Senior Scholar Profile: Victoria Allen
Victoria Allen, a senior McConnell Scholar, recently sat down with the Center to discuss her experience at UofL, her time as a Scholar and her future aspirations. Allen is a political science and history double major with a minor in women and gender studies. She is the 2015-16 University of Louisville Student Body President, the Vice President of the Harlan Scholars Program, and a John Lewis Fellow for the National Center for Civic and Human Rights.
1. How do you feel about senior year at UofL?
Really excited. I feel like it's coming in like a freight train, but I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be very exciting, hectic, and a year full of surprises because it will be a time in which all of us, including myself, figure out where we're going in the next stage in our life, which is every bit as intriguing as it is daunting.
2. What are some of your proudest accomplishments as a UofL student?
My biggest is that I just accepted the John Lewis Fellowship through the National Center for Civic and Human Rights. As far as what I hope to do with my professional and personal lives, it is the start of all of it. It's focused on contemporary racial relations in the United States as well as other diverse and marginalized groups. I spent a lot of undergrad honing in on these topics, and now I'm seeing my hard work come to fruition. I'm going to get the opportunity to meet academics, journalists and politicians and to see exactly how they're making the impacts that they want to see. This will be the most important opportunity I think I've taken as an undergraduate student.
I'm also honored to be the student body president at UofL. It's a great opportunity to grow as a person and is a wonderful exercise in patience and the expansion of my leadership capabilities. It's a way to feel like you're not just living the student experience but directly impacting it. I hope that the things I'm seeing now will benefit the incoming classes. I want to help set the amazing experience for them in any way that I can.
3. What are your current plans after graduation?
Right after graduation, I'm hoping to go to law school and pursue a joint master's degree in American History or Constitutional History – I haven't decided yet. I'm really interested in practicing law but also with the joint interest of legal education. I'm going into the law with a more academic mindset, where I'll still be practicing but also getting an additional education in my field of interest. I'd like to be able to contribute to both the field of American history and also the legal world.
4. What word would you use to describe your time at UofL and why?
Evolutionary. When I came to UofL, I had a set idea of what I wanted to do, as far as what I wanted to take away from my undergraduate education, but in so many ways, it evolved into something I never could have imagined. It evolved even outside of the goals I had set for myself. It was a push; my entire time at UofL has been one large exercise in expansion… me as a student, as a person and as a leader. It has been a very significant expansion, for which I am very grateful.
5.What advice would you give to new McConnell Scholars?
Be open to doing things that are uncomfortable. The most successes and the biggest joys I've had in college have come from things I wasn't initially comfortable with or I didn't foresee myself doing.
6. What is your favorite memory as a Scholar and why?
I absolutely loved going to Mecosta, Mich., as a Scholar. It was definitely the happiest memory I've had here. All of my best friends were there, and we got to sit down and learn and take a lot from it. We got to meet Mrs. Kirk, who is a tremendous woman, and it taught me the importance of scholar camaraderie. It is the best example of what this program is about; even people with different political ideas can come together over a very political text and all take something from it.
By Chloe Zoeller, a 2016 McConnell Scholar