May 2, 2017

Picture Perfect

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” — Steve Prefontaine

Track and cross-country runner Ava Nadel ’17 is definitely fast — and she knows how to take it slow.

A yoga lover and photographer, she has the patience to find peace in a pose and catch the perfect picture. She served as a photographer for The Guilfordian and her work-study assignment was in sports photography. When asked about what she notices most about Guilford’s campus, though, she’s all about the trees.

“The woods and trails are so peaceful here!” she says. “Every memory that I have in these trails is my favorite. In spring and fall I love the changing of colors, and with the many trees at Guilford, that's hard to miss!”

Ava is a Sociology major with a minor in Communications from Brooklyn, N.Y. The transition from city life to the North Carolina Piedmont is part of what made the trees stand out for her. And two more standouts at Guilford its hospitality and strong sense of community.

“When I first moved into Shore Hall in my sophomore year, I didn't know any of the girls on my hall,” she says. “They made an effort to introduce themselves to me and make me feel welcome!”

Her special relationship with Dr. Jeff Jeske, former head of the English department and faculty adviser to The Guilfordian who died in January 2017, made Guilford feel like a home that would take her to the next level.

“He inspired me to pursue my passion in photography, and his kindness and guidance allowed me to never doubt myself as a photographer, despite my hardships,” she says. “Even after his passing, his guidance and mentorship is with me each day.”

Ava also credits her success at Guilford to her coach, Danny Cash, for pushing her to be the best runner she can be, and for being a parent at her home away from home.

After graduation, Ava will begin a yearlong commitment with AmeriCorps VISTA at Generation Schools Network at Brooklyn Generation High School in her home neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Generation Schools focuses on redefining high school curriculums, college readiness programs and accessibility.