Megha Fernandes ′16

Hometown: New Orleans
Major: Political Science

Research interests: I am very interested in how accessibility to a musical and artistic environment impacts a student′s performance, and how to make sure students across the country and world have access to this kind of environment.

Extracurricular activities: CODA fellow, Rhodes Ambassadors, chair of the Events Management Committee, the Common Table, Peer Assistant Leader, Chi Omega Fraternity

Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.

When I was looking at colleges, I knew that I would not go to a school in the South, could never go to a school with less than 3,000 people, and couldn′t imagine seeing myself at a liberal arts school . . . but, clearly, all of that changed when I visited Rhodes. I looked at many colleges before I saw Rhodes, and they all seemed to be “the perfect school,” at least on paper. However, after I visited each school, each one left me with more uncertainty than the one before, until I got here. Within 10 minutes of stepping on campus, I knew Rhodes was the right choice for me—I could not only see myself learning the most here, but also growing the most here, which I think has definitely been true throughout my time so far.

How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes?

When I first started at Rhodes, I thought I had all of the time in the world. I always waited until a “better” time to do something, thinking that there was a perfect time to do specific things. I′ve since discovered that in life, there isn′t a “perfect” time to do anything and that the best time is the time you have in front of you. In reality, it′s the only time we really have.

You spent your summer internship working in the Office of the Vice President at the White House. What did that job entail?

I was the intern in Vice President Joe Biden’s Advance Office. I helped my supervisors coordinate the logistics for all of the vice president’s trips and events. This included ensuring that all the guests and necessary equipment were in place for speaking events in the White House, working with various White House agencies, making sure that the vice president′s travel on Air Force 2 and in the motorcade between event locations was planned to run smoothly, and managing a range of travel details for all of the office’s traveling staff. Even though I was in the Advance Office, I had the chance to work closely with the offices of Scheduling, Communications, Correspondence, Dr. Jill Biden, and the Chief of Staff. It was very interesting to see how these offices, each with their own responsibilities, interacted with one another and worked together to achieve one central goal.

How has your internship experience impacted your study at Rhodes?

I′ve known that I have wanted to work in the White House since I was 14 years old, but I was always pressured to take a different route: becoming a doctor. Because of this pressure, I started Rhodes as a biology major on the pre-med track, and since my heart was not in it, I was miserable. I decided to apply for the White House internship, knowing that if I got it, I would be one step closer to my actual goal and could prove to myself and my family that I could find success in doing what I love. After participating in the internship, I now realize that I will only be successful if I do what I am passionate about and have since changed my academic path to continue to work towards my dream.

How do you think Rhodes will help you achieve your goals for the future?

I would sound very generic in saying that it′s the small, tight-knit Rhodes community that will help me achieve my future goals, but I believe that′s just it. The professors at Rhodes, not just my current ones, but my past and future ones, would never turn down an opportunity to help me accomplish my goals and are more than willing and excited to help in any way, much like the students here. Everyone is really academically competitive, but at the same time, everyone’s ready to cheer on every member of our community, as well. This kind of atmosphere is exactly why I ended up choosing a small, Southern, liberal arts school, and every day, I am so thankful that I did.