Her Campus Hofstra has some badass women, so let’s meet them!
Up this week, we have Courtney Shapiro!
Minor: English and Spanish
Hometown: Hillsborough, New Jersey
Member Since: Fall 2016
Why did you join Her Campus?
“So, besides Hofstra Hillel, Her Campus was second on my list of clubs I wanted to join. I don’t even know how I heard about it, but I was like, ‘Okay, this is the fashion magazine type thing.’ When I went to the club fair during welcome week, that was all I heard about. Everyone told me to look for Her Campus. I knew it was fashion and style, and now it is so much more than that which is even more exciting. It was definitely one of the first organizations I looked for — a group of supportive women and the opportunity to write.”
What is your favorite part of being in Her Campus?
“I think as the years have gone on, it’s gotten more supportive and less exclusive. I feel like we rely on each other for so many different things like fashion tips and article boosting. Even the meetings have a different dynamic — so supportive and so open. It’s such a nice environment.”
What is your favorite article that you have written?
“I like writing about books, so those have been fun because I feel like I have expert knowledge in that area because I love to read — I read all the time. Also, during my sophomore year, I wrote an article about self-love and I think that one definitely checked out for me because it’s a hard thing to come to terms with. Writing about it then executing it and putting it into words was really eye-opening and really fun.”
What else are you involved in on campus?
“So, I am in four different on-campus organizations. I am the Communications VP of Hofstra Hillel, I am the Historian and have been a brother of Alpha Phi Omega for two and a half years, the Co-Ed Community Service Fraternity, and recently, Hofstra just added a book club, so I am a member of Overbooked. And of course, I’m a writer for Her Campus. For Hillel, I do a lot of social media stuff, and this semester we want to focus more on blogging and articles. Overbooked — we meet twice a month. It’s just reading and talking about the book. With APO, I’m in charge of the end of the year slideshow for our senior send off and I have a speaking part in our induction and initiation ceremony.”
In the School of Communication, there is a lot of intensity around being involved in communications-based extracurriculars. Why do you make it a priority to be involved in other aspects of the campus community?
“I think it’s really important because you get a well-rounded experience. It’s funny because Her Campus is really the only communications-based related publication or club that I’m in. I wasn’t really interested in the Chronicle. I’m not interested in TV and radio, so I stuck to my specific niche and it’s worked out well for me because I have made so many friends in different groups. I think it’s important to get to know those various types of people and I think that’s really fun. A person on my E-Board in Hillel is also a journalism major, but she’s interested in the TV side of things, so she does the radio and maybe the HEAT network. And then in APO, one of my really close friends is also a journalism major and an English minor, so we have these different things that connect us.”
Why do you want to pursue journalism?
“I always wanted to be involved in the fashion industry, actually, and I went back and forth for years. I was like, ‘Oh, I want to design,’ and then I was like, ‘No wait, I can’t sew. I can’t draw. I don’t want to learn how to do that stuff.’ And then I was like, ‘Fashion merchandising,’ but then that didn’t really fit either. Then I started writing more creatively in eighth grade. We had assignments where we could let loose, and I kind of got into that aspect. Then I took a journalism class in high school and it was kind of terrible, actually, and I’m surprised it didn’t turn me away. I felt like the teacher didn’t really know what she was doing, and I didn’t do as well as I have done now in college, but I stuck with that anyway because I really wanted to still be involved in fashion. I was like, ‘I can write about fashion. I can write for a fashion magazine or a digital publication.’ Now that has kind of broadened, but I’ve stuck with it. I am a second semester senior and I don’t regret my major at all and I don’t want to switch to anything else. For grad school, I’m looking for a more specific digital storytelling program. I really want to stick with that niche aspect, like fashion, beauty, lifestyle, those kinds of things.”
Why did you choose English and Spanish as your minors?
