Claremont McKenna College’s welcoming atmosphere is what initially impressed Courtney Hooks ‘23.
“I didn’t know much about the culture of the school until I arrived for the first time to the Accepted Students day in April of 2019,” she said. “All of the current students were happy to meet me and went out of their way to answer my questions. It was then that I really saw myself attending CMC.”
She knew that the small class settings would help her thrive and that the liberal arts curriculum would be a good fit for her wide-ranging curiosity. “I had a large pool of academic interests,” she said.
The extent to which she would discover new passions at CMC, particularly in the area of Middle Eastern Studies, still surprises Hooks. She has taken classes on Islam, Middle Eastern Art and History, and Zionism.
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Activities: Office of Black Student Affairs mentorship program (mentor); Sunrise Movement at The Claremont Colleges
“My former high school self would be very shocked to find out that I have grown to love this topic of study,” she said, adding that her experience “reinforces the appeal of attending CMC.”
Hooks is a writing consultant with CMC’s Center for Writing and Public Discourse, holds an Appel fellowship, and participates in clubs and activities, which have helped her stretch herself in a similar way.
“The plethora of opportunities at CMC has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to get involved in activities both familiar and completely new,” she said. “I am also getting a great deal of leadership experience, much more than I would have gotten at a larger school.”
While Hooks’ interests are wide-ranging, her long-term aspirations have already taken a clear direction. She plans to attend graduate school and study biochemistry or materials science, maybe both. She would then like to pursue a career in sustainable chemistry with a focus on lessening the environmental burden created by the production industry.
“I want to work on reducing the amount of impact per mass unit of chemical waste used in reactions to make our everyday materials,” Hooks said.
– Christina Schweighofer