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Student Spotlight: Camryn Snell

Posted by: andrewst | March 26, 2020 | No Comment |

For 2018 Moore scholarship recipient Camryn Snell, the College of Charleston’s political science department is a home away from home. Camryn knew she wanted to be a political science major before she even enrolled at the College, but her decision was solidified when she attended the majors and minors fair. There she met former department chair Dr. Gibbs Knotts, whose excitement about the program inspired her to officially declare her major. Dr. Knotts is just one of the many faculty members who have motivated Camryn to succeed; she credits former visiting professor Shyam Sriram with helping her to find her true passion–immigration and refugee policy. In Professor Sriram’s World Politics class, she found it refreshing to look at politics outside of America, and subsequently took two more classes with him the following semester (International Relations in Immigration & Religion and Politics) to gain an even better global perspective. Camryn also lists Professors Hinton, Amira, McGinnis, and Ragusa as influential in her undergraduate career. “I can go to graduate school and feel completely prepared”, she says, “thanks to what they’ve taught me and how supported I’ve felt.”
Camryn couldn’t say enough about how influential the political science department has been during her time at CofC. During high school she never felt very supported by her teachers, but that all changed the moment she began taking political science courses. Every professor she’s had here, she asserts, has been “unbelievably passionate about their students.”
Camryn credits her professors with teaching her more than just how to pass a class – through her coursework, she feels she’s become a well-rounded and open-minded student, a team player, and an informed global citizen. The political science curriculum, she says, has also taught her how to be adaptable – “Math always stays the same, but political science is always changing. Sometimes we’ve had to change our entire syllabus to cover a new world event!”
Last year, Camryn had the opportunity to meet the Moore family, who funds her scholarship and felt right at home with them. “You would have thought that I was a part of their family at the reception.” Camryn stressed that the Moore scholarship has been invaluable for her education. Not having to choose between studying for her classes or trying to make ends meet has allowed her to save up for an internship experience in Washington, D.C. this summer. The Moore Scholarship is given to a rising sophomore who demonstrates the potential to promote understanding among diverse groups of people and to improve the state of South Carolina. It is named after former professor William V. Moore. The political science department hosts an annual conference named after Professor Moore, which allows students to present their own research on a variety of topics.
Looking forward, Camryn plans to continue her work on immigration and refugee policy. Her goal is to work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help improve global policies, which haven’t been updated since the 1951 Refugee Convention. She believes these changes are essential, because “old rules can’t apply to a new environment.”
When asked if she feels her undergraduate experience has prepared her for the future, Camryn replied, “How could I not be prepared?!” Her advice to underclassmen is to engage and find opportunities that fit their interests. But, she does caution against creating too much of a workload, suggesting that students apply only for the experiences that truly match their interests and goals.
Camryn encourages underclassmen to explore while they have the time. Her advice: “Go to the majors and minors fairs, go to every opportunity, get to know what you like because there’s going to be a lot of people who try to put you in a box. Don’t pursue a career yet, start slowly and pursue what makes you happy and what you’re passionate about!” She says even general education requirements can help students find their true passion. Further advice would include networking (especially with professors) and making sure to stay engaged both in and out of class. She believes there is so much to gain from taking an active approach to your own learning, which includes “going to office hours, participating in class and taking advantage of experiential learning opportunities as often as possible.”

under: Scholarships and Awards
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