Then and Now: Members of Scripps’ Class of 2020 Reflect on Their Four Years at Scripps

This story is part of our “Celebrate the Class of 2020” series. Click here for more!

By Samantha Quach ’23

In 2016, we interviewed some of Scripps’ incoming Class of 2020 about their aspirations as they embarked on their Scripps journeys. Now, as these graduating seniors take their courageous next step in the midst of global uncertainty, they reflect on how they’ve grown and adapted since first arriving on campus.

Priya Canzius ’20

“Upon coming to Claremont, my goal was to not only be in the Scripps and 5C community, but to become an active and important part of it. Once, I was walking by Pitzer College and read this quote on a wall: ‘You are of this place; it is changing you.’ I knew that Scripps would change me, but I also hoped I would leave college empowered enough to change it—and the rest of the world—for the better! I’m now graduating as a thoroughly empowered woman, which is why I think it’s especially difficult for the Class of 2020 to be leaving campus early. As a community, we were not only changed by this place, like the Pitzer mural says, but this campus was and continues to be changed by all of us. That’s the best legacy any of us could leave, and I couldn’t be prouder of us or sadder to leave this place we call home.” – Priya Canzius ’20

Safa Arshadullah ’20

“When I first moved into Scripps, I was excited to push myself academically and to find an intellectually stimulating and warm community. I definitely found that. I majored in organizational studies and wrote my thesis on building nuanced, empathetic, and sustainable structures of diversity and equity in organizations. On campus, I worked as a resident advisor at Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) and at the Motley Coffeehouse. I made some of my best friends through those jobs, and I love that each experience strengthened my ties to Scripps and to the greater 5C community. I also had the opportunity to intern at a PR firm in Kuala Lumpur and an advertising agency in New York City, which shaped my career path in strategic communications and branding. I’ll miss sitting in Seal Court with a Matcha Cha Cha in hand, reading or chatting with friends, but I’m excited to return for the Commencement ceremony and celebrate with the people that made Scripps so special.”  – Safa Arshadullah ’20

Zoe Hollinger ’20 and Zoe Cardwell-Copenhefer ’20

“That first year, I was completely overwhelmed with the reality of starting a new life in a new place where I knew no one. I was so grateful to have my roommates, Annabel and Zoe (Cardwell-Copenhefer), to hang out with as we tested the waters of friendship with new people outside of our cozy dorm room. They were the best roommates anyone could have asked for! At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to study, but my primary goal was to find a major to be passionate about—and I was determined to study abroad in Italy. By the end my first year, I took a course in socio-cultural anthropology and realized that I wanted to keep learning more every day! And in the fall of my junior year, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, which helped me grow as an individual and as a student. What I’m most proud of, though, are the friendships I’ve built the last four years. The people at Scripps and in the broader Claremont community have brought me so much joy, taught me about the world, and shown me what true friendship is. Watching them explore their passions and excel in their fields has been incredible.” – Zoe Hollinger ’20

“Before I started classes, I had planned to study politics or international relations, but I took a sociology course during my first year and I was hooked! Completing an off-campus research project further solidified my interest in the field. I’ve also enjoyed serving as a sociology department liaison—it’s been a great way to meet faculty, and hosting department events was a fun way to meet students at the other colleges. The past two summers, internship grants from CP&R let me pursue internships in language education and international exchanges. These experiences inspired my next step: I’ll be spending the next year teaching English in Spain on a Fulbright grant! Zoe Hollinger (my first-year roommate) and I have remained good friends, and while we didn’t end up with nicknames to help people tell us apart, we’ve both been referred to as ‘Other Zoe’ a few times!” – Zoe Cardwell-Copenhefer ’20

NaNa Mathis ’20

“When I first moved in, I knew I wanted to meet new people and make everlasting friendships—and I have. I’ve made so many extraordinary friends these past four years, and I’m so grateful that I was able to find a community here. I have seen myself, along with Scripps, change in ways that have opened my eyes to the inequalities persistent in academia. It’s taken perseverance to graduate, and I’m proud of how I’ve overcome these challenges, but I want to remember the ways in which my privileges have contributed to my success. As a computer science major, my plan is to pursue a career in software engineering, and I hope to find a place that brings me more learning and friendships.” – NaNa Mathis ’20

Eliana Smithstein ’20

“Scripps was my dream school. One thing that most excited me about attending was being surrounded by strong women with a passion for learning, and Scripps did not disappoint. I have made lifelong friends here who share my love of learning and intellectually challenge me daily. Not everything was easy—with a difficult major (biophysics) and last-minute career change, I have struggled with staying mentally and physically healthy. I am eternally grateful for the professors who have worked tirelessly not only to accommodate me, but to recognize and celebrate the many strengths I do have. I’m also grateful for my experiences working at a startup veterinary company, volunteering at San Francisco Animal Care and Control, and working for the Girl Scouts organization. For me, Scripps was the perfect mix of a rigorous education and supportive, small liberal arts college. I have absolutely loved my time here, and I am excited to take everything I’ve learned into my career in STEM education.” – Eliana Smithstein ’20

Megan Lockhart ’20

“Moving from the East Coast to the West Coast my first year was hard, and my goal was to feel at home. Looking back, I’ve definitely made Scripps my home in some way. It hasn’t always been easy, but nothing that’s supposed to help you grow into the best version of yourself comes without difficulties. By duel-majoring in psychology and Africana studies, Scripps introduced me to amazing professors who saw my potential in both fields. I began to understand the value of my input and my ability to shape my community’s future, especially while I was serving as the student representative for Africana studies for the 2019–2020 school year. Scripps allowed me to see the importance of my voice in even the hardest of times and provided a space where I could reflect, learn, and grow. I plan to return to New York and find a position as a research assistant before attending graduate school to earn a PhD in clinical psychology.” – Megan Lockhart ’20

Mikayla Chang ’20

“As an incoming first-year student, I wanted to study neuroscience and dance, and I’ve done just that! Scripps allowed me to pursue my two passions and learn so much, thanks to my professors and peers. I also met some of the most amazing and intelligent people here and have made incredible friendships that I will cherish forever. During my time at Scripps, I was a sponsor with the Asian American Sponsor Program, studied abroad in Scotland, participated in several Scripps/Pomona dance concerts, and completed my senior thesis in neuroscience after doing summer research at Keck. I plan to pursue a career in either computational neuroscience research or in tech. Four years ago, I hoped Scripps would be my home away from home, and that definitely has come true!” ­– Mikayla Chang ’20