Student Squared: Daniel Lee ’26

In the debut of “Student Squared,” Managing Features Editor Eleanor Walsh ’25 interviews a student from a list randomly generated by Associate Dean of Students Scott Howard.

Student Squared: Daniel Lee ’26
This week, Daniel discussed family dynamics, his life motto, and his favorite spot on campus with The Student. Photo courtesy of Daniel Lee ’26.

Every week, the Features section publishes either a Staff Spotlight, a Fresh Faculty, or a Thoughts on Theses. I love these profiles because they get right to what I love most about journalism: connecting with other people and hearing their stories. Although I love that we get to hear from staff, faculty, and the occasional senior, I felt like there was a void in our recurring profile series. So much of my college learning has come from talking to my fellow students. Each time I talk to a classmate about where they’re from, what’s important to them, or what makes them laugh, it makes campus feel a little more familiar. I hope that through this column we all can feel more connected to the people we might pass by every day. With this column, I follow in the footsteps of many other college journalists who like talking to their classmates, including but not limited to the Features section of The Williams Record.

Q: First of all, how do you feel about being the first student spotlight interview ever?

A: I actually thought it was fake at first. I sent it to my friend. I was like, ‘Did you also get this email? Like, maybe she’s just asking everybody to see who responds.’ And so initially, I wasn’t going to do it. And then my friend was like, ‘Oh shoot, you might be famous, so you should do it.’ So I thought, OK, I’ll go for it.

Q: That’s so funny. So you thought it was like a phishing thing?

A: Yeah!

Q: That’s awesome. My first question is, where are you from? And what’s something important to you about that place?

A: I’m from Wisconsin — Madison, the capital. That’s where I was born, so something important would be my family and my childhood.

Q: Are you a Wisconsin sports fan at all?

A: I used to keep up with the Packers and the Bucks but now not so much.

Q: The Bucks had a win in the past few years, right? Something like that. Who’s someone you miss from home?

A: I’d say my mom.

Q: What do you study here?

A: So I haven’t fully decided yet, because I’m a sophomore, but I’m leaning towards either neuroscience or psych[ology], maybe a double major…

Q: Double major with those sounds intense. Why are you maybe majoring in those subjects?

A: Well, neuroscience I was always interested in coming in [to college] because I’d never explored that field of science yet. And psychology because I took AP psych and thought it was interesting, then took ‘Clinical [Psychology]’ with [Assistant Professor of Psychology Elizabeth] Kneeland.

Q: What’s been your favorite class that you’ve taken?

A: I think the one that I’m in right now, ‘Understanding Individuals’ with [ Professor of Psychology Amy] Demorest. It’s a continuation of ‘Clinical Psychology,’ so we’re looking at different psychological assessments you can use.

Q: Are you in any clubs or activities on campus?

A: Yeah, I’m pretty active in the Asian Student Association, and then for fun — when I have time — I’m in rock climbing and volleyball.

Q: Oh yeah, I was going to ask what you did in your free time!

A: Yesterday, I went to juggling club just for fun. I do know how to juggle, but I just thought I’d go to touch up on some of my rustiness.

Q: Where did you learn how to juggle?

A: My brother. He bought juggling balls because he did it during high school, so then during Covid, with all that free time, we just thought, ‘Oh, let’s learn how to juggle.’

Q: Is it just you and your brother or do you have other siblings?

A: I have two older brothers, one older sister, and then a younger sister.

Q: How do you think your family would describe you?

A: Hopefully as a caring, understanding person. I feel like growing up in such a big family and with three older siblings I’ve retained some of their different personalities within myself. So I think maybe they’d describe me as well-rounded almost, with aspects of everybody.

Q: I really love that. Do you think your friends would describe you similarly?

A: I feel like the way I act around my family is very different from my friends, so I don’t think so. I think my friends might describe me as more reserved, but you know, still aspects of understanding and such…

Q: Who’s someone on campus that brightens your day when you see them?

A: Good question… I’d say my friend Arsh [Singh ’26]. I used to live closer to him, but he lives in Newport now, and we don’t have similar classes at all, so when we are able to hang out during the day it’s nice.

Q: That’s a hard part of sophomore year for sure — living farther away from friends you used to live right next to. Speaking of, how was your first year?

A: There were a lot of ups and downs, but I think that’s probably the classic first-year experience. I enjoyed my time.

Q: And how has the beginning of sophomore year felt in comparison to that?

A: The beginning of sophomore year has felt a lot more steady. It’s like I came in with a certain mindset: I want to take on this semester. Compared to last year, where I was just like, ‘Everything’s new. Let me just see what happens.

Q: I love that. I was wondering, do you have a motto you live by or a role model or anything like that?

A: The phrase ‘This too shall pass.’ So it’s for good times and bad times. It’s like, always remember, eventually this moment or experience is going to pass and we’ll move on. It reminds me to be in the present.

A photo Daniel took at the campus farm, Book and Plow, earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Daniel Lee '26.

Q: Do you have any idea what you want to do after college or maybe where you want to live?

A: I’m in pre-med right now, so probably a gap year, and then, I don’t know what it’ll look like, but eventually going to medical school. I want to try and go somewhere back closer to Wisconsin, where my parents are. And that’s about the extent to which I’ve figured it out.

Q: Do you have a favorite place on campus?

A: I really like the back of [Johnson Chapel] and South [Hall]. I think that’s a really nice place especially when the sun sets.

Q: Do you have anything you want to say to the broader Amherst community, or to your fellow students?

A: I do! I think that [Valentine Dining Hall] gets too much hate. We need to learn to appreciate what they give us. And whenever they do give us better options we should appreciate them.