How does an American college student effectively diversify herself and prepare to enter a global society that is becoming more and more interconnected everyday? Kerry Campbell ('14), from Haymarket, Virginia, discovered she could be her best when she combined a passion for American history with an “appreciation for negotiation and conflict resolution and how these activities impact the global community on a daily basis,” she says.
Seeking to enrich her academics with a real-world application, Campbell, a political science and history double major, pursued activities where she could grow as a world citizen. She joined Model Arab League, a simulation of the League of Arab States similar to Model United Nations. With the help of her faculty mentor, Dr. Tina Kempin-Reuter, Associate Professor of Government, Campbell eventually applied and was accepted as a fellow of the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations, a nonprofit dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. She traveled with other fellows to Saudi Arabia, where the group met with prominent Saudi figures, and were immersed in Saudi culture and the relationship between the two nations.
When she returned to America, Campbell immediately began drawing similarities between the culture she had just experienced and the one she had known all along. “You think you understand movements, like the revolutionary one here, or our civil rights movement, or the feminist movement,” she says. “Then, to go somewhere abroad that’s socially different and see the same movements happening, it’s incredible.” Campbell’s experience overseas gave her a firsthand account of the Arab hospitality she had learned so much about in her classes at CNU. Her experience within another culture also reminded her of what she had back home, at CNU, and gave her new ways of connecting with CNU’s diverse student body.
Campbell’s involvement on campus wasn't limited to her interest in foreign policy. She excelled in the President’s Leadership Program, and was a member of the women’s lacrosse club. She also divided her time between the Arabic, German and History Clubs. Campbell was inducted into Alpha Chi, the national college honor society, and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, among others. “You can’t have the full college experience without getting involved. I love learning, and I love going to class, but you can learn just as much from your peers as you can from a textbook. It’s just a different type of education.”
Campbell chose CNU partially due to its proximity to the Historic Triangle, of Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and the Yorktown Battlefield, and for its small class sizes, which let her be more than a face in the crowd. “I figured there would be at least one or two professors with whom I would interact,” she says. “In reality, I built close relationships with professors in many departments.”
Campbell’s own relationship with her mentor, Dr. Kempin-Reuter, was extensive, both in the classroom and beyond. Campbell worked as an intern at CNU’s Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, helping to advance the Center’s mission to raise awareness of the horrors of genocide, human rights violations and conflict, and studying ways to overcomes these problems. “Her input has been essential and working with her has been a real pleasure,” Kempin-Reuter says. “Kerry is incredibly efficient and helpful, never afraid to take on another task. I really appreciated how she approached her work proactively and comprehensively. She is both a natural leader and a great team player – not something you see every day.”
Overall, Campbell stresses the importance of interdisciplinary learning, study abroad and hard work. “College is meant to train you to be a better citizen, both locally and globally,” she says. “CNU helped me get to where I am, but CNU is only half the equation,” she says, emphasizing the importance of her own commitment to her education, both at home and abroad.
She will begin attending the London School of Economics and Political Science this fall to pursue a master of science in the theory and history of international relations. – Laura Kate Genevish ‘16Share: