Campus Celeb: HCND Graduate Edition! - AnnaLee Rice '14

As part of our Campus Celeb: HCND Graduates series, this week we had the pleasure of profiling our founder and Campus Correspondent, AnnaLee Rice! Thanks to AnnaLee's outstanding determination, Notre Dame began it's first ever Her Campus chapter two years ago. We go the chance to dig a little bit deeper with this Poli-Sci student and hear all about her thoughts on Notre Dame and Her Campus! 

About AnnaLee! 

Name: AnnaLee Rice

Year: Senior, Class of 2014

Hometown: Mahwah, New Jersey

Dorm Allegiance: Howard Hall

Major: Political Science and Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE)

NDH/SDH: SDH. It’s the right thing to do.

Campus Activities: I’m most proud of founding Her Campus Notre Dame and the Undergraduate Philosophy Research Journal and serving as treasurer for College Democrats while still subscribing to College Republicans emails.

What is the most played song on your iPod right now?

The Man Who Lives Forever by Lord Huron. It’s a great song. I think it speaks to my struggle understanding and accepting the ephemeral nature of college, but I tend to extrapolate things.

What is a little known fact about you?

I think tailgating is really stressful. There is no service in the parking lot and you want to say hi to everyone but you can’t find anyone and you never know how wild to be in front of parents or what to do when you’re at your friend’s-cousin’s-aunt’s tailgate. Ugh. 

Who is your celebrity crush?

Dead? Alexander Hamilton. Alive? Ronan Farrow. I have a weakness for good-looking legal scholars dedicated to shaping the US government. My mom thinks I’m a nerd.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Tiny, gregarious, curious.

What’s your favorite movie quote? 

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you."- John Green, The Fault in Our Stars. Let that sink in. It applies to friends, boyfriends, flings, and hall mates, you know? You have near-complete agency regarding the people with whom you interact on a very personal level. Choose wisely.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

I’d like to think I’m cool and chill like Emma Stone but that’s totally false. It’d definitely be Aubrey Plaza, in her magnificent weirdness.


AnnaLee and ND

If you could go back to freshman year and tell yourself one thing you know now, what would it be? 

You will fall in love with this place if you give yourself the chance. Stop stressing about your future, I promise that you will find lucrative and enjoyable employment in your senior year. It will surprise everyone. Also: Never bypass the opportunity to hug the daylights out of people. Kids on campus need more hugs. You need more hugs. Let the Hug Games begin.

What did you think you were going to do when you came in as a freshman?

I thought I was going to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Which is hilarious.  

It’s crunch time! What is the #1 item on your ND bucket list that you still want to complete before graduation?

I actually haven’t been inside of all the dorms, so that’s a thing to do. If you see me wandering around, I’m just innocuously lost I swear. Other than that, my end-of-the-year goals are pretty mundane and largely academic. Write the best paper of my life. Get a 4.0 this semester. Find an adequate way to thank a lot of people. I had the extraordinary realization two weeks ago that I have achieved every social and campus-specific bucket list item that I have ever entertained doing so that’s pretty alarming. Those fun lol-that’s-an-actually-horrible-idea-don’t-do-that bucket list items? Check.   

What is your best ND memory?

Most typical college memory? The first weekend party back at Legacy with a bunch of naked dudes on a slip n’ slide and a ton of seniors – it was so warm, everyone was so excited to be back, and it felt straight out of Animal House.  

But I’ve loved the stolen moments in college the most. Like Wednesday night picnics that end up being 5 hours long as you stare at the swirling St. Joe River and and throw expensive Whole Foods grapes into the current because you decided to "splurge" on fresh produce. Or putting off homework for 2 hours to watch that famous academic lecture about a constitutional interpretation that infuriates you. Or realizing, as cold, hard marshmallows smack and sting your cheeks, that the last home football game was actually important and that you are supremely conscious of that fact in the moment. Sorry, I got sappy there. In short, I have too many memories. They’ve all be variations of great.

