Name: Aubrey Anthony

Hometown: East St. Louis, Illinois

Major/Year: Junior, double-majoring in anthropology and biology

What CofC organizations you have been involved with?

CofC awards or honors:

  • College of Charleston President’s List for Academic Excellence
  • Received Rugby Club’s “Rookie of the Year” honor

Why did you choose the College of Charleston? This is always a fun question to answer, since my response is so unorthodox. I like to say that I actually didn’t choose CofC, but rather that CofC chose me. Moving to the Charleston area from the Midwest, I wasn’t exactly fond of the idea of staying local for college. I had a long list of colleges all over the country that I wanted to go to, but slowly each one was crossed off the list for one reason or another. I ended up at the College, planning to only stay a single semester and then transfer, but determined to make the most of it. I joined the rugby team and immediately felt at home, like I had found my family here on campus. As the semester progressed and I met more and more amazing people, I felt I’d found a home I couldn’t leave.

What drew you to study anthropology and biology? I honestly kind of stumbled into both of my majors and my minor. I came into college as a marine biology major with my reasoning being something along the lines of, “since I love the ocean and marine wildlife, I should major in marine biology.” After about two semesters, I realized that I was really passionate about wildlife conservation as a whole, not just marine conservation. So, I changed my B.S. in marine biology to a B.A. in biology and added an ENSS (environmental and sustainability studies) minor to my course load. Around the same time I had just signed up to take Anthropology 101 at the suggestion of Professor Hector Quirko from the anthropology department. I completely fell in love with anthropology during that course. I really enjoy learning about various cultures and studying what makes us all human, even though we’re all so different. I’ve also come to realize the importance of cultural awareness and understanding in the fields of conservation and sustainable development alike as the world globalizes and progresses.

What’s your favorite location on campus and why? I always have a hard time deciding on just one place on campus that I’d call my “favorite.” If I had to choose one place, I’d probably say the porches at the end of Cougar Mall where the sidewalk either takes you left, to the School of the Arts; straight, into the back of Randolph Hall; or right, toward the clock by the Sottile House. It’s an unsuspectingly peaceful area to study, as well as a great place to see friends as they’re on their way to class.

What’s the most surprising thing about your CofC experience so far? I actually have a wild story from my freshman year that I still can’t believe happened to me! My roommate from freshman year was in a band with his high school best friends, and they all happened to live on the same floor in Berry Residence Hall that year. About two months into the semester, one of my roommate’s friends runs up to me in the hall and asks if I knew the band Milky Chance and if I wanted to play basketball against them the next morning. I thought he was just pranking me, so I said, “Sure, why not?” Fast forward one biology exam and a couple text messages, and I was playing basketball with one of my favorite bands in TD Arena! Not only that, but we got VIP tickets to their sold-out show at the Music Farm that night – and signed posters!

What is your favorite place to eat near campus? Queen Street Grocery! Without a shadow of a doubt, Queen Street is the funkiest, quirkiest and most amazing place to get a bomb sandwich on the peninsula at a really great price. There are a ton of great options – not just sandwiches – and local goods for sale as well. It’s roughly four blocks from campus, not exactly super close, but it’s definitely worth the walk.

What’s the best class you’ve ever taken? I’ve had a ton of amazing classes, however one class I’ll always remember as one of the best is the FYE Abroad course I took the second semester of my freshman year. It was a one-credit course which met on Monday evenings to discuss sustainable, cutting-edge food production and science. What made this course so interesting was the “abroad” component, which was a weeklong trip to Peru, where I got to live on a coffee farm as well as explore the city of Lima. The memories I made there are still some of my favorites memories, and the overall experience continues to influence the person I am today.

What are your hobbies? A strong passion of mine is photography, so one of my favorite hobbies is going on photo-walks around Charleston. I’m also an avid hiker and nature enthusiast and I spend plenty of time hiking local and not-so-local trails. My favorite place to hike is Congaree National Park, which is only an hour and a half drive from Charleston. I tend to spend the rest of my free time either playing or listening to jazz – or thrifting!

What do you consider your biggest achievement as a member of the CofC community? One thing I am proud of is the two years I’ve served as an orientation intern working with new students. Both summers I spent working with incoming freshmen are two periods of time that I’ll always remember, simply because of how much fun it was. It was so fun to get to know so many people and help them step into this new experience and out of their comfort zone. Admittedly, there were some tough days, but overall I’d like to think I helped some of the students I worked with start what will be an outstanding college experience. Even now, it’s rewarding to see my students from this past summer seizing the opportunities in front of them despite the challenges this year has thrown at us.

What’s something your CofC classmates would be surprised to know about you? I think many of my classmates would be surprised to learn that I help my grandfather run his horse farm in Summerville, South Carolina. When I first moved to South Carolina, he asked me and my brother to help him make his dream of having a horse farm come true, and ever since I’ve been helping him construct stalls and fences and take care of the horses.

How are you preparing for life after you graduate from CofC? This summer I’m joining a research project as a part of the REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program at Fort Johnson, which will give me the opportunity to work in a lab as well as network with other scientists who may be looking for graduate students to join their projects. A recent step I’ve taken is writing down principles that are important to me, and compiling clear goals and ambitions for myself. I’m currently considering opportunities such as the Fulbright, Princeton in Asia and Princeton in Africa fellowships, as well as attaining a master’s degree overseas.

What advice do you have for incoming students? Be patient with yourself! College is a lot, in many ways, regardless of who you are and what experiences you’re bringing with you. Remember that you’re here to learn, but that not all learning happens in the classroom. The unofficial motto of the College is “Know Thyself,” and it’s really important that you take that seriously. As you learn about your specific academic interests, take the time to learn from the people all around you – students and faculty alike. It also helps to keep in mind that there isn’t a set definition of success, and there isn’t a set way to attain it. You won’t always know the answer to every question, nor will your path look like everyone else’s. Just make sure you’re doing what you want to be doing and you’ll get to where you’re going.