Name: Emma Maxwell
Major: Cognitive Science
Hometown: Evanston, IL
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Currently my goal is work for the FBI in the BRIU (Behavioral Research and Instruction Unit) but that’s mostly inspired by my love of Criminal Minds and fascination with forensic psychology. Also apparently they don’t let just anyone into the FBI so I’m staying open-minded.
What’s your biggest struggle right now?
Having to wait for the release of the 4th season of Sherlock.
What’s something interesting you learned in class?
Our ability to speak and understand language is actually something that is (at least in part) innate. So that means that every single human, provided that there is no cognitive disorder or other exception, is born with the ability to learn and process language. Not only that, but every single infant is born with the ability to learn and process ANY language. Because of this we call them “universal listeners.” But before a baby even turns 1, they lose this ability and are only receptive to different phonemes (AKA sounds) in the language(s) they’re consistently exposed to.
What’s a piece of advice that you would give to an incoming student?
DO PRE-ORIENTATION. I did a pre-orientation trip called Hopkins CORPS, which was a social justice and community service based trip within Baltimore. We spent a week living in a retreat center (no cell phones!) and every single day was packed with different activities, including hands-on service, talking with community leaders, and lots of fascinating discussions. It was without a doubt one of the most eye-opening things I’ve ever done, but even beyond that, I met most of my best friends on that trip. Every single person whom I’ve talked to who went on any pre-orientation trip (including the outdoors ones) had a great time and is still super close with some (or all) of the people they spent that week with.
What’s your favorite thing about this school?
I love how passionate everyone is about what they’re studying. I had no idea before coming here that there were so many different possible areas of study. I love talking to my friends and people in my classes about what they’re learning in all of their classes, what they’re doing in their extracurriculars, or what career they’re interested in pursuing. Everyone here is very driven, very passionate, and very enthusiastic.
What puts a smile on your face?
Honey Graham ice cream. The FFC (our main on-campus dining hall) has a ton of fantastic food, but the Honey Graham ice cream tops it all. I can’t even describe how happy it makes me to dig into a scoop of Honey Graham ice cream. Definitely try it while you’re at Hopkins. It’s a Baltimore original!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My friends and I have recently started watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. It easily puts every American cooking competition show to shame. I’ve learned a great deal about how to make proper sponge cakes and biscuits, but more importantly, I get to watch top-notch chefs sip tea nonchalantly in the middle of the cooking challenges.
Why did you come to Hopkins?
Honestly the first thing that made me like Hopkins was how organized the Class of 2019 Facebook page was. This was the only school I’d been admitted to where Facebook page was as organized and practical as I was. Hopkins obviously has fantastic professors and programs and that was important to me, but it also offered a unique Cognitive Science program (my major) that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. Then when I got on campus, I was struck by how gorgeous all the buildings and quads here are. I loved the fact that Hopkins had a real campus-y feel in the middle of a huge urban environment. On top of all that, I absolutely love Baltimore. It’s such a young, vibrant, real city. I’m always amazed at how many fantastic neighborhoods there are in the city and I keep discovering new things to love. I feel like Tracy Turnblad in the opening sequence of Hairspray.
What’s your favorite memory since you’ve been at Hopkins?
Before winter break, my friends and I went to Fells Point (a neighborhood in Baltimore) for the Holiday Boat Parade. I got to see Santa (and ask for a 4.0 GPA), and then we watched the parade of small sailboats and other boats completely decked out in holiday lights and decorations around the Inner Harbor. Fells Point is also home to some adorable boutiques and other shops, and tons of delicious restaurants. Definitely one of my favorite places to hang out.
Perhaps even more exciting though, was when I got to spin the wheel at the Charmery, which is the best ice cream store in Hampden (another neighborhood in Baltimore), as a reward for filling up my punch card. No comment on how many times I had to buy ice cream to qualify.