“English was a last-minute decision. I kind of choose that at the end of last semester because I was at the point where I had enough credits, but I just needed liberal arts credits. I met with my advisor and she was like ‘You could make a minor out of this. You could take anything you want, like, if you wanted to take a business class, you could.’ I was like, ‘I really don’t want to. I don’t like any of that stuff, so I’m going to stick with English.’ Spanish was actually the start of my college career. I took the placement test and almost placed out, but I placed into Spanish 3. My advisor told me, ‘You’re good at this. You could just minor in it and it could help you as a journalism major going forward.’ I just decided to do that because I didn’t know what else liberal arts to do. And then, that provided a good opportunity because I was able to go to Costa Rica to study abroad to finish my Spanish minor. I studied there for 5 weeks and took two classes, Latin American film and Latin American Literature. It was amazing because I actually was speaking Spanish the whole time and was emersed in the culture, rather than sitting in a classroom.”
Where is the coolest place you have traveled to?
“That’s tough because I thought Costa Rica was amazing — I stayed with a host family. I’ve been to Portugal, and then I’ve been to Israel three times in my time here as a Hofstra student. Being involved in Hillel has given me opportunities to go to Israel. I never thought in my four years of college I would go to Israel three times. I went the first time for my birthright trip in January 2018, and then I went again in December of 2018 and then I just went again this past December. I just love the culture and everything associated with Israel because it is the background of my people. So, that’s pretty high on the list. Costa Rica was really cool too, so it’s pretty high up there.”
What do you want to do after graduation?
“Its kind of scary and people are always like, ‘Job, job, job,’ and I haven’t looked at any jobs. I’m keeping my part-time job as a hostess for now, but I don’t want to delve into the world of jobs yet because I’m waiting for that grad school application. I applied already and I get the decision in early March, so I’m waiting for that because if I am a full-time grad student, I won’t be able to have a full-time job. I applied to NYU for the Magazine and Digital Story Telling program because it exactly fits what I want to do, and it’s a specific program that is not your basic level of journalism. I’m going to live at home while I am in grad school and commute because I live in New Jersey. So, if I don’t get in, then I don’t know. Then I can start to worry… but not until then.”
What advice would you give to your freshman self?
“I guess to continue being yourself and to feel ok to be in your own skin and speak up for yourself. I had roommate issues sophomore year because I was friends with them, and now I don’t talk to any of them. I kind of just guess not losing who you are in the process and knowing who you are. It’s okay to not know what you want to do, but know what you stand for. And also, find solid friends — which I did after that. Stay true to yourself and find your friend group, even if it takes a little bit. And, you don’t have to try everything. I signed up for what I was interested in and I didn’t really branch out of my comfort interests. I mean, like, I did in a sense. I didn’t think I was going to join APO. That was different for me, but like, Hillel — I knew right away that going in it was something that I wanted to do. I was okay with that because I know that’s who I am. I have my Jewish identity and I have my journalist identity and stuff like that — just having it all come together.”
What was the coolest thing you saw in terms of self-growth in your four years here?
“I see a lot of myself in one of my littles in my fraternity. I see a lot of myself in her through a lot of the stuff she is going through, and I think that’s really interesting to see because she’s a sophomore and that was when I had all of my issues. So, seeing now that I’m a senior and I have a really great group of friends and I’m really happy with how my life on campus turned out. It’s really cool seeing myself reflected in her because we are really close and seeing how my behavior is not only influencing her but being able to give her advice because I went through it when I was your age. And I think that’s really important to use other people to help you grow, and I see it sometimes in myself. But seeing it in her, I’m like, ‘Wow, I was like this and now things have really changed, like, I’m not the same anymore,’ and seeing it in younger people and the people I’ve surrounded myself with is really cool.”
What is your favorite APO community service event?
“We do a food share — it’s called Community Solidarity. We help package and get products ready for people to collect at Hempstead train station. I just love it because it’s really hands-on and you’re really seeing the impact on the community.”
What is the coolest thing you have ever made?
“I did the magazine class here and that was really cool to see a longer form article being published in a magazine. And then my last internship with Anton Media Group here on Long Island –they were great. They are a group of local newspapers, and during my internship, I wrote everything, like, it went to Massapequa. It was all local Long Island, but I think I had something written for every newspaper at one point or another. And then I would also have stories — I think I had 4 or 5 — that ended up being full run, so they were published in all 17 of the newspapers in the full run section, and it was local Long Islanders reading. And what was also really cool for that internship — I wrote a fashion piece for one of the local magazines. I picked all of the pictures and got all of the pricing, and the only thing I didn’t do was the layout, but like, I still have those copies of the magazine. To be published in a magazine — Pulse was cool, but an actual publication that gets mailed out to people who subscribe to it — it was on their website so that was pretty cool.”
