For the fourth time since its inception in 2015, the Alumni-in-Residence Program is in full swing once again and we recently spoke with alumna Anna Louise Campbell (YR40/2015, USA) about her life during and after Pearson College UWC and her experience as recent alumna-in-residence.
Pearson College UWC: Since you left Pearson in 2015, what have you been up to?
Anna Lou: Since I left Pearson, I have been studying at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. I majored in Culture and Politics and minored in Russian. While in school, I interned at the U.S. Senate and the Alliance to Save Energy, worked at Georgetown for the Learning Lab, and was a part of several clubs, including an international a Capella group, Green club, and Friday Foods, a homelessness outreach group. I have also been fortunate to travel a bit. I spent the summer after Pearson teaching English in Russia. During following summers, between working at a restaurant in Seattle, doing summer courses at the University of Washington, and fishing at my family’s cabin in interior Alaska, I worked on a farm in Finland for a bit, spent a month in Latvia, and traveled all around Europe with some of my closest Pearson friends. I spent my last semester of undergrad at Georgetown’s campus in Fiesole, Italy, and just graduated this past December.
Pearson: Tell us about your stay on campus.
Anna Lou: My decision to be an alumna-in-residence at the College happened almost in the spur of a moment and materialized very quickly. After graduating in January from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC., I applied to jobs, fellowships, and grad schools. I was in a state of limbo, waiting to hear back and was not certain what the future would bring. Then I remembered that Pearson had always had volunteers on campus when I was a student. I decided that, as long as I was waiting for the next phase of my life to begin, I may as well be productive. I immediately applied to the alumni-in-residence program at Pearson College UWC. A week later, I was on campus.
Since my arrival, I have helped to promote the One World 2019 show and to curate the One World Expo. I have also been supporting Julia Norman, Shefa Siegel and Benoît Charlebois with future educational programming initiatives. Lastly, I have been tutoring students, supporting them with their assignments and college or summer program applications, which was a particularly rewarding experience.
Coming back “home” has been lovely. I have been able to give back in a small way to the community that did so much to support me and helped me grow. After my graduation in 2015, I had come back briefly to see One World in 2016 but have not been back since then. Now that I have a bit of distance and some perspective, being back on campus has been a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect more on my student experience and the ways that it shaped me. I have been reminded of the values, passions and hopes that motivated me to study international affairs at Georgetown. Being surrounded by such dedicated and caring students, and by the beautiful Pearson campus and forest around it, my creative and hopeful side awakens again, a welcome feeling after spending so much time in Washington DC – a city that I love, but also one that can make people discouraged or jaded at times.
Pearson: How would you describe the Alumni-in-Residence Program?
Anna Lou: The program is an amazing opportunity to be part of the Pearson campus community after you have left the College. It is nice to see that Pearson College UWC continues after we leave: Students continue to complain about the International Baccalaureate (IB), FOAs, TOK (IB assignments), kitchen duty, and attendance at village meetings! They also continue to share amazing stories, create moving theater performances, open peoples’ minds at student-led discussions or Special Topic Days and brainstorm at any opportunity about the ways we can make the world a better place.
As an alumni-in-residence, it has been wonderful to see that my relationship with Pearson didn’t end when I graduated, and that I can continue to gain from and give back to the school that impacted my life so greatly. I think this is an incredible experience and would like to encourage and urge other alumni to participate in the Alumni-in-Residence Program.
Pearson: Where will your path take you from here?
Anna Lou: I found out last week that I was accepted into the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. I plan to study Environmental Policy and Management this coming fall. My next step following grad school is still unclear, but I know that I would like to help craft and implement environmental policy, both in the U.S. and at an international level, and work to address the social and political ramifications of climate change.
Pearson: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Anna Lou: My two years at Pearson were some of the most powerful years of my life in terms of the learning, feeling, and growing that I experienced. The friendships I formed, the roommates I got to know, the thrill of performing in One World, the calming runs in the forest, the CAS activities I took part in, and all of the special moments and conversations shared with fellow Pearsonites, have left an imprint that will stay with me my whole life.
While some things changed since my time at Pearson College, the spirit of the school is still the same. I have seen the ways that Pearson is reshaping and renewing itself in a quickly changing world, but the fundamental mission, values and essence, that I experienced while I was a student here, remain. I see the same inspiration and desire to change the world in the current student body, as much as I experienced among my co-years.
Pearson: Thank you Anna Lou for being part of the Alumni-in-Residence Program and bringing fresh “AIR” to the campus, our team and the student’s experience. We are grateful for your support and cherish your engagement and involvement with your College. All the very best for your future.
The Alumni-in-Residence Program encourages alumni to engage in life and learning on our experiential education campus and to enrich campus life for current students, faculty and staff. Alumni are invited to bring their expertise and passions and work collaboratively with the community to offer new activities or learning opportunities based on their work, world experience, or passions.