On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Danielle Indovino was starting her senior year at Smithtown High School in Long Island, N.Y. College applications were coming due, and she had an interview that night in New York City.
“The invitation had come for an open interview night with Oberlin College,” remembered Indovino, a freelancer for Roseville Patch in the Twin Cities. “It was located at 7 World Trade Center, and I was excited since Oberlin seemed like a really great fit for me.”
By 10 a.m. that day, it became clear that Indovino would not be attending her interview. Her school was on lockdown and teachers kept students in their classrooms and limited access to TV and radios. Since so many students had parents and relatives that worked in New York City, the administration feared they would panic, Indovino recalled.
“I remember so many parents came to pick up their children, that the entire four minute time between periods was filled with announcements for students to report to the office. It felt like the world was ending,” said Indovino. “My dad usually worked in New York City on Tuesdays, so I was trying to call home, but all the cell phone lines were completely jammed.”
The most harrowing part for Indovino was that she would have been in the collapsed 7 World Trade Center just hours after the attack.
“I ended up keeping that invitation all the way through college,” she said. “Though I never interviewed, I did go to Oberlin in the end, and I hung the invite in my dorm room as a reminder.”
9/11 changed Indovino’s life, prompting her to focus on social service and politics rather than music and art.
“The biggest impact on my life is that I had planned on attending the Conservatory at Oberlin for flute,” she said. “But after this, I really just wanted to help people and make a difference.”
Indovino went on to attend the Masters of Public Policy program at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs (University of Minnesota). She now works for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Patch.