Clare Fletcher

Class Year: 

2013
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

School: 

Cheyenne Mountain High School

Language: 

Chinese (Mandarin)

Leading Up to Huntsman

Clare grew up in a military family that moved around between England, Japan, Germany, and America.  This background led to an early attraction to languages. She studied German and Spanish in high school and chose to pursue Chinese (starting from scratch) as her target language in the Huntsman Program. She was strong quantitatively but also wanted to find a place for her undergraduate studies where she could pursue a combination of her creative and quantitative interests. This, along with the Huntsman’s language component, became a leading factor in her decision to choose the Huntsman Program over other options.

Additionally, Clare wanted to find a program that would match her extracurricular activities. She had been the editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, participated in DECA, and had been president of the local community service group STAH, Students and Teachers Aiding Humanity. She had also founded the Political Activism Club, a club whose aim was to combine the Young Republican and Young Democrats Club to form one non-partisan group. Clare had taken all possible language courses at her high school, and thus, enrolled in German and Spanish language and literature courses at the University of Colorado. At her high school, Clare was known as the “language kid,” but once in the Huntsman Program, she quickly realized she was only one of many language kids.

Involved at Penn

Clare continues to be very active at Penn. As a freshman, she was part of the Social Impact Consulting club where she worked with lawyers to advise the CEO of a local for-profit organization on how to operate as a non-profit, including organizing the legal steps and creating a budget analysis. She is President of Careers in the Wharton China Business Society where she organizes internships and career-focused events for members. She co-founded, along with another Huntsman student, the Rotaract Club at Penn; it is the college version of Rotary International, a worldwide professional development and community service organization. One of the more exciting activities in which Clare participates is the West Philly Swingers. “Swing dancing has transformed my life. Wherever I go now, I try to swing dance, whether it be Montreal, Beijing, Hawaii, or South Korea.” Swing dancing has allowed Clare to concentrate on something that is not academic or career-driven. Similar to on-campus Greek society, the club hosts its own parties and even has its own house. While abroad, Clare grouped with the swing dance club in Beijing and represented Tsinghua University at a foreign students’ gala in Hangzhou. The dance performance was later aired on Chinese television.

Clare studied abroad in Beijing, and since this was her second time in the city after receiving a language grant to study there during her freshman summer, she took this second opportunity to fully immerse herself in the culture. She had seen the tourist side of Beijing once, and now she was looking forward to acting a little more like a local and to interacting in a more genuinely Chinese fashion. She found the program very challenging and believes her hard work paid off in the end, her language skills improving significantly. While abroad she worked as a counselor for Model UN, taught public speaking skills to Chinese students, and she joined the Beijing Rotaract Club where she volunteered at nursing homes and orphanages in China. She also traveled while abroad, visiting the Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai, and South Korea.

Looking Ahead

Last summer, Clare worked at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. She performed research on think tanks and co-wrote an article with her mentor, which was later published in the State Department’s Diplomatic Courier magazine. This coming summer, Clare will be working at GlaxoSmithKline in the Research and Development department. She is looking forward to working in procurement, which is related to her joint concentration at Wharton in Marketing and Operations Management. Clare is looking forward to future job prospects with global companies or with the United States government. The Foreign Service and national security organizations have always captured her interest because she is very patriotic but simultaneously wants to continue learning from others all around the world.