Senior Profile: Ariel Horton '21

May 21, 2021

Ariel HortonWhether writing, acting, or creating community, Ariel Horton ’21 thrived at Whittier College.

Horton kept busy, whether writing enough creative work to fill several books, studying poetry abroad in Mexico, performing on the stage, interning on campus, or volunteering her time and energy to support the LGBTQ+ community. Looking ahead, she’s secured a marketing internship with Mercy Corps, a humanitarian non-profit, and plans to later earn a master of fine arts in acting.

Hometown: Born in Pasadena, CA; grew up in Las Vegas, NV
Majors: English (Creative Writing) and Theatre (Performance)
On-campus Activities/Involvement:
I performed in lots of shows in the Theatre Department. I have been in Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) since my sophomore year, and I served as president for my last semester. I am also in Alpha Psi Omega (Theatre Honor Society). I was a member of TOBGLAD for three years, and treasurer for one year.
Experiential Activities:
I worked as a writer and copy editor for the Office of Communications until my last semester, when I was the PR Intern for the Office of Equity and Inclusion. I also volunteered with Whittier community members on the Gateway Cities LGBTQ+ Center Founders Circle, where I helped facilitate events and fundraisers for the Whittier LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Prof. Tony Barnstone's "Writing Poetry in Mexico" Jan Term, and I served as a preceptor for two of Tony's poetry writing workshops. Beyond Whittier, I just finished up a year-long writing and social media internship with virtual startup company Riveter, and I will be starting a new brand marketing/social media internship with Mercy Corps this summer!
Most unusual thing you did at Whittier College: Had my club protested by the Westboro Baptist Church and spoke at a counter-demonstration.
What accomplishment (during your time at WC) are you most proud of?
I am so proud of making it to the finals for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Favorite class: Writing Poetry in Mexico!
Most challenging class taken: Critical Procedures in English Language and Literature with Prof. Michelle Chihara (also one of the most interesting and rewarding classes I took!)
Best thing about being a Theatre major: Performing was my first passion, and it will always be a huge part of who I am. My theatre major allowed me to tell dozens of stories, develop my acting craft, and share the stage with some incredibly talented people. Beyond growing as a performer, I learned so much about theatre from a sociocultural lens and came to understand how theatre is a reflection of (and a vessel for) social change. I don't know that I would have had such a multidisciplinary approach to theatre at any other school. 

Best thing about being an English major: My classes gave me the space to write a full-length play, a dozen short stories, and enough poems to fill a few books. My Creative Writing major pushed me to create more than I ever would have on my own, and I am so fortunate to say that much of the work I did in my classes has been published and even won some awards here and there. I'm so grateful for all the opportunities and support I got from the English department! Not to mention, half of my homework was reading good books and poems. What better way to spend my time?
Most interesting thing you learned as an intern in the Office of Equity and Inclusion: I learned so much about how the College can connect with and offer support to diverse student communities at Whittier.
Advice you’d give your first-year self: If you reach out to others, they will reach back to you. You're not alone; you'll find your people soon.
Plans after graduation: I'll be keeping busy this year. Right now, I am working at a coffee shop, starting an internship with Mercy Corps, and pursuing acting in my free time. I plan to apply to Acting MFA programs next year.
Ultimate career goal: I want to be an actor. It's a lofty goal, but I'm a lofty dreamer.