Info for Parents Counselors

Nitai Deitel '12

Hometown: Denver, Colorado
High School: Denver East High School
Major: Politics and Government: International Relations, Chinese minor, Interdisciplinary emphasis in Asian Studies

Why did you choose University of Puget Sound?

I am originally from New York City and moved to Denver when I was 12, so I had always planned on going back east for college. Puget Sound was actually one of the only schools on the west coast that I looked at, but a lot of my people from my high school had come here and had only said good things so I decided to visit campus and see for myself. On my tour I was struck by the natural beauty of campus and even though it was a cold and rainy day, I knew I could see myself fitting in with the campus community and living here for the next four years of my life. Academically, the departments that interested me were very strong and there were many opportunities to study abroad, and the overall vibe of the campus suited me perfectly.

What has been your favorite course?

My favorite class thus far has been Constitutional Law of US National Security with Professor Seth Weinberger. The course material was similar to a law school course on International Law which also made it the most challenging class that I have taken so far. We delved deep into the legality of the War on Terrorism and the case law behind the interaction of international law and Supreme Court jurisprudence. I have always been fascinated with constitutional law and Professor Weinberger blended the course material in with his own personal research to really engage the class on this subject that is being constantly debated currently in real-world governmental circles.

What professor has especially inspired you during your time at Puget Sound?

When I first visited campus as a prospective student I met with International Political Economy (IPE) Professor Mike Veseth and little did I know that I had just had the first of many long conversations about the intersection of soccer and the world of IPE. He was planning a freshman seminar course on that very subject, so I was more than excited to get to campus freshman year and enroll in the first edition of this course. The class was amazing and I often would stop by in his office hours and pick his brain for his opinions on everything we talked about in class. While I was studying abroad in China, he connected me with some of his former students who were working in Beijing so I could meet up with them and learn about the path they took after graduation.  Now back on campus, even though I decided to be a Politics and Government major over IPE, we talk about my post-graduate plans and I cannot wait to take his “Idea of Wine” course next spring!

What is your favorite place on campus?

Definitely the grove of trees in between the Music Building and Wyatt Hall. I remember when I took my first tour of campus as a prospective student that I could not believe that there was a forest of trees right smack in the middle of campus. I walk that path to Wyatt multiple times every single day and I am still taken by the natural beauty, especially in the springtime as the flowers begin to bloom and you can literally smell the end of winter.

What is your favorite food in the Wheelock Student Center?

The South African Sweet Potato Stew at the Vegan/ Vegetarian station

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first year about the Puget Sound experience?

It’s really simple but I think you should get involved with as many different clubs or organizations on campus as you can during the beginning of your freshman year. Whether it is student government, a club sport, theater, or by starting your own club if it does not yet exist, you should get involved because your freshman year experience often is determined by how much you put into it.

What campus activities do you participate in?

I have been involved in the Campus Visit Program since freshman year and now I am one of the coordinators of the program. I play on the Ultimate Frisbee team, and serve as the Senior class senator. I am also active in the Political Science Association and am the Vice President of the Student Alumni Association.

Who is your favorite character from a movie/book/television series?

It’s a close tie between Omar from The Wire and President Bartlett from The West Wing, two characters who couldn’t be more different, but both follow exceptional sets of personal morals and are without a doubt two of the most well written characters on television.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the constitutional convention. So many of our modern political debates return to different interpretations of  the constitution, and since our constitution is the smallest in the world, it would be an amazing thing to know the true intent of the founders when they wrote it.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Fast Car by Wyclef Jean Featuring Paul Simon. 

You have a 10 minute speech to give at a high school, what is it about?

I would talk about embracing people with different opinions and trying hard to understand the where people are coming from, even if you completely disagree with their point of view. It is important to appreciate people with different perspectives and have conversations with them instead of staying inside your own bubble and ignoring the people who you do not agree with. The concept of “walking a mile in someone’s shoes” before you judge them is very important, and I feel that spirit is being lost in today’s society.

Where are they now?

Nitai graduated in May 2012 and will soon be moving to Beijing, China. He will be working for IES Abroad at their Beijing Center.