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December 10, 2020

AHA Alumna Shares an Insider’s View of Georgetown

 In-person college tours may be on pause during the pandemic, but prospective students can still get a feel for their target schools by speaking with a knowledgeable insider. This month, Academy of the Holy Angels alumna Kirsten Garino (AHA ’19) offered a student’s view of Georgetown for a dozen current Angels. The virtual meeting was organized by AHA Office of Academic and College Counseling Director Rachel Jackiewicz.


Garino appeared in front of a virtual Georgetown background, and shared her screen to allow participants to see photos of the campus and its environs. She introduced herself, explaining she is a current sophomore who is majoring in English literature and Spanish. Garino writes and edits for The Hoya, Georgetown’s newspaper, and is a member of the Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program Executive Board. GAAP runs programs for prospective and admitted students, and Garino clarified that she is not involved in the admissions process. She also shared that she enjoys Georgetown basketball, and is a member of the official fan section.


Established in 1789, Georgetown is the first Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. The school serves 7,500 undergraduates who represent all 50 states and over 115 countries. The closed campus is located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.


Garino attends Georgetown College, one of four schools within the university. She explained that the core curriculum requirement permits her to explore courses she would not have taken otherwise, including a class called “Hyper History.”


“It ended up being like a discussion session on experimental methods of understanding history, and it was co-taught by four different professors who were each experts in a different type of history,” Garino said of the course. “We talked about how we can use the history of disease to understand history, which became way too relevant, way too fast, in the spring (when COVID-19 took hold in the United States)….We talked about using tree rings to understand history, and it was all different methods of understanding history without having written records.”


Garino fielded several questions from the Angels, including queries about housing and access to the city. She noted that Georgetown provides a free shuttle to the Washington, D.C. Metro, and the Smithsonian museums are free of charge.

One Angel asked about the transition from high school to college.


“Holy Angels is going to prepare you for wherever you go, because you know how to work hard if you’re at this point at Holy Angels. You know what you’re passionate about. You have that passion that got you through Holy Angels. You’re going to be very well prepared to go to Georgetown,” Garino advised.


Commenting on Georgetown’s supportive environment, Garino shared that she sought her professor’s advice while she was taking a rigorous literary theory class. She reported that her professor helped her break down key concepts and helped her plan her essays, so she could get the most out of the class.


Garino added that Georgetown’s first-year seminars helped her transition to academic life. She took a philosophy seminar that focused on critical thinking and how to live a life with dignity.


She noted Georgetown’s commitment to the care of the whole person in terms of spiritual, academic, and social development. Garino described the school as having a tight-knit community of people who are happy to be there.

Asked why she decided on Georgetown, she pointed to the community-like feel of the beautiful campus, and the easy access to the city’s cultural opportunities. She described Georgetown as a small, warm school that has the spirit and resources of a larger school.


“The community cares about me and my growth,” she said.


Garino also noted Georgetown’s vast alumni network, which she discovered while researching internship options.

“People want to give back,” she summarized.


Garino, in turn, is giving back to Holy Angels. She concluded the session by providing her personal contact information to all of the Angels in attendance.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds.