Robin R. Smith 

Major: Sociology, Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), 
McNair Scholars Program  Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Formerly from Cincinnati, Ohio (Go Buckeyes!), Robin came to Utah to participate in a Breast cancer study, and she is now graduating from Westminster as an outstanding non-traditional student. She has been nominated for several “Great Griffin” awards and leadership awards. She was originally an Elementary Education Major and after she began to take notice of the role of the social worker, she changed her path to majoring in Sociology and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

When Robin parked here at Westminster for the first time, she felt like she belonged. “I was nervous of course but I knew I only needed to be new one time. I immersed myself fully in any and all events. I visited offices and introduced myself to people I didn’t know. It made a difference in being able to locate safe spaces for myself on campus,” she said. The Diversity & International Center, Spiritual Life, Shaw, The School of Education, Arts and Sciences have been refuges for her when she needed a place to feel safe. She would spend lots of time in Bridget Newell’s office also, who she’ll miss very much. Robin knows that she can walk into almost any office on campus and be welcomed.

During Robin’s time at Westminster, she has served as Diversity chair, on Diversity Council, Emceed International Fest and has been a participant in over 100 events on campus. She has also been able to contribute in many opportunities to help find new staff and faculty for Westminster.

She is a McNair Scholar – With the guidance of the McNair Scholars program and her Mentor Marilee Coles-Ritchie and Lesa Ellis, she learned the fundamentals of research. She did her first research paper as a group and they looked at aggression and bullying between adolescent girls and boys. Her summer research last year was called “Racetalk in Elementary schools; Teacher’s Tell Their Stories” and is very special to Robin. This research talks with teachers and how they discuss race with each other and with their students. Robin, along with her mentor will be presenting at The American Educational Research Association (AERA) this April. Her grades are very exciting for her.  She attended the Hope/Navajo May Term experience 3 years ago which was life changing. She met some of her dearest friends on this trip.

Robin is currently a Resident Advisor. “I feel like a house mother sometimes, but I love this job. I really care about people and this job allows me to care for others. As a non-traditional student, I wasn’t sure if I would be cut out for campus living but I love it so much,” she said. She also works as an Office Manager in the Office of Student Life. She loves the job; interacting with students, faculty and staff.

Some of her favorite memories here are when she gets to walk a prospective student to Admissions and they begin the Westminster tour and experience. “I get really excited knowing that someone is about to have an experience of a life time,” she said.

Being at Westminster helped Robin become a huge part of who she is today: “I embrace the college’s campus wide learning goals as they are goals that can be used for the rest of my life. My professors told me I would be successful and I am.  I enjoy being a part of a community that supports me in all aspects of my life. I feel safe in my classes and I feel challenged daily as a student here. I have been able to challenge others also including professors and it has only increased my learning. I am so proud to be a student here. I am so proud to become an Alum and a Legacy.”

After graduation, Robin will be attending graduate school and pursuing a Master’s of Social Work. She plans to follow that up with a Ph.D. in an area of her choosing. She is getting acceptances now and this time next year, she will be in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, New York or Vermont. “This is very exciting for me as I never saw myself as a college graduate at all,” she said.


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