Savanna Riley ’17

Dickinson has given me the freedom to create my own academic trajectory, inspired an internal sense of global and social responsibility, and has broadened my perception of education and we use it.

I never thought that I would end up at a college in a small town, thirty minutes for the capital of a state I had only driven through previously. It was a miserable winter day during my senior year, sitting in an information session with Greg Moyer ’06 pontificating about Benjamin Rush, our founder, when I realized I could see myself here the following fall.

And sure enough six months later, I found myself in the bookstore, decking out my family with red and mermaid-covered gear. It was official: I was a Dickinson student.

Over the past three years, I have been challenged, stimulated, questioned and continuously engaged in the life and culture of this campus. As a political science major, we are taught to study, analyze and query all sources of information. In my security studies classes, we tackle the most difficult global and national issues, knowing that the perfect answers may never come. As a Dickinson student, we learn to weave a web of interdisciplinary threads that come together to create a useful, multifaceted education that informs us beyond its textbook uses. During the fall of my sophomore year, I took Dealing with Data: Social Problems & Policy, African Government & Politics, Criminal Procedure and French 230 focusing on architecture, history and literature. Two of the courses were outside my areas of study, and yet, throughout the semester, those threads revealed themselves and all four courses connected. It was unplanned, a possibility I had not even considered, and it has been one of the best semesters of my academic career. It was my liberal arts moment. This is what Dickinson is about.

Outside of the classroom, I began as a writing tutor in the spring of my first year, I have held an internship at the Salvation Army Stuart House as a programs coordinator, using what I had learned in the social policy course, to help create a path for women and their children to beat the statistics to which they fall prey. Helping first-years transition to college as a first-year mentor provided an opportunity for me to mentor and learn from younger classes. Studying abroad in Bologna, Italy last fall was the experience of a lifetime and an incredible opportunity for growth and good food. I now understand why upperclassmen never stopped talking their abroad experiences when they returned. As this year’s Student Senate President, I am committed to acting as a conduit between students, faculty and the administration. Using everything that I have gathered throughout my college experience, I am ready for the last chapter of my life in Carlisle.

I am always eager to talk about my Dickinson students with prospective students and their families. Please contact me at