Most parents endure the inevitable and unending “why” questions that begin in toddlerhood…..hoping their child will eventually become sidetracked from the original question. This was not the case in the Coppa household. Growing up with her five younger siblings in a house she describes as being in “the middle of the woods,” Julia Coppa ‘19 was always interested in the whys.
“I was always asking my parents the BIG questions, like ‘why do we believe in God?’” Julia remembers.
Instead of being impatient, Julia’s parents always engaged with her to help think through the questions. Their support provided comfort and helped to shape her worldview. Armed with a perspective that the truth can be uncovered by questioning the status quo, Julia will graduate with a double major in Theology and English next year.
The answer is not always easy nor is the path to discovery always clear, however. As a freshman Julia wanted to follow her love of music instilled by a family full of musicians, with her specialty being classical piano. Writing music for and performing at family “coffee house” sessions, was the perfect introduction to a career in Music Therapy.
The class that led her down a different path was Theology of the Human Person with Sister Annette Pelletier, IHM. The class further motivated Julia to dig deeper into the questions that she had pondered since childhood, like: “What does it mean to be human? Why are we really here?”
“From an early age, I’ve always been engaged with my faith,” Julia says. “Once I got to college, I wanted to put my faith into action.” Always wanting to be a teacher, she combined the two areas that she enjoys learning about: reading and her faith. She laughs while stating “that’s the beauty of Immaculata being a liberal arts college!”
Julia recognizes that her choice of majors may not be the most popular. “When I tell people that I am an English and Theology major, the reactions vary. Today we hear so much about STEM, so people tell me I should consider something more practical, like marketing…something tangible.” Julia only thanks people for their advice, but her confidence that the educational foundation that she is building today, will serve her well as she continues into graduate school, her intended career as a teacher, and as a guiding principle for life itself.
With strong teaching role models at Immaculata, Julia is inspired to become a college professor conducting research in theology and philosophy.
Julia’s love and appreciation for her experience at IU began before she stepped foot into a classroom. As a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, she describes feeling blessed to be chosen, and did not take the privilege lightly. Because she earned the full tuition scholarship, Julia was determined to pay it forward right away by becoming involved on campus. Since arriving at Immaculata, she has volunteered as a programming assistant for the Office of Student Involvement, served as copy editor for the Immaculatan [student newspaper], helped her peers through assisting in the Writing Center, founded a new campus Bible study group for women called Crown of Creation, served as secretary of the Immaculata Honor’s Society, plays in the piano ensemble… and, oh yeah, is the president of the Class of 2019!
“I love Immaculata; I really love going here,” she states emphatically.
Her experiences are invaluable, but she will also tell you how important the people are to her overall success. “I’ve had teachers, Sisters, look me in the face and say ‘Julia, you’re doing too much. I can see it in your face – you’re too stressed.’ That concern and connection are trademarks of Immaculata. “It’s built into our very identity– intentional relationships can be built with ease,” Julia professes.
In college, you have the ultimate opportunity to grow yourself holistically…..Julia encourages the next generation of Immaculatans to fully appreciate each of these important years. College is such an important time to figure out who you are–– even if you don’t think you need to figure yourself out. “It’s going to happen just because you’re away from home and dealing with new people. You’re going to have friction but that friction is going to help you grow.”
Ask the questions. And be open to the answers.