Oral Histories

Erica (Thomas) Switzer


Erica (Thomas) Switzer


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Erica (Thomas) Switzer, class of 2000, grew up in Maywood, in Cook County. She did very well in school growing up, went into an accelerated learning program, and still wanted more of a challenge. An IMSA recruiter visited her school and she immediately did everything she could to attend.

Switzer met her best friend the summer before starting at IMSA and they became roommates. Despite not always getting along in the first year, they learned a lot from the experience. Academically, Switzer felt challenged at first, but learned to ask for help. She loved her chemistry classes and enjoyed humanities and world languages as well. English classes helped her to flourish as a writer, an interest she'd had from a young age, and she even learned to love writing papers.

Outside of classes, Switzer actively participated in all sorts of cultural events and especially enjoyed Diwali and Lunar New Year. She was a part of the poetry club, the Poetry in Motion dance club, sang in the choir, and did comedy with Club Pseudo.

Switzer attended Lake Forest College and thought she would study business, but she switched to majoring in English. She then got a Masters in English Literature from DePaul University. For a while she worked in a corporate job and, facing personal challenges, she then found her way back into writing and comedy. She spent 4 years in China where she taught English literature, and also took up public speaking and comedy again.

Switzer has since returned to the Chicago area and she is a comedian. She credits IMSA with her inquiry-based approach to life and learning. Even in comedy, she describes the scientific approach to testing out jokes and observing reactions. She remembers her IMSA experience fondly and says she "wouldn't change a thing."

Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 19:59




alumni, careers, choir, college, English classes, extracurriculars, humanities, language classes, science classes, residential life


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Erica (Thomas) Switzer