Drew Scammell '18

Current Position:
Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships Assistant, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Current Location:
Washington, D.C.
Physics, Mathematics, and Dance

When I first stepped onto campus as a student, I didn’t have the most exciting of plans. I primarily wanted to stick to the status quo, sidelining myself. As we all know, though, maintaining a muted, unnoticed and unengaged undergraduate experience at HWS is near impossible.

Throughout my first semester, I quickly caught sight of the bountiful opportunities that were available and the encouragement for us all to take advantage of them. My first-year adviser, and later physics adviser, Professor Donald Spector, pushed me to achieve as much as possible. As I started to feel more comfortable stepping away from the sideline, I told him I wanted to get involved in the dance scene—first by joining Koshare Dance Collective, later by auditioning for the Faculty Dance Concert, and, eventually, declaring as a dance major; simultaneously, I told him I also wanted to dig deeper into the physics and mathematics programs—all of which he greatly supported.  Fortunately, there was never a moment Professsor Spector or any of my academic advisers discouraged me from pursuing something. Even if it was unorthodox, I was never told not to try.

I currently work in the Office of Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). My team and I strive to support AAAS’ mission of advancing science to benefit society through developmental and philanthropic efforts at the individual, corporate and foundational levels. Although the work I do through my position does not feel like a clear extension from my undergraduate studies, I am invigorated by my role and I utilize the knowledge I acquired at HWS every day. I’m able to learn about fundraising and philanthropy while providing a different, yet equally advantageous, perspective to the field.

Truthfully, what drew me to this work was my desire to gather a myriad of experiences along with my indecisiveness—a blessing in disguise this time around. I am immensely grateful for my time at HWS. I believe I left similarly to how I entered: unsure of what I wanted to pursue. I constructed this idea that a clear, singular trajectory had to be established by the time I walked across the stage, shook the president’s hand and grabbed my diploma. I wasn’t ready for that. Ultimately, I want to develop multifaceted viewpoints before committing to one area of expertise in order to make a fruitful contribution.

In the long run, I am certain I want to return to academia. It is still unclear to me how that reentrance will be shaped, but with every new experience that may seem unconnected, that desired impact gains more clarity. In reflection, I will forever associate my time at HWS with building constructive experiences out of unexpectedly cohesive pieces: a background and base from which I may achieve my goals and aspirations.