From Aug. 18-19, nearly 1,600 first-year students moved into Georgetown to begin their academic careers as Hoyas. They arrived from 50 U.S. states and 75 countries around the world.
Title: ‘It’s a New Beginning for Us’: An Inside Look at Move-In 2022 and Family Goodbyes
We followed along on their move-in journey, speaking to families and new students about their road to the Hilltop and their hopes for the next four years.
Editor’s note: The following conversations were edited for brevity and clarity.
Keiran Green (C’26) (left) is a first-year student studying government at Georgetown. His mother, Briana Green (second from left), is the director of career development and alumni engagement at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, and his father, John Green (right), is a sales manager at the Oracle Corporation.
Briana: He was born at 28 weeks, weighed 1 lb. 12 oz, and spent his first six months of life in three NICUs and had three major surgeries. We spent a lot of time holding our breath. We’ve mostly held our breath his entire academic career, even as he continued to defy odds and limitations placed on him by others.
Today is the most I’ve fully breathed in a long time. To know your child is in a place where people care about all aspects of who he is is powerful. I can see his building from my office, and for him to fit in and do his own thing, it’s kind of fly-the-nest-lite. I’m just so excited for all the opportunities that he has available. It’s a new beginning for us.
The night he was born, a doctor said that I might need to make arrangements because they didn’t know if he was going to make it. But I always had faith. I knew different, and my God knew different. He came here for a reason, and he’s going to fulfill that reason and see it through. Watching that happen in real time, it’s a little surreal. But it feels good.
John: I just want him to have success. I want him to feel like he’s had a successful college experience and he’s met great people. This is the next door for him to go through, and as a Type A father, we have to get through this one. I teach kung fu, and I always tell my students, I’m not training you to get into the tournament. I’m training you to win the tournament. The goal is not to come to Georgetown and then crumble. The goal is to get through. As my wife says <laughs>.
Briana: Are you excited to be out from under our thumb? <laughs>
Keiran: Yes <laughs>.
Kate Frederick (C’26) is a first-year student studying biology in Georgetown College. Her mother, Allison Fleury (left), is a landscape architect in Wyoming.
Allison: We traveled from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She’s our only daughter, our only child, and it’s going to be weird to get back on a plane and not have her with me. It felt odd to buy two round-trip tickets and one one-way ticket. But once we met her roommate, I thought, OK, these two will take care of each other.
Kate: I’m excited about the area and to have a larger community, because I grew up in a small mountain town. I knew everyone in my grade, and now I don’t. So I’m excited to meet new people, but I’m nervous.
Allison: I hope she explores everything she can, meets new people and broadens her world a little bit. I would love to see her dance here because she’s a beautiful dancer. I am not weepy yet. She’s ready.
Kate: I’ll miss you though.
Allison: I’ll miss you too.
Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J., is an associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and a chaplain in New South Hall. Every year during move-in, he introduces himself to first-year students and their families and provides coffee and ice water for them.
This is my 20th year in New South. It’s a really exciting time — all this energy — and everyone feels good about the whole adventure.
The challenge of the transition to first year is two big questions: Am I going to be able to succeed academically, and will I make friends? Those are deep questions that all of us would be concerned about in the first year.
They don’t know for sure what the answers are going to be, so I just tell them, it’s going to be a good answer. You just have to give it time. For some people it happens more quickly than others. Just be patient with the transition.
Tanya Tkachemko (SFS’26) is a first-year student studying international politics and is part of the Georgetown Scholars Program.
Tanya: I’m from Eastern Ukraine on the border with Russia. I came to Georgetown because I wanted to study politics, and I hope to be a diplomat or be in politics.
[Saying goodbye] was hard. My family is in the military, and I see my mom every day. My dad just came back for a few days to say goodbye to me. We had a family dinner, and in the morning, my dad went to work, and my mom said goodbye to me. That was very emotional. I was excited to go to college, it’s a new experience, but also, under these circumstances with the family, they are not safe, and I think about that. I’m so far from them.
I’m settling in now. I’m not homesick yet. It’s my first time in the U.S. Everyone here is so friendly. I feel supported, and the community is nice. I’m excited to start my studies and meet professors. And I’m looking forward to my professional development and career and future. I like Ukraine and its politics and the current government, so I hope in the future I can help with that as well.
Brian Kaye (H’26) (center) is majoring in global health in the School of Health. His parents, Drs. Richard Kaye (D’87) (right) and Mary Beth Morrone (D’88) (left), met while attending Georgetown’s former dental school.
Interviewer: Why did you pick Georgetown?
Brian: Georgetown is one of the best schools for international opportunities and for med, and I wanted to do both. And my parents went to Georgetown.
Richard: I was a year ahead of her in dental school. We happened to be in the clinic at the same time treating patients.
Mary Beth: He helped me extract my first tooth. My dad’s a dentist, so after that happened, I called my dad and said, ‘Oh my God I extracted my first tooth, and I have a date!’ The rest is history.
Between college, dental school and post-grad, this was the greatest experience for us, and we thought Brian would have a great experience here. I’m getting all kinds of Facebook posts from fellow dental students saying ‘Wow, how nice to have one of your kids in there!’ I’m so excited he’s going here.
Matthew Breitfelder (right) is an adjunct professor and chair of the AI, Analytics, and the Future of Work Advisory Group at the McDonough School of Business (MSB). His son, John (left), is a first-year student in MSB.
John was born at Georgetown Hospital. Now he’s moving into Harbin, just a couple hundred yards away from his birthplace. When we drove in this morning, they directed us to park in the same exact parking lot that we parked in 18 years ago when we raced to the delivery room. Now he’s back.
It was pretty magical driving up and seeing the Georgetown entrance. The greeters asked what his name was, and then they started jumping up and down and celebrating his arrival. As a parent, I felt the same way they did. I remember when we drove him off this campus as a baby, and now bringing him back as an 18-year-old feels incredible.
We’re really proud of him, but it’s still hard to let go. But we are all ready, and he is thrilled that he’s coming home to the Hilltop.
Wyatt Nako (C’26) (left) attended the First-Year Orientation to Community Involvement (FOCI) pre-orientation program hosted by the Center for Social Justice. He plans to study philosophy. His mother, Judy Nako (right), is a certified public accountant in Oahu.
Wyatt: I chose Georgetown for the academics. Georgetown is one of the top universities in a lot of different fields, but particularly in government and the humanities, which are the areas I really like. It was tough leaving, but still, my biggest feeling was excitement. It’s nice to feel like I’m starting a new life here.
Judy: We’re from the Honolulu area on Oahu. Georgetown is very far from home. But he’s ready. He’s branching out and exploring, and Georgetown fits him well. He enjoys government; he enjoys the law. Congress is right here; the Supreme Court is here. It’s the perfect place where he can thrive. I’m getting teary-eyed now, but I think he’s ready to move on. Hawaii is so small. So in my head and my heart, I know he’s going to be fine, but he is a long way from home.
Wyatt: She’s told me what she’s been going through, and how tough it’s going to be, and I completely get it. It’s hard leaving them, and I’m so grateful for how much they’ve done for me and how much they’re allowing me to grow even further. I just appreciate everything they’ve done. That’s the biggest thing.
Judy: The world is there for him to explore. But it’s like a slow breakup in a sense; I’m going to let him go, and the less he needs me, the more growth he has in his life. It’s funny because I wasn’t emotional this whole time, but I guess thinking about it and speaking with you, it’s a smidge of emotions. But I know the growth is going to be there. I’m excited to see that in him.