Welcome Susan Charlie ’23, Lucille Baker-Stahl ’23,
and Nicolas Bell ’23

Susan Charlie '23

Susan Charlie ’23

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your path to Carleton.

Hello everyone! My name is Susan Agetha Charlie (she/her/hers) and I am a sophomore, intending on majoring in Economics and minoring in Chinese. Of course if you do not see me doing these by my junior year, try to not ask much! Life and decision making would probably have happened.

 I am from a tiny village called Ramotswa in a relatively smaller country found in the southern parts of Africa, Botswana. My journey to Carleton was made possible by my own government as a reward for performing exceptionally well in high school.

I learnt of Carleton College during my college search and fell in love with the school. No, I never got to come for Accepted Student Days, so you could say I loved what I found on the internet about the school. Although it can get very lonely being around a culture that is very different from what I used to, there is no regret in the decision I made because Carleton has taught me so much more than I hoped to learn. I guess my favorite part about this place is the conversations. Whether it’s small talk with a stranger on the sidewalk, a virtual talk session organized by a department in school, or a class discussion, there is always something interesting to pick up. Not only do I learn something about the topic in discussion, but I also get to pick up tiny aspects of the ‘American’ culture. From the subtle cues, manner of articulation and expression, to the different perspective on most things- it is all fun to learn!

What has been your favorite Carleton class so far?

My favorite Carleton class so far has to be Introduction to Poetry by Timothy Raylor. It reminded me of how much I loved writing and expressing myself in an artistically pleasing way. I am taking one called Makeup Design during the Spring term, and it might become my new favorite for the same reason of loving to expressing myself in an aesthetically gratifying way.

In what ways are you excited about connecting with LGBTQI+ alumni?

I grabbed the opportunity to join Out After Carleton Board because I feel like I have so much more to learn in terms of taking pride in who I am, holding conversations surrounding LGBTQIA+ issues, and creating a much more inclusive environment for this community. So while offering whatever aid I can, I am hoping to learn more on the above mentioned topics.

I am excited to hold more conversations with the LGBTQIA+ alumni and learn about their own experiences while in Carleton, the roles they play in the OAC, and their life stories.

What is currently on your playlist?

My playlist is normally your current famous pop American vocalists like Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, but at the moment I have been listening to a lot of old school South African music to take myself back to my younger years when I had less to worry about and everything seemed too peaceful. The songs help me feel closer to home, because being the only Motswana on campus and not having much to explore around downtown Northfield can feel lonely.


Lucille Baker-Stahl '23

Lucille Baker-Stahl ’23

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your path to Carleton.

I grew up in small town Indiana surrounded by rust belt deindustrialization and a shrinking population.However, for the most part, I treated that as a norm and only began to realize how different other parts of the country were during the end of middle school. After that, I unconsciously set my goal for the future as getting out of the state and escaping to someplace happier.

Another huge influence on my life that’s really surrounded me growing up and onward is a strong quaker community. Through my parents employment at a small quaker college, my own education at a small friends school for the first decade of my life, and my continued involvement in quaker youth education, I’ve become reliant on that large part of my life to keep working on defining my identity and what is important to me. 

In terms of getting myself to Carleton, I guess I’ve been exposed to Carleton for my whole life, or at least second hand through my dad’s status as an alum. However, I distinctly remember not being able to remember the name for the longest time and not really think of it much. Eventually, I started looking into colleges I might be interested in around my sophomore and junior year of high school. It kept popping up and after finally looking into it, I fell in love with the french and geology offerings along with the campus culture which eventually led me here. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Hm. In some ways, I have no idea where I’ll be at. My own academic indecisiveness and choice to double major means that I have a lot of doors open to me which is almost too overwhelming to start narrowing down. I appreciate academe, and I can easily see myself pursuing further education, more likely in geology than in French. However, I could just as easily see myself hiking the Appalachian trail, a longtime dream, or doing something else completely random that doesn’t pertain at all to my Carleton education. 

What is your favorite place to hang out in Northfield (outside of campus)?

It’s been really hard exploring Northfield these past two years, with my first year cut short after the winter by the pandemic, and this year still feeling the effects and worrying about being in public spaces. One place that I’d love to spend more time at post-pandemic would be Goodbye Blue Monday, the coffee shop downtown. I have fond memories of writing essays and bad French poetry there sipping on delightful drinks. 

