hannah bilton '22

Current Position: 
J.D. Candidate, Suffolk University Law School   
Current Location:
Boston, MA 
Biology, International Relations, Political Science 

Describe your HWS experience in 140 characters
I entered HWS unsure of who I was. I had such a specific path I thought I needed to follow but found out that no path is set. I am proud of who I am now and a lot of that is because of HWS.

What were some of the opportunities you took advantage of while at HWS on and off campus?
At HWS, I prided myself on community involvement on campus. I was an active member of Public Leadership Education Network and even spent a week in Washington, D.C. at a national PLEN seminar. I also worked a few jobs, this including being a Teaching Fellow, an O’Laughlin Ambassador and a student worker in athletics. The biggest opportunity I took at HWS would have to be joining a sport I had never even heard of. While my time on the Hobart and William Smith rowing teams was challenging to say the least, I grew the most from this experience and found not only a love for the sport but also an amazing group of men and woman who have been friends and mentors to me both at and after HWS.

Where did you find community at HWS?
At the Teaching Fellows for Chemistry. I will be the first to admit that despite all my efforts, I was not the best at Chemistry. I used to spend hours in Professor of Chemistry Walter Bowyer’s office trying to learn the material and then spend the night at the Teaching Fellows doing my homework. I made so many friends just sitting and sharing the struggle of Chemistry 110, 120 and even "Organic Chemistry." We became like a little family, and all would pitch in whatever knowledge we knew to help each other. The greatest thing about HWS as a whole is that the student body really bands together and everyone wants their classmates to succeed and this was truly exemplified in the Chemistry Department Teaching Fellows.

Was there a particular professor or other HWS mentor who was essential to your path?
Professor of International Relations Vikash Yadav and William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig were the most influential people during my time at HWS. Professor Yadav was my advisor for 2/3 of my majors and never once did he make me feel crazy for any of my ambitious goals or spontaneous decisions. I first met him from taking his introductory International Relations class, which Dean Kaenzig recommended, and he saw so much potential in me. He was the sole reason I chose both my Political Science and International Relations majors. When I was going abroad, he supported me and helped mold my major around that choice, he was my biggest cheerleader when I decided to pursue the triple major. He was an amazing person to learn from and work with as both a student and Writing Colleague. As for Dean Kaenzig, there are no words for how much she helped me thrive at HWS.  From even before day one, Dean Kaenzig was in my corner, pushing me out of my comfort zone and when needed, letting me freak out in her office and then fixing all of my problems within 10 minutes. Dean Kaenzig made my HWS experience what it was and was a huge influence on my growth at the Colleges.

How did HWS prepare you for your current role and/or your future?
HWS helped develop all of the skills that I needed to enter law school. Being a two-season athlete, working multiple jobs and having three majors, I had to be organized, learn time management as well as when to say both “yes” and “no.” While I knew law school would be challenging, I knew I was up to the challenge because of my experiences at HWS. Moreover, HWS helped connect me with people in the area, whether it be mentors or friends, solidifying the community we build on campus and extending it across the U.S., HWS follows you after graduation and you are never truly alone.