Senior is far from home, but not quite

Political science major began as ASWSU court clerk during first year at WSU; became elected chief justice for spring 2020 despite COVID-19

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COURTESY OF ALLY CARNEY

Ally Carney, senior political science major, finds support from her father to tackle goals outside of her comfort zone.

SANDI KOBIESA, Managing editor

Growing up in Alaska, one graduating senior had no idea where she would end up, but knew it would be far away from home.

Ally Carney, senior political science major and economics minor, came to WSU her freshman year in hopes of studying in pre-law.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why’d you choose WSU?’ because it’s crazy far from Alaska,” Carney said. “They have an amazing pre-law track, but WSU is so welcoming and homey.”

Carney graduated high school with 12 AP classes, which were equal to about 40 credits. WSU accepted all of the credits, so she only had two and a half years left to finish her bachelor’s degree, Carney said.

Carney became involved with ASWSU during her first year of school and was the first official court clerk for ASWSU. She gained experience taking meeting minutes, filing, organizing and reorganizing old case files and digitizing them, she said.

“I joined the ASWSU judicial board as justice in my second year of school,” Carney said. “The board voted and appointed me as deputy justice, meaning once the chief justice retired, I’d take their place.”

Carney was only able to act as chief justice one semester during spring 2020. With COVID-19, the judicial process was significantly more difficult for everyone in ASWSU, but Carney said she believes they were able to rise above the challenges.

“My favorite thing about the program is the camaraderie,” Carney said. “I was first so timid and shy, but all the other justices were so welcoming, that I opened up and felt like I belonged.”

To keep herself motivated throughout school, Carney would remind herself about the most inspiring person she knows – her future self.

“It’s what gets me out of bed in the mornings, kicks my butt when I’m slacking,” Carney said. “The image of who I could be in the future pushes me to strive for greatness.”

Carney’s parents were also an inspiration to her, especially her father, Ralph Carney. He pushed her to be successful and to work towards what she really wanted, she said.

“I would say that Ally is a combination of independence, tenacity and extreme focus,” Ralph said. “She totally rocked her grades in high school, and she rocked her college career.”

Whether it was hanging out with her friends at Flix Cafe or attending WSU football games, Carney kept busy with friends and classes. She said during one game last fall, which WSU won, she stood up and shouted ‘Go Cougs!’ A group of students and alumni yelled it back to her.

Carney joined the United Nations organization, U.S. Women Connect, last year. She was supposed to attend a conference in March 2020 in New York City, but due to COVID-19, the program was halted. She remains hopeful for the future, Carney said.

Carney said she may have spent her time having fun and being involved at WSU, but she warns incoming freshmen to be wary of spreading themselves too thin.

“It’s okay to say no to activities. You may be able to handle them at first, but the later in the semester, the more things happen,” Carney said. “Make time to be social and live life, but you can’t live life without ever relaxing.”