Meet the Majors

Charlotte Cox ’22

Government

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About Charlotte

Class of 2022

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Government

House: Northrop

Other clubs, sports, activities:
I’ve been part of my House Council since I was a sophomore, and I work as a peer advisor at the Lazarus Center and a tutor for the Spinelli Center!

What would you do with your major if you knew you could not fail?
This is probably the most cliché gov major thing I could possibly say, but I’d love to work on a successful presidential campaign for a candidate I was really passionate about, and then work in the White House.

Did you ever have trouble deciding on a major? What, ultimately, helped you decide?
I was pretty much a gov major from day one. I came in undecided and tried to keep an open mind about all the different possibilities, but I’ve always been interested in politics and public service, and I just naturally gravitated towards government. The first class I ever took at Smith was Elections in the Political Order with Professor Gold, and ever since then I just knew it was all I wanted to do.

What’s your all-time favorite Smith memory?
I love all the big Smith traditions, like Convocation and Mountain Day, but I also have a lot of special smaller memories that stick with me. During my sophomore year, my friends and I went out to MacLeish Field Station at night to stargaze and make s’mores. It was freezing cold, but we brought a lot of blankets and made a fire pit, and looking back I really value memories like that where I just got to spend time with the people I love here.

I learned so much about how to think about and structure political science research, and I don’t think I would have been able to write the senior thesis that I’m currently working on without that class.

What has been your favorite spot on campus to brainstorm great ideas?
My favorite spot on campus is definitely the Northrop dining hall. It’s not used as a working dining hall anymore, but my friends and I often eat dinner there together and it’s been my go-to study space for my entire time at Smith. The dining hall is the perfect mix of quiet, comfort and familiarity, and I’ll miss both the ridiculous dinner conversations and the camaraderie of late-night study sessions that have happened there.

What was the most challenging moment in your time at Smith?
I spent all of junior year off-campus, taking remote classes and living in an apartment with three of my closest Smith friends. I was really lucky to be able to have at least a small part of the Smith community with me, but being away from campus for part of sophomore year and all of junior year while doing everything online was really isolating and difficult.

What was your favorite class outside of your major?
I’ve taken a few ballet classes at Smith and have really loved them. I’m not a dance major, but I went to a performing arts middle and high school for dance and have been taking ballet classes since I was three, so it was really wonderful to be able to continue dancing at Smith, even though it was just for fun.

What has been your favorite course at Smith?
I don’t think I could pick an all-time favorite course, but one class that greatly contributed to my academic progression was Gov 291: Government Lab: Designing and Conducting Research with Dr. Newland. I took it over Zoom during J-term, which was the first time the course had ever been taught, and it was a completely different format than I’d ever experienced before. I learned so much about how to think about and structure political science research, and I don’t think I would have been able to write the senior thesis that I’m currently working on without that class.

We’ve all shown incredible resilience in the face of a lot of loss, and we’ve worked really hard to keep all our favorite Smith traditions alive for future classes.

Is there something about your house that makes it unique?
We have a house mascot named Denis—he is a CPR dummy who lives in our house living room. We dress him up for big events like Convocation and Winter Weekend, and it’s always fun to watch people notice him for the first time.

What do you want other Smithies to know about the class of 2022?
Because of the pandemic, I think each class has its own shared experiences that make them distinctive and unique. For us, we’re sort of a bridge between the way things used to be pre-COVID and the current moment. As a class, I think we’ve all shown incredible resilience in the face of a lot of loss, and we’ve worked really hard to keep all our favorite Smith traditions alive for future classes.

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