Today, if you ran into senior Jacqueline Purtell walking out of Harper College or studying on the Horseshoe, you could tell she loves USC. Her passion for the university is infectious.
"I like the vibes. I like the mascot; Cocky is just my favorite thing ever. And then the Honors College, obviously, the academics are unbeatable, and the classes are so cool," the statistics major and advertising and public relations minor said.
Nowadays, Purtell enjoys explaining why she calls USC home, but she didn't always expect to end up an hour away from her small town of Clover, South Carolina.
Purtell applied to 11 colleges during her senior year of high school, sending applications to schools from Texas to California. Eventually, she made an excel sheet, like any future statistics major would, and laid out everything she wanted in college. The list included dining halls, the ideal teacher-to-student ratio and the school's acceptance rate.
"And then I had all the green boxes and all the red boxes, and the only school I had that had every single box green was USC Honors," Purtell said. "And I was like, okay, well, I can't argue with my little spreadsheet."
When she got to campus, Purtell fell in love with everything that USC offered but especially found her place within the Honors community.
"It feels like they put a lot of emphasis on being a family and being a community, and not just being a student," Purtell said. "You are actually looked at as a human being who has passions and interests, and it's 'How can we help you succeed with what you want to do?'"
Throughout the last seven semesters, Purtell joined the orientation team, participated in the student television station, founded the statistics club and became an honors ambassador, an activity she sometimes forgets to mention.
"Oh my gosh, my favorite thing ever; I'm an honors ambassador. I didn't even think about that because it's like such a part of my personality," Purtell said. "That's just what I do for fun."
As an ambassador since the first semester of her freshman year, Purtell has enjoyed giving presentations to prospective students and traveling across the state to host information sessions and meet with alumni. She said she enjoys connecting with people and being a part of their journey to USC.
"I went to Meet the SCHC and talked to an honors ambassador for probably three hours. And he was a huge reason why I came here. So then being on the other side of that and getting to kind of pay it forward. I was given all these things and now I get to give these things back to people who are coming after me. It is just a really cool experience," Purtell said.
After graduating in December, Purtell plans to take a gap semester to travel and visit with family. In the fall, she plans to work in Charlotte, North Carolina, doing quantitative analytics through a program with Bank of America. She said her last semester as an honors ambassador has helped her reflect on her time at USC and appreciate the many opportunities it has given her.
"So every week I get up in front of everyone, and I talk about my last four years and the things I love about this school…I want to have something to say that's meaningful to me. And I wanna be able to get up there and say, I do these things, and I love these things, and they're so fun. And they've also launched me into this career or helped me in my actual field of study," Purtell said. "They're things that I genuinely enjoy and have gotten to experience because I go here."