In what ways are you excited about connecting with LGBTQI+ alumni?

I love Carleton’s LGBTQIA+ community on campus; however, I see a very clear lack of longtime certainty through it. Many students are focusing on dealing with the present and struggling with their identities. I hope to see past that and connect with alumni who have found happiness and success along the way. 

What is your favorite food and why?

I’m not usually someone who’s good at picking out just one thing I love or that is my favorite. Especially with food, I find there’s just too many amazing things out there all of which I’d be happy to eat or try. A fond memory and food I associate with it is a french tomato, eggplant, onion, and zucchini bake sprinkled with some olive oil, salt, and little l’Herbes de Provence. Whenever I have it, I think back to the summer I spent with a host family during high school in Brest, on the coast of Brittany, and late night dinners sitting around the backyard just chatting and enjoying each other’s company. 

What was the last book you read?

Now this is a little embarrassing. I don’t think I’ve actually taken the time to sit down with a novel for pleasure reading since the start of fall term. I’ve kept up with some other reading outside of class, but the last full book I read for personal enjoyment was Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir. It’s book two of three in a trilogy and the first description I heard about it still sticks with me and I find myself using it frequently to recommend and entice others to read it. “Lesbian necromancers in space,” I mean who couldn’t like that. 


Nicolas Bell '23

Nicolas Bell ’23

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your path to Carleton.

I am from Boulder, Colorado and was lucky to be able to go to my city’s non-traditional public school, New Vista High School. There, the teachers cared about and supported the students, and we got to take fun college-style courses such as Geology and The Concept of Identity in Literature. It even had a comps-style senior project, in which I explored Rubik’s Cubes, how to solve multiple types quickly, and how to calculate the total number of possible combinations in a variety of cubes. My parents and school supported my LGBTQ+ identities throughout high school and helped me be confident in who I am today. When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to major in some kind of science, but I didn’t know what discipline I liked, so I explored all of them! I came to Carleton for the Taste of Carleton program and fell in love with the school. And just a few days ago, I declared my Geology major! I’m happy to be here at Carleton with wonderful, supportive friends and a school that I love. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

In 5 years, I hope to still be in school, hopefully in a PhD program for research in a field of geology or biology. I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I want to learn as much as I can and be able to use science to increase understanding about the world that we live in.

What is your favorite place to hang out in Northfield (outside of campus)?

I tend to spend most of my time on campus, but when I go off campus I typically go to Tandem Bagels, Little Joy, or Content Bookstore. Northfield is such a great town and I look forward to spending more time off campus in Northfield once the pandemic is over.

In what ways are you excited about connecting with LGBTQI+ alumni?

Most of the word that I’ve done previously with the LGBTQIA+ community has been with youth. I’m excited to expand my horizons and to meet and connect with LGBTQIA+ alumni for many reasons, such as comparing the culture and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people when they went to school vs. now, continuing to strengthen the community, meeting new people in general, and because I will be an alum in a few years as well!

Have you learned anything about yourself during the Covid-19 pandemic that you would be willing to share?

I’ve gotten back into reading for fun during the pandemic. When I was younger, I read all the time, pretty much non-stop. I lost this a bit in high school as I had to start reading more for school and got into other interests of mine, such as Rubik’s cubes and karate. I had more time when everything first shut down because a lot of what I did was in-person previously, so I got back into reading and I’m so glad I did, because books bring so much joy to me!

What was the last book you read?

I just finished reading a book called “Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference” by Cordelia Fine, which is a book that reviews a lot of scientific articles and explains just how drenched in gender binaries society is. It points out a lot of false claims and myths about gender differences and shows that so-called “hard wiring” of gender in brains at a young age is due to gendered cultural assumptions. I like that it didn’t just debunk that brains can be different genders, but instead brought into perspective just how much is involved in gender identity that people don’t typically thing about. I also recently read a trilogy of books by Neal Shusterman, the first one titled “Scythe”. It’s about a society that is ruled by a supercomputer (though not one that is corrupt!) and the only the thing the computer doesn’t control is death. Two teenagers are chosen to be apprentices for a Scythe, which is a person tasked with the job of deciding who dies. I liked the series because each book felt distinct and a lot happened that I wasn’t expecting which made the books fun to read.

