Riley Larkin Fitz ’24 | Chair of the Board Scholar

A photo of Riley Larkin Fitz wearing a cap and cords.

“Becoming involved in this community was an easy decision because while you do so much as a student leader, the community gives so much back to you in return.”



  • Chemistry (B.A.)
  • Political Science (B.A.)
  • 4PLUS Environmental Biology Program (B.A., M.S.)


  • Chemistry & Physics
  • Political Science

Riley Larkin Fitz ’24 is a recipient of the prestigious Chair of the Board Scholarship. Originally from Frenchtown, New Jersey, Fitz served as SGA president and is a member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon (Chemistry), Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science), Ionic Society, Mortar Board and Phi Kappa Phi. A double major in chemistry and political science, Fitz will also complete an M.S. in environmental biology as part of the 4PLUS dual-degree program. As she prepares for graduation, Fitz looks back on her first/node/5836 four years at Hood and discusses her plans for the future.

What academic and extracurricular activities have you been involved with as a Hood student?

I began my involvement with student life almost as soon as I stepped foot on campus, serving on SGA since my first semester. Now, as the SGA president, I would like to think that I have reinvigorated and strengthened SGA’s role on campus and inspired more collaborative efforts between student clubs and leaders, including those within SGA. We have also created several new committees within SGA, like the Food Committee and Residence Life Committee, so that our students can more efficiently and successfully advocate for their needs to administration and staff. Beyond my role as a student leader, I have been involved in clubs like HEAT, Musical Theater and Choir. As far as my academic involvements go, I have been lucky to double minor in chemistry and political science, participate in departmental honors and intern at several institutions during my undergraduate career; these institutions include NJ Department of Fish and Wildlife in the Freshwater Fisheries Division, NJ Water Supply Authority and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, alongside Professor Annis. I was a member of the Honors Program for two years, and I am now a Tischer Scholar or completing my departmental honors research.

Why did you decide to attend Hood College and how did you become interested in your major?

Originally, I discovered Hood when I was recruited for the cross country and track and field team, which I ultimately stepped away from, but I was a member of that team for about two years and am forever grateful for the sport that brought me to Hood. I always knew I wanted to protect the environment, as I was raised vegetarian and have been vegan for the past five years. I also grew up along the Delaware River and, therefore, learned to appreciate the water’s natural beauty and the incredible life that it supported. After taking an environmental science course in high school, I was giddy to explore the world of environmental science. Naturally, I received the senior superlative for most environmentally conscious. I also gravitated toward law/policy and have always considered becoming an environmental attorney, which is something I am still very much considering, especially after the urging of my law professor, Professor Judson.

How has receiving the Chair of Board Scholarship benefited you?

This scholarship has made a lot possible for me. If it was not for this scholarship, I would most likely not have attended this institution. However, considering I will be staying here another year to finish out my M.S., it is safe to say that coming here was absolutely the right decision for me. The faculty, staff and administration have been a great support system for me, both as a student and a leader. Additionally, the friendships I have made here are priceless to me. The COB Scholarship has given me several opportunities to personally meet many members of the Board of Associates and Board of Trustees. As a COB Scholar, I have volunteered at many admission events. Also, I served as an honorary member of the Alumni Executive Board (AEB) during my last year here. Finally, the COB Scholarship guarantees a $2,000 research stipend, which has provided necessary materials for my departmental honors and independent research project.

What has been a challenge you faced during your time at Hood and how did you overcome this obstacle?

I would say the most challenging experience at Hood was during the fall semester of my sophomore year. It was during that time that I made the very difficult decision to step away from collegiate athletics. I never imagined “quitting” running, but my mental health had overtaken so much of the sport I once loved that resentment began to build. Forcing myself through the season wasn’t the answer because I knew if I kept pushing that I would lose running forever. Again, this decision did not come easily. I felt so much guilt for leaving the very reason that I was brought to Hood in the first place. Even though I knew it was the right decision, it did not make the choice to step away any less difficult, but it was a step I needed to take. I am grateful for my incredible mother, sister and friends who supported me through that period of my life. I am better now, thanks to them and their support.

What is your proudest achievement during your time at Hood?

 My work as a student leader is most definitely my proudest accomplishment here. Finally, I’m grateful to continue contributing and giving back to the Hood community as a graduate student here next year! 

What are your plans for after graduation?

Next year, I will be working towards my M.S. in Environmental biology, thanks to the 4PLUS program here, and I will be spending my summer with the USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) assessing the biological controls for invasive weeds.

Do you have any advice to offer newly admitted Hood students?

Becoming involved in this community was an easy decision because while you do so much as a student leader, the community gives so much back to you in return. That would be my advice for incoming students!