Christina Blankenship '13 is a great example of what's possible at Purchase when students embrace the motto Think Wide Open.
Blankenship has been dancing her entire life. Known to all as "Christina the dancer" since she was a child, dancing was her identity and Purchase, her dream school. When she suffered an injury in the summer before sophomore year and faced returning in the fall "with crutches and a class load that I wasn't able to take," she found herself unexpectedly enthusiastic about the chance to take a wider array of classes.
This experience set Blankenship on a new course. In order to pursue additional studies without jettisoning years of dance training, she created her own curriculum by fusing dance with journalism in the liberal arts individualized degree program (BALA—bachelor of arts in the liberal arts) and added a minor in arts management.
She amassed enough credits by junior year to graduate, but stayed on, "because I just couldn't take enough classes, it's been perfect. I feel like I could customize my world here." She'll graduate in May with 24 more credits than necessary and currently holds a GPA of 3.82.
This year she served as president of the Purchase Student Government Association, reflecting what she describes as a love of governance. Someday, Blankenship says, she would like to combine all her interests and serve as the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts or the president of Lincoln Center.
The next step on her journey begins after graduation; she's off to Columbia University for Business Edge, a 6-week intensive program for recent graduates with a non-business background that provides the opportunity to acquire essential skills in finance, accounting, marketing, and management.
On April 4, 2013, Blankenship, with fellow seniors Amy Crehore (literature) and Michael Clark (dance), received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, which she describes as a "huge honor, but really surprising." She explains how success came not from focusing on grades, but "from finding a blissful balance and fusion of work and play at Purchase."
With an undeniable verve, positive attitude, and passion to learn, she's certainly one to watch.