What is currently on your playlist?

I am a big musical fan! The ones I’ve been interested in for the past year or so have been the cast recordings of two shows – Hadestown and Jagged Little Pill. The first tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and the second uses music from Alanis Morissette and is about a family. I was incredibly lucky to be able to see both of these shows in December of 2019, soon before everything shut down. I’m always up for discussing musicals with people or learning about new (or old) shows that I don’t know well yet!


Welcome Alé Cota ’22 & Gavin Young ’21 to the Out After Carleton Leadership Committee

Alé Cota '22
Alé Cota ’22

Alé Cota ’22

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your path to Carleton.

Hey y’all! My name is Alé, I use they/them/(pretty) pronouns, and I am a third-year from California, currently studying remotely from South Texas. I am working towards my double major in Gender, Women’s, Sexuality Studies and Latin American Studies. I absolutely am a proud trans, nonbinary, queer Latine (gender-neutral term for Latino that avoids the clunky x like “Latinx” because Spanish speakers being forced to say Latinx is just another facet of power dynamics at play). Besides that, I am a self-proclaimed writer, thinker, poet, and practicing radical, queer organizer. 

 In terms of my path to Carleton, well, you can say that I am a traveler though it has not always been by choice. Throughout my life, my family and I have lived precariously where we experienced several periods of being without a home. From this, I have lived in various different neighborhoods and even different states. Although I was born and raised in California I have come to explore the surrounding apartment zip codes outside of Chicago, Illinois, and the various cities within the San Fernando Valley in California. Eventually, we found stable enough housing in the predominantly Black and brown, low-income neighborhood of North Hills, California where I attended James Monroe High, a Title I school. All of this to say that my awareness of colleges was close to nonexistent. I understood that I wanted to attend college because I felt that was the best way to escape my material conditions but I had no resources or information on the college selection process. Thankfully, my 10th and 12th grade English teacher and mentor believed in the ability of the marginalized students in his classes and provided us with expectations and options. It was through this then I was able to escape the University of California system for undergrad and found that two alumni from my high school had been admitted to Carleton, and decided to apply for the Taste of Carleton (FGLI program) fly-in program. Once I visited and sat in a class, everything else felt like (effort-filled) fate. 

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

In five years I definitely should have graduated law school by then. I imagine myself either practicing civil rights law or if not, then definitely applying for a graduate Ph.D. program in Cross-Cultural studies with an emphasis on Queer studies track. My career aspirations are closely linked to the organizing I do within my communities and have always been driven by such. As politicized beings in a markedly oppressive imperial core, it is imperative that we continue the work that our queer, and trans elders have fought tooth and nail for centuries. As a trans person, I do not know anything else but organizing. I am moved by instilling acts of how to love each other and create mutual aid networks that resist the structural apparatus that confine us. Some of the research I have done through my Mellon Mays fellowship is about developing a methodology that includes trans, queer voices and experience of color to uplift rather than depress us from continuing to fight.

What is your favorite place to hang out in Northfield (outside of campus)?

Blue Mondays hands down, no competition whatsoever! The amount of creativity and epiphanies I have had while writing in the space has been incredible. If y’all ever see my work when it gets published, just know that my work has its writing process roots in Blue Monday’s ambiance. The fascinating and openly queer conversations I have had (and overheard!) filled with laughter, comfort, and such tenderness that at times I felt that I was becoming more whole as I continued to visit the space. I think that’s one of the few things that I definitely miss now that I am remotely studying. 

In what ways are you excited about connecting with LGBTQI+ alumni?

I serve in a lot of leadership roles at Carleton and all of my work these past two years has been very much QTBIPOC focused. I also work at the Gender and Sexuality Center as the associate in charge, along with an amazing co-worker, to revamp educational workshops for students. One of my favorite programs so far has been our pronouns workshop that my co-worker titled “THEY SAID.” With this work in mind, I really want to connect with LGTQI+ alumni, especially QBTIPOC, or white alumni who are in positions of power to consider the ways in which they can directly and effectively assist QTBIPOC. This can be in creating connections for QTBIPOC with companies that are safe environments for us. As a future practicing attorney, I will have to grapple with the conservative performativity of gender and its dynamics in the courtroom as a they/them pronoun using person. Having had some of the conversations with faculty and some alumni about that aspect has definitely been really helpful and transformative for me. Conversations that go such a long way because they affirm our identities rather than the heteronormative discourse of having to adapt to the white supremacist, and the capitalist myth of professionalism. 

