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Student Spotlight: Talley Snow

Year: Second year
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I was very lucky to attend private school my entire life, eventually going to an all-girls private school from sixth grade on. At my all-girls school, I was able to learn in an environment where I was surrounded by only girls and was encouraged to speak up. While in high school we had some co-ed classes, I think that an all-girls school really made a difference during my middle school development, because that was the time in my life when I think that I was the most vulnerable to peer pressure and most self-conscious of being smart stating my opinion. I volunteer with the Young Women Leaders Program through the Women’s Center, and I love it because I love to see middle school girls grow into confident and capable young women. Empowering young girls to pursue their education through the university level and knowing that they are going to be successful and make a difference in their future communities is one of the most rewarding things for me.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I actually almost didn’t choose UVA, because it was by far the largest school I applied to and the school closest to my home. In the end, I decided on UVA because I realized that it was the most different from my high school, and I was excited to break out of the small, all-similar-students setting that I was used to. I also really wanted to study in the Batten school, and UVA was the only school I applied to that would let me pursue a public policy-specific school without having applied to it when I originally applied to the school. I also toured UVA in a torrential downpour, and it was still a beautiful campus.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
Because I was so concerned about the size of the school, I am still amazed that I can rarely walk around grounds without seeing multiple people that I know. The student involvement also never ceases to surprise me: it seems like a majority of the people I know are involved in multiple different meaningful activities, which is even more impressive considering the rigor of the work here.

4. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
In order to get out of bed in the morning, I have to set an alarm every three minutes for a span of thirty minutes or else I’ll just keep pressing snooze and not waking up. My roommates love it.

5. If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
If I could have coffee with anyone from history, I would choose to go to Grit with William Faulkner. Not only is he my favorite author and was once a writer-in-residence at UVA, his work holds a lot of significance, especially (and oddly enough) today. Faulkner was a strong proponent of putting history in context, which I think is interesting today as we face the reality of schools, statues, roads, and other things dedicated to confederate generals. Many of Faulkner’s novels take place around the time of the Civil War, and many of the families in his stories are wealthy Southern families. Keeping in mind the culture that he grew up in and what he wrote about, I would love to hear how Faulkner understands today’s issues regarding the US history of racism and bigotry, and how he would make sense of the social issues that face us in 2016.

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