Clarkie of the Week: Erin Shull

Nandita Modhubonti, Scarlet Staff


Erin Shull (’19) is a Business Management major. She works for the Admissions Office and runs the school’s official Snapchat account. She is also the Vice President of Amnesty International, and she is on the Club Frisbee team. She sat down with The Scarlet to talk about what it’s like being a Third Culture Kid (TCK), life in and after Clark, and her cat Chubby.

Scarlet: How would you describe your Clark experience? Do you like it?

Erin: Yeah, I do! I love Clark! I don’t think I could possibly have the jobs that I have now if I didn’t like Clark. When I was looking at Clark, it was really important to me that they had a large international population because I was coming from an international school, and I also just wanted a community in which I felt like I could be myself. I applied to Clark, sight unseen, because I was in China. I was like, I guess I’ll apply here since it’s in this book, “40 Colleges That Change Lives.” When I came to visit after I got my acceptances and planned a trip back, I just loved it. I loved the community feeling, I loved the atmosphere and I could really see myself finding a home here. I felt like the transition here would not be as bad or as hard as any of the other schools I had applied to.

Scarlet: So you mentioned you were a TCK, where have you lived besides the US?

Erin: So, I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and then moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Then Arlington, VA, then Hong Kong, and then Manila, The Philippines. After that, Beijing, China, and then I came to Clark.

Scarlet: Since you’ve lived in so many places that aren’t in the US, would you say you experienced culture shock when you first moved to Clark?

Erin: I definitely would say that I was. One main thing was alcohol — not being able to drink in the US when I had lived in places where I had been legal to go to bars and have that type of experience … was weird. The whole view on alcohol in general was also a huge culture shock because it was sort of a taboo thing that people couldn’t do, but for me it was very normalized in my home and my school. Nationalism in the US was also a very big culture shock for me because I’d only had three years of schooling in the US and I wasn’t used to this mentality of pro everything USA, and coming here I was like, ‘wow!’ The countries I’ve lived in, there’s always pride in where you’re from but I’d never hear chants of like, ‘Philippines, Philippines,’ you know? So, that was definitely an awkward transition to come here and look and sound very American, and not have some of the same mentalities, or even know some of the pop culture references that I just didn’t understand because I just hadn’t grown up in the US, I hadn’t necessarily always watched American TV. Just weird small things that don’t seem that big, but when they come together you’re like, ‘oh my God!’

Scarlet: What are some of favorite spots on campus or in Worcester?

Erin: I live off campus now and I love my apartment, but if I’m talking more on campus, I lived in Maywood last year and Alden Quad, the green area [near it], I always thought it was so beautiful. It’s a nice green space on campus that I loved in the spring and in the summer time since it  isn’t as crowded or as loud as the green.

Scarlet: Do you have anything exciting planned for the summer that you’d like to share?

Erin: This summer I’m still applying for internships, so I don’t know where I’ll be, but, I’ll probably be back in the DC area, which is where my parents live now. But for Spring Break I’m actually going to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina with the Frisbee Team for the big High Tide Frisbee tournament. So I’m super pumped for that! I think that’ll be a really awesome time to get closer to the Frisbee team and also get away from the cold weather for a little while, I still have some tropical blood in me! It’s really cold here and I’m looking forward to going south a little bit.

Scarlet: You mentioned that you were a junior. You still have a year, but do you know what you want to do after Clark?

Erin: I’m applying for 5th year, so, I’m probably going to try and do the 5th year MBA program, with a concentration in sustainability. After that, I think I’m going to go wherever I can get a job. I’m really interested in looking at how you can make the private sector more sustainable. So, I came to Clark originally intending to do International Development & Social Change, and then I changed my mind and I was like ‘maybe I can approach making some sort of social and environmental change through the private sector instead,’ so, I switched to business. I’m hoping to do something with regards to working with businesses to make them more sustainable, but with a very profit-focused mindset that would appeal to the private sector.

Scarlet: What’s a strange or fun fact about yourself that you would like to tell us?

Erin: Usually, my go to fun fact is that I’m a TCK because it’s something you can’t tell just by looking at me. Well, I have a cat named Chubby, who has lived with my family in the Philippines, Beijing, and now back in the US! It’s a very well traveled cat.

Scarlet: Since you mentioned your cat, if you were an animal, what would you be?

Erin: I was actually talking with my friends recently about how if an animal encompassed us what it would be. I’m torn between saying some type of bird because I’ve always traveled so much and because being able to go where I want is very important [to me]. But I also really like the idea of being a lion because I love cats, I think that they’re great, but I think that [lions] are very stoic and stand up for what they believe in, and fierce, but at the same time are very kind and loving.

Scarlet: Has Clark lived up to your expectations?

Erin: Coming back to the US, I was really nervous about what that transition would be like because I moved away when I was eight. So, I really hadn’t known anything but a very international lifestyle and when I came back I was really scared that people wouldn’t understand me or who I am, or have any interest in understanding who I am. But I haven’t really ever felt that. Every time I’m talking to someone about myself or my life I’ve always been met with a lot of curiosity and open arms and they don’t treat me like I’m sort of weird cultural outsider. They’re just like ‘this is you, and we accept you for who you are.’ So, yeah I definitely think that, especially socially, Clark has lived up to a lot of my expectations.

Scarlet: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone?

Erin: I would like to give a shout out to Ethan Giles who used to work for The Scarlet. So, I was actually talking to him a lot about this interview and he was so excited that I had been nominated as Clarkie of the Week. So I just want to give him a quick shout out for all the work that he did do for The Scarlet! He hosts trivia at Moynihan’s and last week he shouted out The Scarlet and one of his whole trivia categories was The Scarlet, so I think that he deserves to be in this.

Thanks for the interview Erin!