Shanti Scott (‘14) is a woman of many interests.
Scott is the new hall director of Scott Hall in the Fishbowl on campus. She enjoys both working and doing activities outdoors, she’s a yoga instructor, she loves to garden and she claims to have the “travel bug” ever since she took a trip to France during her junior year of high school.
While attending the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Scott majored in women’s studies and minored in both nutrition and psychology. She interned for Health & Wellness, was involved in PAWS and the Alternative Break Challenge, studied abroad in a community health and social policy program in South Africa that she described as “life-changing.” After her program ended, she traveled to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Scott grew up in Townsend, MA and has an older sister and two younger brothers. Growing up, Scott enjoyed playing games outside, climbing trees, and playing sports such as soccer, basketball, field hockey and track.
This love of the outdoors has translated into her adult life as well, as she has worked in the fields of outdoor education and wilderness therapy. On her first post-college job in outdoor education, she said, “[I] loved the outdoor component, loved facilitating working with students. In outdoor ed you tend to do very short, two to five days. So, I wanted to work with students longer. That led to wilderness therapy, and that had more of a therapeutic realm.” She noted the woodsy aspect of this; that they are without phones and cook their own food, among other things. She noted her unique ability to “bow-drill,” which she described as “a primitive form of fire-making.” Scott explained that this a quick turnaround job, so after about a year, she transitioned to a new job at a residential treatment center for adolescent boys.
While mainly indoors, this role still had an outside component. Scott was able to take her students mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking.
“I actually broke my wrist playing basketball… there’s a company in the White Mountains that doesn’t allow their employees to play basketball because more employees are hurt playing basketball,” she said.
Following this, Scott spent a year and a half leading international youth exchanges. She took a group of American students to South Africa, and then worked with international students from the Caribbean and South America. They focused on topics such as “social justice, civic engagement and cultural immersion.”
Scott began her role as hall director in mid-December.
“I have been nomadic since I left college. I graduated in 2014, I lived in California, I moved to Ohio, I lived in Brooklyn, New York, Vermont, and I lived in Keene,” she said when asked about her decision to apply for this job. Scott said she had always been drawn back to the seacoast area. She explained that though she had never worked specifically in residential life, her past experiences and skills, such as “direct student contact and fostering of academic curriculum,” have helped her prepare for this role. “It’s been really cool to step in and see where it goes,” she said.
Scott, who lives in an apartment in Scott Hall, has several goals for herself and the dorm.
“I definitely adore this building and this community,” she said.
She is hoping to complete a Master’s program while she is at UNH, likely in either adolescent development and family studies, or the Carsey School of Public Policy program in community development.
She described a curriculum she has been working on for a while, called “Adulting in Action.”
“It combines leadership, social and emotional learning, financial literacy, social justice, and really ‘What does it mean to adult?’ And how to transition from adolescence effectively. The curriculum we do here is completely aligned in it and I am looking to get that going and see what could be developed,” she said.
She said the best part so far has been her department, particularly how kind and inclusive they have been. She appreciates that they are a group of people working for a similar mission. She said because of this support, she has “been able to show up for my students and for my RAs and know the logistics on all the moving criteria.”
There is no “typical day” for Scott, as each day is different, from meetings with potential future RAs to meetings for the Sophomore Summit committee that she is part of. She also works in her role as advisor to the Hall Council. With all of this going on, Scott mentioned the importance of “balancing and scheduling self-care.”
Looking to the future, Scott plans to stay in her role as hall director for the next couple of years, at least the next year and a half. Her next trip will be to Peru and Bolivia this summer.