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MEET: Sasha Debevec-McKenney'12, who was Frederick Douglass once for Halloween

November 21, 2011

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Name: Sasha Debevec-McKenney’12
Creative writing (with minors in American studies and journalism).
Windsor, Conn.
You may have seen me:
and my big hair taking a power nap in the library basement, or generally stomping around campus in my favorite pair of cowboy boots.
What’s on your desert island jukebox?
Mostly Elvis Costello—he pretty much covers all the emotions one might go through when stranded on a desert island. Sad songs, angry songs, stalking-your-prey songs, near-death-dance-party-songs, etc.
Favorite meal?
In Beloit, it’s the mushroom panini at Bushel and Peck’s, because it’s vegetarian which means I can trick myself into thinking it's healthy, but it’s also really cheesy and greasy and delicious. At home, it’s the chicken salad my Dad makes (with pickles and onions) on any good bread. For dessert, one of his oatmeal craisin chocolate chip cookies.
What can’t you live without?
I have six unbelievably adorable and wonderful nieces and nephews. My sisters constantly send me pictures of said nieces and nephews (especially the younger ones) being unbelievably adorable and sometimes I sneak peeks on my phone during especially boring classes. My sister Randa recently sent me one of her 2-year-old daughter wearing monkey ears and sitting in a laundry basket— it’s nice to be reminded that that amount of cuteness exists in the world, especially during a dreary lecture.
What do you do in your free time?
I write poems about presidents of the United States. Do a little bit of scrolling and you can read one about Ulysses S Grant (“Dear Brigadier”) here and one about Ronald Reagan (“The 1984 Presidential Election”) here. They are deceptively poetic old, dead, white men, and I love them for it.
Who are your top-three fantasy dinner party guests?
James M. McPherson (the preeminent Civil War historian), Frederick Douglass, and FDR (since it’s a fantasy, then it would be the 1940 FDR’s brain inside the body of the 1920 FDR, and I would definitely give him my number by using some sort of New-Deal-related pickup line.) We would then proceed to have the world’s most amazing discussion on the causes of the Civil War and the subsequent ramifications of Reconstructions for African Americans in the 20th Century and about American history in general. Mostly they would talk, and I would sit back, listen, and drink red wine while trying to pluck up the courage to show Douglass the photos of myself dressed up as him for Halloween last year.