What is currently on your playlist?

Mitski! I am known among my friends, acquaintances, and overall social networks as a major Mitski stan. Mitski is an alternative rock artist who wrote her first two albums as a graduation project from undergrad that started off her career. She currently has five albums out. Interestingly enough, I wrote my common app essay for Carleton and the supplementals while listening to her “Bury Me Out At Makeout Creek” album. But when I am not listening to Mitski I have my Spanish genres like Bachata, Cumbia, and Mariachi on there. All in all, I would say my music taste is quite diverse though recently it has begun to become refined, and perhaps that’s part of aging or rather understanding myself more, which is differently a queer life thing. 

What is your favorite food and why?

My favorite seafood dish is Shrimp Ceviche! One of my parents is from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, which is a big hub for seafood in Mexico so naturally, I have had an affinity for seafood growing up. Whenever I have had ceviche outside of my home, it has been in super queer spaces and that has honestly made the taste of the dish a thousand times better. 

What was the last book you read?

All About Love by bell hooks. It was a phenomenal read that I read in part because of my partner and their friend starting a book club reading on it and in part because it aligned with my Mellon Mays Fellowship project on developing a  trans, queer of color love ethic. The text is fundamentally eye-opening and really assisted with alleviating some of the unresolved issues within myself related to my gendered relationship with my family. I will not spoil much but if you have not read it, I definitely suggest you do. 


Gavin Young '21
Gavin Young ’21

Gavin Young ’21

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your path to Carleton.

I grew up on a farm a little ways outside of Birmingham, AL.  I’m told that when I explain it to other people who don’t know me it sounds like I grew up in a cult because I live down a two mile dirt road with 20 members of my extended family, was homeschooled, and didn’t wear shoes regularly until I was 13.  My road from there to Carleton is largely influenced by my wonderful highschool counselor who saw me for the conflicted little queer boy I was and quite forcefully shoved me towards Carleton, a push I’m grateful for.   

What has been your favorite Carleton class so far?

I think Evolution with Mark Mckone has to be one of my favorite classes.  It made me readjust the way I saw the natural world from cute little bunnies hopping through a meadow to a tenuous balance of near endless populations .  Meredith McCoy’s Approaches to Indigenous Studies was also a really impactful class, helping me to recognize my privilege for the first real time in my life.

What is your favorite place to hang out in Northfield (outside of campus)?

Behind the Tavern, there is this section of wall by the Cannon that doesn’t have railing.  I really like getting coffee, going down to the wall and basking in the sun for a bit as the water rushes by.

What motivated you to join the Out After Carleton Leadership Committee?

I was motivated to join the OAC Leadership Committee both out of a desire to connect to my community and a desire to contribute to improving the experience of the next group/generation of queer students at Carleton.  I’m trying to carve out a place for queer people in the organizations that I’m a part of on campus but it feels hard and lonely.  I want to learn about the legacy of my family at Carleton so it can inform how I take action and give me hope.

Have you learned anything about yourself during the Covid-19 pandemic that you would be willing to share?

I’ve learned that silence is important to me.  Being isolated for as much of the pandemic as I was forced me to like being by myself.  I think that because of that, I enjoy silence now.  Instead of obsessing over my perceived inadequacies, I’m able to get out of my own head and use that time to think in a more productive way

If you could go back and give your first year at Carleton self any advice, what would it be?

I don’t know that my first year self would have listened to anything I have to say but I would have tried to get him to sleep more. The two of us function at about 50% capacity when we go to bed after 10:30. 

What is currently on your playlist?

I love dancing and so I’ve got a lot of poppy stuff on my playlists at the moment.  Two of my favorites are ‘ili’ by Troyboi and ‘Movement’ by Pham.  ‘Easy’ by Troye Sivan, ‘Tangerine’ by Glass Animals, and lofi avatar music on YouTube are all also things that I listen to often.