That Girl: Ali Snell
October 6, 2009
__A fresh-faced and smiling Ali Snell seems soft-spoken at first, but she lights up when you get her talking about her geology thesis and life here at the College of William and Mary. You may be familiar with Ali from around campus: She was an Orientation Aide, served as class president for her first three years, is a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta, and is a geology Teaching Assistant. In reality, this girl transcends stereotypes. Ali floats above the politicking that plagues the leadership positions she’s held, talks candidly about the pressure to be super involved at the College and opens up about her quirky love of “Star Trek.”__
*You’re a West Coast girl. What has it been like, transplanted to the other side of the coutnry?*
One thing I noticed is the amount of makeup people wear. People wear way more makeup on the west coast. Although there’s also the California hippie thing; I’ve been called “crunchy granola” on campus before — by William and Mary standards maybe I’m a hippie? I try to recycle, and I have my own reusable water bottle? I like the outdoors, but I like to bathe regularly.
*As a very involved member of the College community, what do you think of the culture of extreme involvement on campus?*
I mean, it’s huge here. It’s a huge thing about how many things people can add to their activities on Facebook to seem important. I mean, I hope that people Facebook to seem important. I mean, I hope that people really enjoy everything that they’re making themselves do, but I think people just need to be critical. I mean, every year going to the activities fair I sign up for hundreds of things, but that doesn’t mean I end up going. It’s still fun to be involved and go support other groups you’re not a part of.
*What’s been your trajectory and attitude about leadership and involvement at the College?*
I threw myself in freshman year; I’m glad I got myself involved in different things. I’m really glad I did, because my freshman year was so much fun. I joined the rugby team, which I miss, but stopped out of self-preservation: I’ve dislocated a hip and my shoulders like three times. With geology you need be able to hike and be active for mapping and stuff, and it’s really important because we don’t have lot of good field geologists.
*What word or phrase is overused at the College?*
I mean, we use “community” a lot, but I like how we use it. I think the words that students have been making up, like “DFMO,” dance floor make-out, and TWAMP, typical William and Mary student, are really funny.
*How do you feel about the term and usage of TWAMP?*
I think if you use it in a fun way, in taking pride in the unique type of student that comes here it’s great, but I think some people use it in a negative context and are like, “Oh TWAMP, that person is really nerdy.” Everyone here has more than the book nerd to them; they have the just-really-excited-about-things nerdy.
If you had to choose a character or celebrity to portray you in a movie, who would you pick?
I think I’d have Chris Pine from Star Trek portray me in a movie. I just love “Star Trek” and Chris Pine.
*You watch a lot of “Star Trek?”*
Yes, but there’s also a group on campus called the Beer Trek Society, so I’m an avid fan of it. I don’t get to go as much as I’d like because I always have work, but it’s not weird Trek-y obsessed, it’s just having fun and bro-ing out. It’s just like, “drink when you see an unnecessary alien,” or when they go on Red Alert or they say one of their catch phrases.
*Do you have a motto?*
It’s “The people that care don’t matter and the people that matter don’t care.” It’s really like don’t let yourself get caught up in what other people think if they aren’t the right people for you, because everyone’s going to have someone judge them.
__Ali will be heading to the mountains of Virginia later this afternoon to attend the Virginia Geology Field Conference, so we part ways to give her time to pack her bag. Next year she will be off to study either planetary or structural geology in graduate school, hoping to settle back on her native West Coast in the future. She will leave behind a wake of friends and memories at the College, potentially making return trips to visit her sister, a prospective member of the class of 2014.__