Below are first person stories of life after HWS from recent graduates. Check back each Friday for a new profile.

Shanelle France '11

Shanelle France '11

Major: Africana Studies
Current Position: Education Peace Corps Volunteer
Current Village: Ha Sekake, Lesotho
Age: 23

Khotso (peace) from Lesotho. Much to my disbelief, I graduated from William Smith almost two years ago in May 2011! It seems as if I were just walking from Odell's to Merritt Hall for those 7 a.m. education seminars, yet here I am two years post-graduation and I know without a doubt that Hobart and William Smith equipped me for a bright and fulfilling future-to live a life of consequence.

Before starting my transformative journey at HWS I thought that I wanted to pursue a major in Francophone studies and I knew for sure that the education program was ideal for accomplishing my teacher certification. Little did I know that my direction would take a life-altering shift within the first few moments I stepped into my first-year seminar. I was enrolled in "Mirrored Histories," which compared and contrasted apartheid in South Africa and slavery in America. Scholar-in-Residence Thelma Pinto has forever touched my life and I owe much of where I am today to her encouragement and support. I gave up French studies and majored in Africana studies, lived, studied and volunteered in Cape Town my junior year and am currently living in Lesotho as an education Peace Corps volunteer.

Everything I did while at HWS (Africana studies, education program, studying abroad, off and on-campus involvement) came together beautifully and prepared me to live, learn, give and grow here in Lesotho, South Africa. The process of getting here was long, tedious and at times frustrating, but well worth the hassle. The lessons and perspectives I have gained while living in a completely unfamiliar place is something I would never trade. The education I received, experiences I gained and relationships I built throughout my four years at HWS were the perfect stepping stones to enable me to pursue my dreams!

Now that I am nearing the end of my 27 months of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer, the question of "what next" is ever present in my mind. I intend to soak up and make the most of my last seven months and then start applying to graduate schools to pursue a master of arts in teaching. Once I return to America I will have certain benefits from universities because of my Peace Corps Service, which is a huge blessing. It's incredible how life works and a miracle to see all the pieces fit together; HWS is certainly an integral part of my life puzzle.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.