What is a goal you are working towards?
“Grad school is kind of the biggest one right now — I got positive feedback. The director of the program actually emailed me a little while ago and told me, ‘I’ve been reading a lot of applications and your writing is actually very impressive to me, and I would love to set up a time to talk to you.’ She talked with me on the same day, and she said they have had double the amount of candidates this year and, ‘I want to make it clear that I do not call everyone,’ so that was pretty promising. Other than that, I participate in the Good Reads reading challenge every year, and my goal for that is 130 books in 2020, and I’m at 19 right now.”
What has been your favorite out of those 19 you have read in 2020 so far?
“The second book of the Imperium trilogy. The writing is so good. The third book doesn’t come out until October. The author kind of destroyed me — we had an Instagram conversation, and I was like, ‘I’m kind of mad because this was so good,’ but she did something at the end of the book that I was just like, ‘Why, why did you do this?’ And she said, ‘I know it’s a lot to process, sending hugs.’ I couldn’t pick up another book for a good five days, which is rare for me. I finish a book and I go onto the next one, but I couldn’t pick up another one.”
Have any authors influenced your writing or love for reading?
“I don’t think any author has influenced my writing because I don’t want to write in an author style. I am an author, in a sense, but I don’t want to write like an author in creating worlds and stuff like that. Although, one of my favorite authors is Cassandra Clare. I’ve been reading her work since I was 13 and I am going to be 23 in October. I have a tattoo from her book series — I love her. All of her books right now have been set in the same world, just in different time periods. The first series is The Mortal Instruments, which is six books. The prequel series has three, the sequel series has three, and then there is a series in between the prequel and the main series that is another trilogy. I just preordered her most recent one today. Her characters are really diverse. One of the main characters in the original series was Jewish, and I really liked how that was incorporated. I liked seeing my culture incorporated even just a little bit because they did prayers sometimes, and traditions. I love YA fantasy novels, and I also love contemporary cute romance novels. I have two authors that I love as well, Colleen Hoover and Christina Lauren, and they just write quirky and feel-good cute stories.”
“Cassandra Clare is just the reading love of my life, but for a favorite stand-alone book, I really do love The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and The Night Circus and The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Just the way they are written, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower tackles some really important issues through its story, and the way it was written — the other two magical realism — and they both climbed very high to the top of my list.”
“Tim Gunn and Elaine Welteroth, the editor in chief of Teen Vogue. She’s so great — she’s just so open in herself. Actor wise, I really like Eddie Redmayne. He’s so underrated, but he is in those movies you wouldn’t think of seeing but are really good. I just really love him. And Emma Watson for sure, too. She’s so inspirational and feminist.”
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in recent fashion trends?
“I actually just went to Fashion Week. I’ve been to Fashion Week four times and it’s still a shock to me that I’ve been able to do that as a college student. I think something that is really cool in 2020 is the inclusivity of fashion. A skirt isn’t necessarily just for a girl anymore. Just breaking boundaries and styling and creating things that people want to wear instead of just the norm and what you are expected to wear. I think a lot of celebrities are breaking down a lot of walls and breaking down boundaries of what’s acceptable to wear because they can wear whatever they want. So, more inclusivity in terms of gender, and more inclusivity in terms of plus-size fashion. That’s always been really important to me. It should be included, regardless. It shouldn’t be a separate category. Big designers are designing red carpet looks for bigger women and it’s really important and moving the industry forward in a good way.”
How do you use fashion to express yourself?
“I think it’s hard being in college, but I love classic kinds of trends. I just like the appeal of fashion and reading about it in magazines. It’s hard as a college student because I can’t afford anything I want to wear, but watching how seasons change and dressing for certain occasions — like dressing up for any APO event. We have to dress business casual and I still dress business casual, but I’ll put on extra makeup and make sure my outfit is on point. I just like the aspect of liking what I am wearing.”