This time last year, Sofia Cerna, Class of 2018, was deep into researching her Senior Thesis topic— rape myths and rape culture—and preparing for Colloquium where she’d share the results of that research with her instructors, peers, and the community. Little did she know then that her work on the topic wouldn’t end after Colloquium. Just recently, Sofia was back on Bosque’s campus, fresh off her first semester at the University of Colorado Boulder, sharing the work she had started as a senior and continued to expand afterward, with Bosque’s juniors and seniors. “It’s exciting and definitely a different role to step into,” said Sofia.
Lindsey Barlea, Director of Student Development at Bosque, said that as part of the Social Emotional Learning Curriculum (SELC) there has been an increased emphasis/desire on the part of students for more comprehensive education around sexual health and related topics. After hearing Sofia present to faculty and staff at a professional development day last spring, it made sense to have her speak to the students as well. “We thought it was completely relevant for students,” said Ms. Barela. As part of further implementing the SELC, the Responsible Sex Education Institute spoke to Bosque 10th and 12th graders earlier this year.
Sofia said she was glad to see that Bosque is making the curriculum a priority for students, and before presenting to her former classmates, Sofia took some time to add to her thesis work for their benefit. “I didn’t debunk any of the rape myths in my presentation at Colloquium,” she said. “But I thought since this was an educational talk, I should incorporate more.” Her recent presentations included the additional research material.
Her research has already proven valuable as she navigates college life. Sofia said that her research has given her an awareness of rape culture on college campuses. She shared with the group a story of more than 20 women who were “roofied” (drugged) at one frat party and sent to the hospital. “I don’t say this to scare you,” she told them, “but rather to show you this issue is real; the statistics are not lying.”
Sofia said she’s settling well into life at the University of Colorado and credits her brother, Felix, Class of 2016, with helping her to avoid potential surprises by giving her “the inside scoop” about what to expect in college. “Lots of studying” is how she spends the majority of her time and so far, philosophy is her favorite subject. “It’s because of the teacher,” she said. Yoga and visiting friends in Denver are two activities she hopes to do more of in the coming weeks and months. “I want to explore Colorado more,” she added.
Sofia Cerna, Class of 2018, is a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder. She’s studying physics and philosophy and is on the pre-med track.