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Spotlight: Graduating senior started Pizza With Your Professor

BY NINA EARNEST | DECEMBER 13, 2010 7:10 AM

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Dana Judas wants to lead a revolt.

After both studying and working in the English-Philosophy Building, the English major built up a love-hate relationship with the facility.

"I'm going to stage a coup in the name of all English majors and take over a better building," Judas, a former Daily Iowan staff member, said and laughed.

Either way, she won't have to deal with the building anymore. Judas has bought her cap and gown, she's finished her 44-page thesis on British multiculturalism, and after three-and-a-half years at the University of Iowa, she is set to graduate this weekend.

"My whole identity is built up in Iowa City, and I don't know what it's going to be like without it," the 22-year-old said.

But she's leaving a legacy behind that will contribute to future students.

As an Honors English major at the UI, Judas spearheaded the Pizza with Your Professor program through the English Society. In a class of more than 800 English majors, she said, it's difficult for students to meet their professors.

As the academic officer of the English Society, Judas arranged for professors to attend the pizza parties, ordered food, and delegated responsibilities to other members for the six times students and professors met for pizza this semester.

Roughly 20 English majors attended regularly. But the small size fostered better discussion, she said.

"You get to be more personal," Judas added.

Her dynamic personality has not gone unnoticed.

Margaret Mills, a professor of Russian language and linguistics, taught Judas in her course Russia Today. Judas described the class as the most interesting she enrolled in at the UI.

Having Judas as a student was "never dull," Mills said.

"Dana just stood out as intensely curious and eager to learn about a country she knew nothing about previously," Mills said.

Judas is set to attend law school in the fall of 2011, though she doesn't know which one. Not knowing where she is going to attend causes her the most anxiety, she said.

And she will miss Iowa City.

"I love school," she said. "I love the college feel, the town, all of it."

In her free time between now and next fall, Judas plans to return to the United Kingdom. She studied abroad in Lancaster the second semester of her sophomore year.

She said she plans to live in England some day, working in intellectual property law.

"My dream is to marry Russell Brand," she said. "Minus the tight pants."

Fellow English major Lindsey Piper, 23, joined Judas on the couch at the back of the coffee shop, making easy-going and playful conversation. The two women, who describe themselves as "platonic soul mates," have become best friends since meeting two years ago.

Piper joked Judas had forced their friendship — but Piper didn't mind.

"It worked out in my favor in the end," Piper said.

"I knew I was a catch," Judas said.

Only the alphabet is separating them at their graduation at the end of this semester.

"Dana is sassy, and she works hard," Piper said. "I feel like it's a good balance."

Dana Judas is the first of five December graduates to be featured in Spotlight Iowa City this week. Check back tomorrow to read about Courtney Hageman, who plans to work in Africa post-graduation.


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