Alumni Stories

Rachel Hanson (C’09)

Armed with a double major in history and political science, a yen for travel fueled by two Principia abroads, and the experience of interviewing sources and writing substantive papers for her classes, Rachel Hanson has packed in some amazing experiences into the four short years since her graduation.

After a brief volunteer stint in Ecuador in 2010, she embarked on a three-month internship at the Christian Science Committee on Publication’s Federal Office in Washington, DC. This turned into a ten-month project, including liaising and communicating with individuals on Capitol Hill. Then it was back to Ecuador to teach English to advanced level students at a highly selective technical college in the capital, Quito.

Rachel credits her progress and job successes to her time at Principia, particularly to the “command of English writing and speaking that the rigorous curricula in the Principia Political Science and History Departments” helped her develop.

“The writing demands at Prin are usually much greater than at other colleges,” Rachel continues. “It was normal [for me] to write 20- to 30-page papers . . . while many of my colleagues wrote only a few 15-page papers during their entire time in college!” For her history capstone, Rachel wrote a 55-page paper on how the differing geography of Java and Sumatra affected the conversion to Islam on these two Indonesian islands.

“When I compare notes with graduates of other universities, I know there was nothing inferior about my Principia education,” concludes Rachel, who also served on the board of her dorm. “I believe that Principia provides an environment where each student may explore substantive ideas, cultivating personal maturity more than at other colleges.”


I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I have loved the high level of engagement and dialogue within my classes and the close interaction with professors.