Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Campus Celeb: Steph Purnell

The Basics

Name: Steph Purnell

Hometown: Purcellville, VA

Class Year: 2017



Class at Bucknell: Irish Literature with Rickard

Spot on campus: Golf course ~after hours~

Bucknell memory: Late night walks and heart-to-hearts with some wonderful individuals that I couldn’t be more thankful to have in my life

Place you’ve been: Zermatt, Switzerland. The Matterhorn is just as beautiful even when blurred through happy tears

Book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Movie: Singin’ in the Rain

Song: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by Ella Fitzgerald and Embrace by Armin Van Buuren


We are dying to hear about your longboard. When did you learn how to ride it?

I started out vert skateboarding (ramps and half pipes and such) in Florida when I was about 10. When we moved back to my hometown in Virginia, I learned very quickly that hills do not mix well with a traditional skateboard, so I decided to switch to a longboard.  Bucknell has nice some nice hills and well paved roads, but I was nervous to skate in public because there were very few people, let alone women, who skated around campus.  I eventually got over that fear and decided to make my own skateboard small enough to bring to class.  I took a plank of walnut and after a few passes through a planer, band saw, and belt sander, I had my own one-of-a-kind board featuring the only doodle I know how to draw engraved on the bottom.  I use that little cruiser for class, and I have a big longboard that I use after hours for hills and practicing cross steps.  It’s great to see more people skating year after year!


Where did you study abroad? And how did your experiences shape you?

I did the Bucknell in London program this past spring.  There were so many incredible experiences but I think the most important thing I learned had to do with agency.   After the London program, I had the opportunity to move to Canterbury and do research for an additional two months.  I was there on my own, and during that time I was able to build upon the incredible experiences of the past semester and take my adventures into my own hands.  I learned during that time that having experiences alone doesn’t invalidate them.  It was really empowering to know that I had full control of the new experiences that I would have during this time, and I tried to take full advantage and pursue the things that I thought would enrich my life and time in Canterbury.  I came out of my shell and I ended up having a great time biking along the English coast on the weekends and meeting wonderful people along the way.  Coming back to Bucknell, I hear people often think of an abroad experience as that one time you were able to see something new and incredible every day.  I think that’s a huge cop out.  As incredible and special as my experiences were in England, ending that experience doesn’t mean I have to return to some monotonous life. After the trip I made a promise to myself to live with more intention day-to-day, and I have found that it has already enriched my Bucknell experience in so many ways.  Central PA is absolutely beautiful and I have had a blast exploring some of its gems off campus, and as a washed up senior I don’t see as many familiar faces as I used to, but it’s been great getting to know new people on campus.  


What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a Buckwild leader?

Communication.  I tell ya what,  for a bunch of crunchy people that walk around in the woods and make an absurd number of poop jokes, I have never seen a program run so efficiently.  We have an incredible director and our student managers are superheroes.  During our year of training that we go through to become leaders, we quickly grow accustomed to presenting positive and constructive feedback to our peers that allow us to be cognizant of our strengths and weaknesses as we develop our leadership styles.  Through this program I have found my voice as a leader.  I am much more confident in articulating my thoughts, feelings, and ideas among friends as well as in professional settings. 


How are you enjoying Club Volleyball?

It’s amazing, I wish I had committed to it sooner!  I started at Bucknell as a varsity athlete so it’s funny to come full circle and get back into a team environment.  The girls are incredibly talented and super supportive.  It’s nice to be back in a space where height is an advantage, because being almost 6 foot 2 is awkward as hell in virtually every other sphere of life.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully in throes of the tiny house movement in a location where I can be a part time snowboard bum.  Hopefully haven’t sold out to the corporate world quite yet.  

Similar Reads👯‍♀️