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Viking Profile: Anna Snyder '20

Mapping her own path in world languages

Completing both a major and multiple minors requires a high level of planning and commitment on its own. Add in the challenge of completing academic study in three different languages, often in the same semester, and the task seems downright dizzying.

Anna Snyder ‘20 is currently pursuing her bachelor of arts in world languages and cultures concentrating in French, plus a minor in world languages, studying Spanish and Arabic. She’s also well on her way to completing an additional minor in geology. On top of all of these, she’s completing a certificate in translation to prepare her professional work in translation after she graduates.

Did we mention her part-time work at the on-campus Starbucks? (We need a coffee just thinking about it.)

She tackles the challenge of each semester armed with a deep love of language, a lot of energy and a very meticulous assignment book.

“It can look overwhelming to see every assignment at once,” she laughs, “but it helps to see everything that’s coming up for every class in one place, and I can break it down into manageable pieces.”

An Easy Choice

Her college search was a decisive one. “Salem State was always my first choice. Once I knew they had all the languages I wanted to study, I applied early.” Having grown up in rural Sandisfield, MA, Anna enjoys living in a small city in such close proximity to coastal beauty.

Unsurprisingly, Anna thrived in the language classroom. “I’ve had nothing but great experiences so far,” she recalls. One of her biggest obstacles is checking to ensure that she hasn’t accidentally used an article from one language she’s studying on an exam for a different language!

To complete her French experiential learning requirement, Anna took on a unique challenge. First, she completed an online course in French about how to edit Wikipedia entries. From there, she began translating a Wikipedia entry about a popular historical fiction character from English into French. As part of her project, she meets with a native French speaker to make sure that the expressions and style of the translation would make sense in French.

An Unexpected Minor

As a student who has always favored the humanities, Anna was reluctant about choosing a required science to study. Looking for something she hadn’t already taken in high school, she tried an introductory course in geology and was thrilled to find that she loved it.

“It just made sense to me in a way that biology and chemistry didn’t – geology is so fascinating,” she says. In particular, she loved taking “Geology in the Movies,” a class that covers geologic hazards like earthquakes and tsunamis and examines the accuracy of how these hazards are portrayed in popular movies. Once she completed her required geology courses, a faculty member encouraged her to keep going to complete a minor.

Anna encourages students early in their academic careers not to limit themselves to familiar areas of study. “Pursue what you think is interesting and just take the first step,” she says. “Even learning the basics in a new field can be really helpful.”

Looking Ahead

While she is unsure what the future holds beyond her final year at Salem State, Anna hopes to pursue a career helping others in a way that allows her to use her language skills professionally. With such a wide range of knowledge and interests, she’s sure to find a rewarding professional path.

Anne P Collins
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