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South Carolina Honors College

Rachel Rizzo

Ask me about… Engineering, undergraduate research, being out of state, and getting involved on campus!

I’m a senior Mechanical Engineering major from Marlton, NJ.  In the future, I plan to attend grad school to further my learning and attempt to quench my thirst for knowledge, as well as own a bulldog named Waffle.  I ultimately hope combine my technical engineering degree and my love of the arts into a rewarding career!


I love: Dogs, ice cream, cannoli, tea, dresses with pockets, and soft pretzels.

Something I will never do: Call a hoagie by any other name.  It is not a sub, it is not a hero, and it is definitely not just a sandwich.  That delicious meat-and-cheese-on-a-long-roll creation deserves an equally wonderful moniker, and only ‘hoagie’ can fulfill that responsibility.

My weakness: Cannoli.  They’re my favorite dessert, and I can’t help but eat one or two or seven at any opportunity I get.

My getaway:  My dream getaway would be to hike the Inca Trails up to Machu Picchu in Peru.  I was fascinated when I learned about the Incan culture in my high school World Cultures class, and the gorgeous pictures of the trails and the Incan citadel that accompanied the lesson solidified my desire to see them in person.

Skill I’d Like to Master: I started taking pottery throwing lessons last year and I love it!  Right now I’m still working on my foundations, but one day, but I’d love to expand my skill into more complex forms and artistic styles.

Advice for prospective students:  Do not feel like you have to be locked into a certain career path as soon as possible.  College, especially the SCHC, is the perfect place to explore and try new things, and forcing yourself onto a road you don’t particularly want to be on will ultimately cause unnecessary stress.  Don’t be afraid to change majors or have a minor in a completely unrelated subject to your major.  At the Honors College, you’ll meet people majoring in Physics and minoring in Theatre and that’s 100% okay.  Just do what you love with determination and enthusiasm and success will come inside and outside of the classroom.

Advice I’d give to current students: Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone to try new things!  As a NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person), I was dead-set against going with my best friend to the USC Club Quidditch team’s first practice.  Eventually, his pestering wore me down and I begrudgingly agreed to go with him to that one practice.  I’m extremely glad I did, because it was a ton of fun and I met some of my closest friends on the field.

My favorite thing about the Honors College:  I love how the SCHC encourages its students to explore all of their interests and not just restrict themselves to major- or career-specific classes and experiences.  I have what other colleges may view as "conflicting interests" in engineering and in the arts.  Instead of coaxing me to choose one or the other, the Honors College and all of its wonderful advisors, mentors, and professors cultivates my diverse interests and inspires me to explore the things I am curious about.