By Paulina Diaz
Some students graduate early, others double major. Senior Isabel Harris from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has done both.
After taking many AP classes in high school, Harris was able to skip her entire first year of college and attend Simpson University in Fall 2018. Three years later, she will be graduating in Spring 2021 as a political science and cross-cultural major.
“I chose Simpson because I wanted to go to a smaller Christian college on the west coast! I also got offered pretty significant academic scholarships and so it became a pretty clear choice!” she said via email.
Harris has received a number of academic awards during her years at Simpson. According to the Simpson University Merit Page, Harris received the 2019-2020 Rotary Honor to Youth Award. The award is given to a traditional undergraduate student of any year who has made the highest contribution to service and their community during the student's tenure at the university thus far.
Harris is currently planning on attending law school in the fall to study international law. She has already been offered admission at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Fall 2021. Even though she says there is a lot that she would love to do, her dream job is to become an international diplomat working to bring development and justice systems to underdeveloped areas around the world.
Her passion for politics has caught the interest of news outlets such as KRCR News, an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Redding and also serving Chico. In October of 2020, the news channel published a story featuring Harris’ participation in the U.S. 2020 presidential election.
There are a lot of people who have inspired Harris to pursue a career in both political science and cross-cultural studies. Some of the most inspirational people in her life have been her professors at Simpson University. Professors like Dr. Bailey, Dr. Slane, and Dr. McCabe (all of whom are no longer at Simpson) have played a very influential role in Harris’ development as a student.
“I have been so shaped and formed by their lives and the work they have done. They were all very influential in my development as an individual and my career goals,” she said via email.
Harris has become an inspiration to those around her. According to Admissions Counselor Sarah Bartow, Harris is very confident in her skills. “I love that she does not come off as cocky, she is very mature and confident,” Bartow said. “She encourages me to think creatively and critically.”
As a part of the ASBSU (Associated Student Body of Simpson University), Harris represents Commuter Relations. She is also a leader in the outdoor adventure club, and a student counselor assistant in the admissions team. She loves the outdoors, and really values getting outside and going on trips whenever she can. She enjoys rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, and many other outdoor activities.
Harris’ friends say that they admire her ambition. Junior Kailey Donovan, who also works for the admissions team and is part of the ASBSU, says that Harris inspires her to pursue her identity in Christ with courage and passion. Donovan has been friends with Harris for more than three years. They frequently go on hikes and backpacking trips.
“Since Isabel is my closest friend, I really enjoy making memories and the joy these trips bring. We are able to adventure and truly embrace the outdoors!” Donovan said via text message.
Harris says she hopes to be a good role model for high school seniors who aspire to go to college. “I think everyone is in a different place in high school, and it is a daunting season to move on to college,” she said via email.
“I would say to seniors there are two main pieces of advice I would offer. The first is to decide what is most important to you and be intentional to cultivate that in your life. Be it becoming better at your sport, learning a lot in your major, or forming really good friendships, nothing is gained in passivity. Be intentional. The second I would say is do not put so much pressure on yourself to have your life figured out, or even yourself figured out. Enjoy each season without feeling pressure to have the next one figured out.”
Even though Harris has already been accepted into her dream school, Pepperdine University, she says she is still impatiently waiting for admission decisions from University of Oregon and Lewis & Clark College.