What are the best and worst things about ND?

People here are really smart and really boring. There’s a fine line between gossiping with friends to blow off some steam and realizing that you’re bitching with a friend about the weather even though he has a 3.9, is working for Bain, and reads more news than you do. Capitalize on the stunning brainpower around you. 

If you could change one thing about Notre Dame, what would it be?

I’m tempted to say move it to some place with more interesting topography but Notre Dame is so wonderfully and unbearably Midwestern that I couldn’t move it somewhere else without destroying a cornerstone of its identity. So: Abolish campaigns that solely seek to “raise awareness” instead of formulating concrete action plans with realistic deliverables. It’s like: Great, I’m aware. Now what?

Best class you’ve taken/professor you’ve had at ND:

Most edifying? The Justice Seminar, which is the gateway course for the PPE minor co-taught by Dr John Roos and Dr Paul Weithman. It was everything – political theory, behavioral economics, quantitative American politics-- very difficult. Most useful? Modern Political Campaigns with the hilarious and astonishingly intelligent Dr. David Nickerson. Actually applicable to my job next year.

But everyone has an unbelievably kind and caring professor as an undergraduate and while I’m fortunate to have a lot, the one who consistently comes to mind first is Dr Vincent Philip Muñoz. I remember I went into his office hours as a sophomore to talk about the Federalist Papers or something and he told me I was pretty good at political science.  At that point, it was the first time I had impressed a professor at Notre Dame. So I switched out of biology in order to fling myself head first into Arts and Letters and haven’t looked back since. Except when I walk into Stinson-Remick. That building is nice. Engineering seems so mystical.

Favorite spot on campus:

The concrete benches outside of the greatest building on campus, O’Shag. This is my perfect ND day: Iced coffee, great political theory, good tunes, a shaded part of the benches… the best spot to people-watch on campus.

Favorite Domer – dead, alive, or fictional?

Excluding the class of 2014 to focus on young alums, I’d have to say Malcolm Phelan ’12. Thank you for picking up my frantic phone calls about my future and for showing me that you can do anything with a political science degree even though the Career Center said I couldn’t. Otherwise, I’m proud to share an alma mater with Condoleeza Rice.  She is extraordinarily talented and it breaks my heart to see her wear red to the Stanford-Notre Dame games. 

In 25 years you will be…

Sitting on the Notre Dame Board of Trustees. 

What activity do you wish you had gotten involved in on campus?

I wish I played more sports and done more SIBC stuff aside from a couple projects my sophomore year. And I wish I had gotten into the artistic side of ND like PFresh and FTT, etc. But I can’t dance, sing, or express beauty through physical renderings, so maybe it’s for the best.

What are you going to miss the most about ND?

Being surrounded by 8,000 peers preselected for intelligence, empathy, and Catholic leanings.


AnnaLee Introduces Her Campus to Notre Dame

You created the first ever HCND chapter! Thanks!

Thank you guys. This has been a dream come true and my proudest accomplishment in college. Thanks for reading, writing, and helping me hatch my crazy plans to change undergraduate journalism at ND. 

What made you think Her Campus should be present at Notre Dame?

ND lacked a fast-response blog platform with unrestricted, uncensored content. I wanted something flexible and innovative that would be progressive and critical while still celebrating what makes ND so delightfully stalwart. I thought it would be cool to give students an unrestricted platform where they could publish musings about sports one week and international news the next. More than anything, I wanted to fight against the notion that ND is an old boys club because it’s not. It’s our campus.

How did you first hear about Her Campus?

My friend Emily from Fordham wrote for Her Campus Fordham and I thought her articles were hilarious and really share-able on Facebook/Twitter. I didn’t know an online consortium of college newspapers strung together by HC existed.

Why did you want to get involved in HCND?

