Courtney Hooks ’23: Gaining leadership skills at CMC

Courtney Hooks ’23 sits on a bench on campus, facing Gann Quadrangle.
February 7, 2022

Courtney Hooks ’23

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Major: Biology

  • Office of Black Student Affairs
  • CWPD Writing Head Consultant
  • Appel Fellow
  • Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Research Fellow
  • Hearhere Journal of Christian Thought
  • UnCommon Good Tutor

One characteristic that Courtney Hooks ’23 immediately noticed about Claremont McKenna College on her first visit was the welcoming atmosphere. “I didn't know much about the culture of the school until I arrived for the first time to the Accepted Students day in April of 2019,” she said. “All of the current students were happy to meet me and went out of their way to answer my questions. It was then that I really saw myself attending CMC.”

Two factors aside from the welcoming campus culture informed her decision to attend CMC. She knew that the small class settings would help her thrive and that the liberal arts curriculum would be a good fit for her wide-ranging curiosity. “I had a large pool of academic interests,” she said.

The extent to which she would discover new passions at CMC, particularly in the area of Middle Eastern Studies, still surprises Hooks. She has taken classes on Middle Eastern Art and History. “My former high school self would be very shocked to find out that I have grown to love this topic of study,” she said, adding that her experience “reinforces the appeal of attending CMC.”

Portrait of Courtney Hooks ’23 at Claremont McKenna College.
A biology major, Courtney Hooks ’23 pursues a wide range of interests at CMC, including Middle Eastern Art and History.

Hooks is the Head Consultant with CMC’s Center for Writing and Public Discourse, holds an Appel fellowship, and participates in clubs and activities, which have helped her stretch herself in a similar way.

“The plethora of opportunities at CMC has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to get involved in activities both familiar and completely new,” she said. “I am also getting a great deal of leadership experience, much more than I would have gotten at a larger school.”

While Hooks’ interests still range wide, her long-term aspirations have already taken a clear direction. She plans to attend graduate school and study biochemistry, with the goal of pursuing a therapeutics industry career in research and development. Eventually, Hooks hopes to “work in a capacity that directly impacts underserved communities in my hometown of Los Angeles, and address disparities in access to life-saving treatments and therapeutics in clinical trials,” she said.



Christina Schweighofer


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