Campus Cutie: Meet Cecilia Hennessy '17

Despite the girlish dash of dark bangs across her forehead, petite stature, and endearingly unrelenting optimism, Cecilia Hennessy is more than just the ultimate cutie around campus (and one of our favorite seniors!). The 21-year-old Longmeadow native has joined the ranks as a prominent female leader on campus as the 2016-2017 President of Her Campus UMass Amherst. To gain some insight on the inner workings of this college #GirlBoss, we talked to the self-proclaimed "news junkie" about Spain, the media and good ol' fashioned girl power. 

"I believe women are often underrepresented in the journalism world, and I would love to be a voice for that. Women are a force to be reckoned with."

Her Campus UMass Amherst: When you were choosing colleges, what stood out to you about UMass?

Cecilia Hennessy: UMass has always been a special place to me. Growing up in Longmeadow—which is just 30 minutes away from UMass—I visited the University often for football, hockey and basketball games along with many concerts. UMass runs deep in my family. My mom attended UMass, as well as many aunts and uncles. Ever since I was a little girl, all I've heard is my family raving about what a good school UMass is! There was no doubt in my mind I was going to apply when it came time to look at colleges. And when I went to UMass for Admitted Students Day, I knew it would be my home for the next four years. The welcoming environment of that day and all the opportunities that came with a school the size of UMass instantly attracted me. I couldn't see myself anywhere else but UMass.

HC: Tell us about your course of studies. Do you intend on pursuing a related career post-grad? 

CH: I am a journalism and communications double major with a focus on broadcast journalism. In my ideal world when I graduate, I would love to be a news reporter for a local TV station. I am a news junkie—I love seeking out and investigating the hard-hitting news stories of our day. I love hearing people's stories, and I want to be a voice for the unheard. I love the fast-paced, ever-changing world of journalism. Everyday there is a new story to be told and a new voice to be heard.

HC: It's fair to say that you appreciate various forms of media. What led you to getting involved with Her Campus specifically?

CH: I became involved with Her Campus my sophomore year. After settling in as a comm and journalism major, I knew I had to start writing for campus media. There are numerous RSOs (Registered Student Organizations) on campus related to media, but I knew Her Campus was the one for me when I stopped by their table at the Activities Expo. It's the only campus media that focuses specifically on college-aged women and supports women in the media, women's rights and female empowerment. That's exactly what drew me to it, and what I still love about it today! I also love that Her Campus is about more than just writing. We are a community of women who have lots of fun together at our workout events, movie and ice cream nights, clothing swaps, philanthropy events, and so much more.

"I knew Her Campus was the one for me. It's the only campus media that focuses specifically on college-aged women and supports women in the media, women's rights and female empowerment."

HC: It seems like you're very passionate about contributing to an empowering female community such as Her Campus. Do you hope to combine that with your career plans in broadcasting?

CH: I believe women are often underrepresented in the journalism world, and I would love to be a voice for that. I hope to continue to empower women through broadcast whether that's through covering more stories on them and giving them a stronger voice in their communities, or acting as inspiration to show that women are a force to be reckoned with in the media world. I'm inspired by women like Erin Burnett, Robin Roberts and Katie Couric—they prove that women can be kick-ass journalists!

HC: What is your greatest achievement as a UMass student so far?

CH: I would have to say becoming President of Her Campus! It has helped me become more involved and connected on campus! I love the people I have met through it, the leadership, and the writing experience I have gained through being both a writer and president.

"Becoming a female leader on campus has taught me how important it is for women to advocate for themselves—to show that they too can play important roles on campus."

HC: Has becoming a female leader on campus changed your perspective? 

CH: It has taught me how easily your voice can be heard, and how important it is for women to advocate for themselves—to show that they too can play important roles on campus. I have been so impressed by all the articles written by our girls this year. They've written incredible, thought-provoking pieces related to current events, female empowerment, social issues and more.

HC: Are you involved in anything else on campus?

CH: I'm also on the UVC (Union Video Center) News Team on campus and I work at the Honors College and the Journalism Department! I also traveled to Haiti for a summer trip with Your Story International, which is another RSO on campus!

HC: We hear you studied abroad. What was that like?

CH: Study abroad was the best four months of my life. I learned so much, traveled to so many new places, made new friends and gained a lot of confidence! As somebody from a Puerto Rican family, I chose to go to Spain to learn more about the Spanish culture and heritage. Before going abroad I was a little worried I would be lonely and feel strange in a foreign country, but I was so wrong. I wouldn't change my experience for anything in the world! Going abroad gave me a better appreciation for the world, a love for traveling and it taught me the importance of doing things outside your comfort zone. Make changes, immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a new language, and meet new people. I promise you won't regret it!

HC: Finally, do you have any pro-tips for incoming UMass students?

CH: My advice to new students is to join a club or activity as soon as you get here. It will help you find the people that have the same interests and beliefs as you. Joining Her Campus was one of the best decisions I made coming into UMass. 

All images courtesy of Cecilia Hennessy.