What’s your story?: Annie Schneider ’11October 23, 2009
Colorado Springs native Annie Schneider is fond of saying that she’s the rebel of her family. Only this rebel has a cause.
Growing up as the oldest of seven children in a family that homeschooled until she reached high school, Schneider was raised by her father to “question everything.” The result is a keen interest in social justice and a decidedly eclectic extracurricular list.
“Even when I was little I was always interested in justice and questioning why things are the way they are,” said Schneider.
That interest developed fully when a summer studying in England opened her eyes to the differences that can exist between the haves and the have-nots even in a fully industrialized society. Having lived in Colorado Springs her whole life, Schneider was suddenly confronted with people from all over the world who had also come to England to study. “I had never met people so different,” she said.
When she returned to the states, Schneider began to take her father’s advice to heart and questioned anything and everything around her, even her teachers. Which, she said, she was sure “annoyed everyone around me.”
But, she added, “I wanted to know on my own.”
That desire to know led her to enroll at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, a school that, like Colorado College, runs on the One Course At A Time course schedule. It was there that she found her calling in women’s studies and began to probe deeper into questions of injustice, especially focusing on South Africa.
“When I came to campus, people started talking, people argued and shared ideas,” she said. “That’s why I love Cornell. I’m not the only person saying ‘why?’.”
To that end she began to intern at institutions concerned with social justice in and around Colorado Springs, including service-oriented Northern Churches Care – which she called “pretty formative” – and the Boulder County AIDS Project in order to prepare for a possible semester in South Africa in 2010.
Along the way she’s become active in a number of social justice-centered groups, including attending the White Privilege Conference (an anti-racism conference), the Interfaith Spirituality Group, the Multicultural Counsel, and the Third Wave Resource Group (a feminist collective). Two years ago she also participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to New York City where she spent her week off volunteering at homeless shelters.
Though much is banking on her semester studying in South Africa, Schneider says her post-graduate plans involve “some combination” of the Peace Corps and graduate school, likely overseas. But mostly, she just wants to do one thing when all is said and done.
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