My name is Adrianna Shoemaker, and I am a senior at the University of South Carolina pursuing double majors in sociology and philosophy with a minor in African studies. When I decided to attend the University of South Carolina during the spring of 2013, many of my close friends and family members expressed concern with my decision to attend college in the conservative south. As an outspoken, Jewish, female, many were worried that I would not fit in. Despite their reservations, I packed my bags and moved to the bible belt, and I could not have made a better choice.
USC has provided me limitless opportunities and challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone. In four short years, I participated in and then coordinated a mentorship program at Hand Middle School through the Capstone Scholars program. I spent a semester in Cape Town, South Africa studying race and gender inequality both inside and outside of the classroom and blogging for the USC Study Abroad office about my experiences. I have been a dedicated member of the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team, where I currently serve as the president and captain. I am employed in various capacities with CarolinaLIFE, an inclusive, residential college program for young adults with diverse learning needs. I have also been honored to participate in three different undergraduate research projects, funded through the Magellan Apprentice, the George Croft Williams Sociology Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and the Magellan Scholar. This research ranged from studying prison and incarceration trends around the world to studying the effectiveness of video-based preference assessments for children with autism.
My experiences at USC have been diverse, but they have shared a common theme; they all support my passion to learn about and advocate for vulnerable populations in order to contribute to a more equitable society. This is what led me to pursue Graduation with Leadership Distinction in Diversity and Social Advocacy. I hope that my Key Insights will eloquently address some of the most prominent discoveries I have made through my varied experiences. The project proposed in the Leadership Portion uses my current experience as a personal development coach for CarolinaLIFE as well as the knowledge I have learned over the past four years to propose a plan to help CarolinaLIFE students become involved in some of the 400 clubs and organizations on USC’s campus starting during the fall of their freshman year. This plan aligns with my intention to pursue graduate studies in special education, with the intention of pursuing a career in rehabilitation and transition programs for individuals with developmental disabilities.
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