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Meet Claire Smrt: Our September Leading Woman

Name: Claire Smrt

Major: Journalism with minors in Spanish and Constitutional Democracy

Hometown: Lenexa, KS

What are your career/life goals?

I want to work in communications for a governmental organization or a non-profit. I would also like to continue my education by going to law school.

What are you involved in at Mizzou?

Ambassador for the Honors College, Scholarship Director for Kappa Alpha Theta, Volunteer for Refugee and Immigration Services

What were your responsibilities at NASA?

I worked in the History Division at NASA, which is part of their Office of Communications. I wrote social media posts for their Twitter and Facebook accounts. I learned about a historical event, mission, or person, and then distilled what I read into to a short post. I got to spend a lot of time reading about space history and getting lost in the archives- which I loved.

This summer was special because it was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. I learned so many interesting and fun details about the mission. I also helped at the 3-day Apollo 50th festival on the National Mall. It was amazing to see the curiosity and passion many people have for space exploration at the festival. I think the desire to explore is one of the things that unites us as humans, and I enjoyed seeing both older and younger generations get excited about the future of space exploration.

How has this experience changed you?

This experience has expanded my ideas for potential careers. I enjoyed seeing the intersection between science and the humanities in the jobs at NASA. STEM and humanities are often mentioned as different disciplines for different types of people, but at NASA, I have seen that the two disciplines work hand in hand, and both are vital for the success of the organization. I also enjoyed the challenge of writing about science and engineering facts. After this summer, I have a greater sense of confidence in my ability to write about new and unfamiliar topics.

What was your favorite part of your summer?

I was able to spend the summer in Washington DC because of the Kinder Scholars program here at Mizzou. The opportunity to share this experience with other Mizzou students- including 3 other Thetas- made it even more memorable. The summer was filled with so many new adventures. From spending the weekends exploring the city to a last minute bus trip to New York City, every memory was even more special because of the company.

Tell us about why you chose your major?

I chose Strategic Communication because I am passionate about the role effective communication can play within organizations, between cultures, and in society at large.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about learning. I’ve always loved going to school, and I appreciate the opportunity I have to get a college education here at Mizzou. While I am passionate about formal education, I also think the time we spend exploring what we’re curious about influences us. I believe that all of the books I’ve read and places I have visited have made me a better and more empathetic person… and I know I still have so much more to learn!

What does Theta mean to you?

When I think of Theta, I think of a conversation that I don’t want to end. There are so many occasions that I will have to force myself to leave a conversation (or risk being late to class or a meeting) because I’ll lose track of time talking to a sister about something that we’re interested in. Each woman in this chapter has a distinct perspective and point of view. These conversations have inspired me, challenged me, and shaped me. I know these women will continue to impact my life beyond these 4 years. Theta feels the most like home in moments when we are simply being present with one another.

Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory?

So many to choose from! I really enjoyed winning homecoming last year because it showed how we can come together to achieve a goal. The excitement around the homecoming season is one of my favorite things about Mizzou.

What do you do in your free time?

I love going for runs on the MKT Trail and being outside. I enjoy spending time with friends, and I'm always happy when I have time to enjoy a good book.

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