I have always loved writing and news sources and I wanted to figure out if I could hack it on my own. I've tried to start more things than join things at ND so I took that outlook and ran with it regarding HCND.

What was your biggest challenge in creating the chapter?

At first, attracting readers. HCND started with my applying to HC headquarters to start the chapter, writing all the content, and launching it alone. So our first week’s content was generated by a single person with a single news feed and a deep fear of Twitter. I think I got about 100 hits—abysmal.  Writing 7 pieces a week was absolutely exhausting, not to mention that content generated by one person did not speak to ND’s diversity in the slightest. I needed people and I needed to pick the right people with a finger on the pulse of ND’s campus, knowledge of social media, and a lot of personal flair. So obviously, I approached Lexi (Lorenzo) and Katie (Fusco).

What are you most proud of, in regards to HCND?

Our readership! We range from about 12 – 40k site views a week. But that’s entirely due to the team’s amazing ability to pick interesting topics, write captivating articles, and market their writing to their respective networks. TL;DR I’m proud of everything and everyone.

What is your current role in Her Campus ND?

Founder/ Campus Correspondent/ editor-in-chief/ poll master.

What HCND article was your favorite? 

I think that my article 21 Signs You’re Notre Dating encapsulates a lot of my social frustrations at Notre Dame but I’m most proud of my article An Open Letter to Underclassmen. Freshman year blows. Students have to know that they’re not alone. Other than that, Annie Kinman’s article about eating disorders was absolutely heart-wrenching, necessary, and perfect.

What is the best part of working with HCND?

Knowing that we can write about anything. And that you can get 15 minutes of anyone’s time if you purport that you’re interviewing him/her. Sometimes I interview boys I have crushes on (Katie mocks me for this; I am not subtle). Other times I get to sit down and chat about the insanely cool things ND kids are doing domestically and while abroad. 

What’s your personal next step?

I’ve wanted to live in DC since I was 11 years old and that dream is finally becoming a reality! I will be working in DC at a political consulting and advertising firm. I’m psyched. I will actually be utilizing some of the quantitative skills I’ve gained in my stats and econ classes and get to work for the ideologies and beliefs I’ve developed in political science. It’s funny, I visited my high school my sophomore year at ND and my old teacher asked me rather pointedly whether there were any jobs for political scientists. Two years later, I can confidently respond: Quite a lot. But truthfully, I didn’t know that this was what I wanted to do until this semester – I thought it was management consulting or bust. Don’t stress about getting a job if OCR options seem boring or if you’ve have less-than-stellar leads. You will do fine.  

How has being a part of HCND impacted you?

Oh man, how hasn’t it impacted me? I got to set up and lead a team from scratch, navigate team dynamics, learn web analytics, get to talk about whatever I wanted, and shape a vision for what a college newspaper can be. It’s been amazing.

What would you like to see from the chapter in the future?

More inclusion of LGTBQ interests because there is more to college than heterosexual dating. I also wish we had a more conservative outlook that could tell the story of living a very Catholic life at Notre Dame – whether it’s someone who is entering the religious orders, or someone who goes above and beyond dorm Mass to really commitment themselves to their faith by abstaining from typical college debauchery. I want every single view represented at ND and for our community of writers to hash out what it means for a student to be living the “good life” by really pushing each other to define what exactly it is.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get involved in HCND?

Contact us. But honestly weigh how much time you have to give to HCND to write each week. Sometimes an 800 word articles can take me 45 minutes. Other times it can take 3 hours. Knowing that HCND operates as a meritocracy, it’s crucial that you know your limits and can stick to them. Do not flake on us, it makes me sad and then I cry alone in my room listening to recycled Brothers Top 40 Hits. Have you ever bawled to Timber? That is true pain.  

You’re about to graduate from the University of Notre Dame. Wow! Congratulations! Last thoughts?

It’s been a hell of a ride. 

Thanks so much for your time! We're going to miss you! 




Pictures provided by interviewee 

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