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Leah Ozgun

“I have always been one to advocate for community at Loomis. That was one of the big reasons I came here. Being an RA means that I get to ensure everyone in my dorm is happy, healthy, safe.”

We recently sat down with senior Leah Ozgun, whose interests seemingly know no boundaries: She enjoys art and music and is a resident assistant, tour guide, captain of the equestrian team, lifeguard, and all-around animal lover. She will attend University of California-Davis in the fall for animal science. When asked what animals she had growing up, she laughed. “I’ve had a lot of animals. ... I had chickens, ducks. I have bees right now. I have a dog, had bunnies, different types of bird, fish. I had hamsters.”


Class: Senior

Hometown: Ridgefield, N.J.

Clubs/activities: Captain of the equestrian team for two years, a tour guide for three years, resident assistant (RA) in Flagg Hall this year, co-founder of the Armenian Club.

Hobbies: Produces and writes music, enjoys art, and is an avid reader. She is a lifeguard in her hometown during the summers and during the year at Loomis Chaffee.

On being on the equestrian team for four years: “I’ve been riding since I was 7 and competing since I was 13. It is like having a family on campus. The equestrian team is pretty small, so you get close.”

On the horse she rides, Champ, and their bond: She sees Champ four times a week. “I think I’ve always had a good connection with animals. [Horses] know if you care or not  ... so tacking them up, cleaning them off, giving them treats, giving them good scratches, they really like being scratched on their shoulders, and that's a sign of friendliness to horses. And just being around. They know your scent. They know you.”

What do you enjoy about riding: “When I am riding, my brain kind of shuts off. ... I can bond with my horse and my teammates without the pressures of school.”

Leah Ozgun points to her artwork during the CL Harlem Renaissance course

Leah during a presentation to conclude the Harlem Renaissance course

On taking the College-Level (CL) Harlem Renaissance course this year: “I'm a really big fan of jazz music. ... I’m a really big fan of music in general. … In the last year I have been getting into the history of jazz, and I saw I'd be able to take that course. And Harlem was a big aspect of the development of jazz.”

On her interests in music and art: She said she is “not a big fan of taking music lessons” but can play the harmonica, the piano, and the electric bass, and she enjoys singing. She is in the A Cappelicans. She says her CL Art Seminar, an intensive studio art course, has given her “the space, the time, and the materials to work in a way I have never been able to before. Almost every day I get to go into the studio and pretty much work on whatever I want, which has given me a lot of freedom.” One of her pieces was on display in a show that opened April 4 in the Richmond Art Center. 

Artwork by Leah Ozgun

Leah's artwork currently on exhibit in conjunction with Traci Talasco’s show “Tipping Point”. Ms. Talasco’s show is being held in conjunction with an exhibition of work by students in advanced level art courses and the College-Level Art Seminar in the Barnes and Wilde galleries, which, like the Mercy Gallery, is located in the Richmond Art Center.

On being an RA in Flagg: “I love it there. I have always been one to advocate for community at Loomis. That was one of the big reasons I came here. Being an RA means that I get to ensure everyone in my dorm is happy, healthy, safe. … It is rewarding when you see that you can help people. It also teaches you a lot about yourself, how to conduct yourself around others, and further strengthen your bond with others.” Through her role as an RA, she also has gotten to know students whom she might not otherwise have connected with. 

On being a tour guide: “When I toured Loomis, I was really nervous. This was the last school I toured; I had toured six before this. I remember coming here and feeling really welcomed by the community, especially my tour guides. I realized I can give back and show people how much I love this school by being a tour guide, and you get to meet new people, which is great.” 

On traveling to Cuba and Miami with other Loomis students during spring break as part of an International Education Program (IEP) trip organized by the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies: “I learned a lot about Cuban culture, politics, American politics, the daily life of Cuban people. I think it taught me a lot about my own family, having immigrant parents coming from Turkey. And it also taught me a lot about community.”

Favorite place on campus? “The playground next to Faculty Row. I love sitting there and watching the sunset. It is a great view.”

Favorite snack? I like Cheez-Its and sriracha ... dipping Cheez-Its into siracha. I’m a big fan of hot sauce.”

Favorite meal? “This is a weird one. I really like creamed spinach, so whenever it is Thanksgiving or we have a party at our house, I’ll beg my dad to make creamed spinach.”

If you could meet one person, past or present, who would it be? “Probably James Baldwin. He's my favorite author. I think it would be cool to talk to him about the state of the world.”

If you could look into the future, would you? “There is an argument for both sides here. I think, yes, but only certain parts. I’d like to ask questions but not see the whole picture because it is important to go through the learning process.”

Is there a moment in your life so far that has changed you? “Probably just coming here in the first place. I’ve learned a lot about independence, how to make decisions and be my own person.”


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