People have always fascinated Grace Carlic.
As a double major in anthropology and Latin American studies and a double minor in history and religious studies, Carlic knew she wanted to pursue anthropology at a young age.
“This world we live in is quite magnificent but also kind of daunting,” she said.
As a child, Carlic was interested in why certain people make the decisions they do and the difference between right and wrong. The passion continued to developing until she was a senior in high school. She said the word anthropology was a word thrown around throughout high school, so she was set on becoming an anthropology major after attending multiple college tours.
Carlic knew what people would say about PSUC. However, she said she was going to PSUC with the intention of growing and becoming a better person.
“‘Plattsburgh is a mediocre school.’ I hear that a lot. When I came here, I knew Plattsburgh was a place where I could make it into what I wanted it to be,” she said. “You can come here and make it as extraordinary as you want it to be, or you can come here and make it as mediocre as you want it to be.”
Carlic said her major in anthropology is where she was able to learn new aspects about life.
“Through anthropology, I’ve learned that there are so many ways to look at one thing. There’s no right way or wrong way in terms of gray area, and that is what makes the world both complicated and fascinating and beautiful in potential to make change,” she said.
She said she wasn’t planning on joining Latin American Studies but co-coordinator in Latin American studies Deborah Altamirano recommended it for her.
Altamirano said she remembered meeting Carlic on her first day of her freshman year when she was taking an introductory course with her. Altamirano was immediately impressed with her quality of her work and that she was engaged in the class.
“One of the things that I do is look for the students who have those qualities, that will help them be successful in Latin American studies,” Altamirano said.
Carlic said she agreed but wasn’t sure what to expect, especially because she had no background or heritage connected with Latin American studies.
Altamirano said it’s been an honor to watch Carlic grow over the years into a successful young woman. She also said Carlic is one of those students that every teacher would want in their career.
“She’s really somebody [who] is engaged, not only engaged in her academics. she really wants to work toward making her community a better place,” Altamirano said.
Carlic minored in history because she grew up reading historical fiction. She said she’s also been interested by the idea that history has a way of repeating itself.
“In history, we have to know where we come from to know where we’re going and that’s really important,” she said.
Carlic said she minored in religious studies because she was fascinated with different types of religions.
“In the painting of life, we have this portrait that we’re painting,” she said. “There’s something we find important enough to worship or identify as something important.”
Besides being involved with her classes, Carlic is also the president of the PSUC Anthropology Club. Through the club, she was the organizer of the October Talks, a month long event through the anthropology department to highlight what faculty study to teach certain subjects. The club has also invited various speakers, traveled to Burlington and visited an anthropology museum in Montreal.
Through the Anthropology Club, she also met her boyfriend, who happened to be the vice president of the outing club. Expeditionary studies sophomore Ray Wagner met Carlic when she started collaborating with the outing club. He said they hadn’t really interacted before, but when he finally got to sit down and talk with her, he noticed she had a lively personality.
“It was pretty powerful in the sense that she’s a very vibrant person and she’s a driven and eloquent communicator,” Wagner said. “She also has clear views of her purpose in the world, along with morals and values.”
Wagner said her work ethic is a unique because she enjoys the education process and incorporates that into her future endeavors.
“She’s taken that focus and tenacity outside of the academic realm to influence and apply those values that she holds highly to the larger community,” he said.
Carlic was also the head delegate of the Washington Model Organization of American States, where she led 15 people. Carlic said the event taught her how to be a powerful yet humble young woman. She’s also in three honor societies including: Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta and Phi Kappa Phi.
Carlic is passionate about photography. She is the creator and photographer of Humans of SUNY Plattsburgh, where she takes photos of students on campus.
After graduation, Carlic said she plans on going back home to watch her sister grow up while also doing freelance photography.
“I think we live in a culture where if you’re not doing something, you’re seen as unsuccessful,” she said. I think sometimes you need to take some time for yourself and to reflect.”
Carlic said she plans on reflecting on her time in college to see what she’s looking for in the future. She said she doesn’t want to rush through her life.
“I’m not scared, I’m actually very excited for the future. A lot of people are very scared which is understandable,” she said. “There’s this mix of fear, but also this override of excitement. It’s so exhilarating to be a part of this time in our lives.”
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org