa issues or post-graduate work. One of the benefits of a school like Union is the closeness of the community, so I am eager to help anybody out with any questions or queries they have.

Sneak peek inside Wilcox’s office on the second floor of Feigenbaum Hall.

You served as the Editor-in-Chief of Concordiensis two years ago, what advice would you give to all the new writers who joined this term and will join next term? 

Wilcox: My year was as co-Editor-in-Chief, with Akriti Dhasmana ’22, who was a computer science and English double major. I would say to write what you are passionate about. Quality is always better than quantity. I started writing a couple of terms in my first year, and it was simply by reaching out to some of the editors with story ideas that I had. There is no need to know exactly what you are going to write about either. Concordy can also be a place to make connections and have other experiences. Invite your friends to also write for the newspaper, or co-write pieces together. Even get involved as a photographer or designer, if those are your passions or something new you would like to try.

How does it feel about spending another year at Union? And what is it that you miss the most about being a student?

Wilcox: The whirlwind of senior year means that it can be hard to have a proper realization that the four-year journey as a student is over. I am glad to be able to have another year to continue my Union journey, albeit in another role, and make up for the times when the pandemic made being on-campus impossible. Again, I can still pretty clearly remember arriving at Union and the great experiences that being a first-year here provided. Therefore, I do miss those ‘firsts’ that I experienced during my four years here. Be that the classes that I took, the clubs that I attended, the experiences that I had with friends, or being able to live in the US. Frequently, I still can’t believe that I have been able to attend school in the US, and was lucky enough to be admitted into a school like Union.