- Major: Spanish and Communication Studies
- Hometown: Rock Hill, SC
Whitney Maness follows in the footsteps of her parents (both educators) in her desire to contribute to the local community. Like them, Whitney believes that increasing global fluency- the study and practice of foreign languages in order to build empathy, sensitivity and understanding of cross-cultural interactions – is paramount in dealing with current world affairs. She applies her skills as a Spanish and Communications major to understand social reality and to contribute to its betterment.
Whitney represents well the ideal Furman Advantage student for her involvement and willingness to go a step beyond her academic endeavors. Whitney has been involved with MLL and the Spanish-speaking community both locally and globally. The summer following her freshman year, she did an internship in her hometown to inform Hispanic parents about academic opportunities available to their children. She has worked with several local non-profits (including the Frazee Dream Center and Neighborhood Focus). A participant in MLL’s 2018 Fall in Madrid program, Whitney engaged the host culture by playing on a Spanish volleyball team. Most recently, she worked with fellow Spanish-Communications major Marina Cox as Dr. Sofía Kearns’ summer research fellow for her project on oral histories of Colombians involved in the Greenville textile industry since the late 1960s. A trip to Medellín, Colombia allowed her to expand her knowledge of Hispanic cultures and of her field of Communications by seeing the place of origin of most Colombians in Greenville, and the transformation of this city from drug cartels home in the 1980s and 1990s to the vibrant city that it is today. After completing a documentary workshop in Medellín, she is considering other career paths, including film and documentary production.
In 2018 Whitney advocated publicly for the benefits of bilingualism in an OpEd piece entitled “What’s So Un-American About Being Bilingual?” Published in The Greenville News, this piece was an assignment for her May X 2018 course with Dr. Stephanie Knouse.
In March 2019 Whitney was named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, one of 262 students chosen from 41 states, Washington, D.C., Mexico and Greece. This honor recognizes her qualities as a public-problem solver and her civic engagement in higher education.
In her own words...
“This is what it means to experience the Furman Advantage, whenever I had a minute to stop and think in Medellín, I couldn’t help but think, “How on earth did I manage to be here, doing what I love doing, perfectly merging both of my majors, learning so much, and with some of the best views I’ve seen in my life? Without even paying for most of it?!!!” There’s no way I would have had that kind of opportunity at any other university. So, thank you, thank you!”