Ruby Mahoney

Ruby Louise Baker Mahoney

UWC attended: Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (USA)
Class Year: Class of 2028

Hi! My name Ruby (she/her), and I grew up in a small community on Mount Desert Island, Maine. My parents work at College of the Atlantic, a liberal arts college with a strong international student base. It was an amazing place to grow up, but it was isolated. This isolation, this rural-ness, impacts how one perceives and engages with the world. When I got older, eager for a change, I applied (twice!) and was accepted to United World College, USA. UWC provided an incredibly dynamic international experience and I learned and grew in ways I’m still figuring out how to articulate. However, I came to realize that that campus faces many of the same challenges as COA given its geographic location and few opportunities to explore and engage with the outside world.

I want to learn about the world in new and practical ways, but I am ready and eager to do that work with access to an urban setting. Lewis and Clark, for me, is something special in this regard. It would allow me to continue learning and growing in the ways I have consistently thrived. But it would also offer access to a new unfamiliar city full of vibrant, rich history, contemporary dialogue and culture – not to mention hands on work in areas I am passionate about. To learn within such a context is incredibly exciting to me.

My interests in social justice and human rights related work really developed during my time at UWC, through both my coursework in my global politics politics class, as well as an inordinate amount of co-curricular opportunities. I advocated for my fellow students as a member of the Student Council, and helped peers build stronger English language skills through my work as a peer writing tutor. In particular, at UWC I found a passion and love for environmental studies and agroecology – especially as it relates to social justice. In my first semester, I joined the crew at our campus’s farm and almost immediately began building skills I never thought I’d have. I spent an inordinate amount of my time at UWC volunteering there and at other farms in the area, gaining knowledge of indigenous agricultural and healing practices.

Additionally, I made the decision last summer to defer and spend a year working, saving money, and spending time outside of a traditionally academic setting. I spent the vast majority of the year working at a public garden, honing horticultural skills and learning a variety of planting techniques. I was also awarded a full scholarship to live and work for a nonprofit (Surplus People Project) in Cape Town, South Africa for three months this spring, which was an amazing opportunity that really helped globalize my perspective on food justice. I’m really excited to bring these experiences to L&C, especially in the context of a potential Environmental Studies major.

Growing up in a world on fire, I’ve found it extremely useful to learn through physical practice – building real, tangible skills that can be used for good. It’s one of the only ways that I can effectively comprehend climate catastrophe and food insecurity and what needs to be done to mitigate its consequences on both large and small scales. And it makes me really happy.

My commitment to farming and food security related opportunities at UWC has made my life and work make more sense. I am deeply committed to learning more about food systems, agriculture, and sustainability but also about what it means to build respect, trust and community. I plan to continue pursuing these interests at college and for the rest of my life, and am incredibly excited for L&C to be a part of that journey.