Photo by Matt D’Annunzio

Adrien Schless-Meier ’12

sociology

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Who I was when I got to Reed: Brimming with excitement and overwhelmed by such a strange and magical place.

How Reed changed me: As someone with strong opinions and a great desire to share them, I have often gained the most insight here when I chose to be silent.

Influential book: I read Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) in Spanish and loved it so much that I immediately read it again in English. I wanted to be in that world as long as I could.

Favorite spot: On the back of the physics building is a ledge with a couch and a gorgeous view of the Canyon.

Random thoughts: My high school guidance counselor told me about Reed and it became the light at the end of my tunnel. The first time I visited Reed with my parents, we drove into Eliot Circle, the cherry trees were in bloom, and I started sobbing. My mother said, “Is everything okay?” and I said, “It’s perfect. It’s beautiful here. It’s everything I thought college should look like.” She’s like: “Okay, I guess we know where you’re going.” I spent so much time thinking about what Reed would be like. When it materialized in front of me, it was more magical than I ever thought it could be.

Cool stuff I did: Learned to make cheese and roast my own coffee. Hung out with people like Billy Collins, Common, Parvez Sharma, Hari Kondabolu, Shira Tarrant, and Inga Muscio. Joined my first athletic team, the Reed crew.

Scholarships, awards, financial aid: Having worked for the Gray Fund and received the Betty Gray Scholarship, the late Betty Gray is akin to my Reed guardian angel.

Adviser: Prof. Kjersten Whittington [sociology 2007–]

Thesis: Open and Accessible to All?: Organizational Color-Blindness in the Portland Farmers Market

What it’s about: How does the Portland Farmers Market tackle issues of race and class inequity, both in regard to the organization’s vendor pool and consumer base? 

What it’s really about: The problems with giving a white face to a “progressive” institution.

What’s next: I will be working with AmeriCorps to promote farm-to-school education for K-12. Eventually I plan to get my master’s in public health.