Student Spotlight

Lenisha Bolton

 Semaj Arnold, a junior majoring in engineering technology at Western Illinois University finds ways to stay grounded while being so actively involved on campus.

 “It was during my senior year in high school, (a) guidance counselor persuade(d) me to attend Western,” Arnold said. “She (said) it was affordable for me and it (was) one of the best Midwestern universities.”

 Arnold adds that the size of campus is very convenient for him.

 “My first impression of coming to Western (was) that it wasn’t too big or too small,” Arnold said. “(It is a) nice campus.”

 He always had an interest in how technology worked. He would often take things apart and put them back together.

 “My dad and I would take apart game systems, game controllers, PCs, etc,” Arnold explained. “We would install new hard drives into computers.”

 Arnold finds the classes in regards to his major very enjoyable.

 “I made models of houses, pitcher plates, bean bag toss board from leftover wood and metal pieces,” Arnold said.

 He is also involved in four campus organizations: Japanese Club, Anime Club, Swing Dance and the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center Dance Troupe (GBCC). He says he has been interested in Japanese culture since he was in high school.

 “When I was in my sophomore year of high school my bother introduced me to anime,” Arnold said. “I found the language and
show very interesting. After that, I started doing more research of Japan and learned a lot about their culture, so I began planning to go to Japan during my college years to experience their culture first hand.”

 Arnold says that he was not the type of person who enjoyed dancing until he was required to take a dancing and theater class in high school. Since then, he’s enjoyed learning about different types of dances.

 “Back in high school, I was required to take a performance arts class to graduate,” Arnold said. “At first, I was going to do theater because I thought dancing would be difficult, but I decide(d) to just take dance since I was already registered. Then later on during the semester, I found it enjoyable and became interested in games. Even now, in my junior (year) of college, I am dancing (in) concerts and events. I love dancing and (am) still learning new styles.”

 He attended one of the GBCC performances at the Union last semester to support one of his peers who was in the dance troupe. Impressed with their performance, Arnold decided he wanted to be a part of the GBCC.

 “The try-outs were pretty easy,” Arnold said. “It was easy because it was easy to follow along with the instructor when they were teaching the dance. I was able to remember the steps for the dance and performed it well.”