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Male with slightly curly dark hair laughs while a brown-grey monkey clings to his head.

Bane Clements-Smart

Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in Chinese
Class of 2025

“I decided to pursue Sustainability Studies because as the demand for sustainable ways of living and interacting with our environment becomes a more pressing issue, understanding and having experience with implementing these changes is a vital skill.”

Hometown: Kenai, Alaska

Hobbies: Playing soccer, excavating fossils, and playing guitar


  • WVU System Connection Grant
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Go First Scholarship
  • ECAS Academic Enrichment Scholarship (Summer 2023)
  • Office of Global Affairs Scholarship (Summer 2023)
  • A&S Departmental Scholarship (Summer 2023)
  • The summer 2023 scholarships paid for my 8-week study abroad trip based in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
  • Dean and President’s lists.

Extracurriculars: WVU Chinese Club

Interesting Fact: I am a polyglot and speak Korean, Swahili, and Mandarin Chinese.

Q&A with Bane

  • What are your favorite things about being in this major?
    • My favorite aspect of both International & Sustainability Studies is the flexibility. I can choose specific areas of study, such as my security emphasis within the INTS major and GIS methods emphasis in SUST. Even with the ability to choose what I want to focus on studying, I’m still gaining skills that are broadly applicable both within the classroom and my career field.
  • What is the most interesting thing about your major?
    • INTS allows you to explore and analyze the world through a variety of lenses (political, cultural, geographical, etc). SUST allows you to apply these observations in a way that benefits not only you, but the general population as well.
  • Why did you want to pursue this major?
    • I wanted to pursue INTS because I have long held a fascination with the many types of people and systems around the world, and seek to understand global systems. I decided to also pursue SUST because as the demand for sustainable ways of living and interacting with our environment becomes a more pressing issue, understanding and having experience with implementing these changes is a vital skill.
  • How have your professors and/or staff helped you be successful?
    • Professors and staff from both departments have been very supportive throughout the time I’ve spent at WVU. Dr. Christina Fattore from the Department of Political Science is an excellent example; she makes it clear she wants you to succeed, and offers opportunities to make adjustments to assignments and resubmit them, which was very useful in actually understanding when and why I was wrong. My advisors, Kurtis Dennison and Tara Robbins, have both been very loving and patient with the many questions and concerns I’ve had along the way, too.
  • What skills and/or knowledge have you gained that you feel will help you be successful in your future career?
    • I think the ability to analyze a subject/item/person from the perspectives of the many disciplines I’ve been able to study within my majors (foreign policy, languages, philosophy, religion, mathematics, climate, etc.) is a highly useful skill to possess, especially as our world becomes increasingly interconnected.
  • What are your career goals?
    • I plan to work within the field of intelligence, specifically intelligence analysis. However, I am one for keeping my options open, and likely will pursue a PhD in Paleontology, as the research aspect of my educational life has been highly appealing.
  • What is your favorite place on campus?
    • There was a small walled-off area with two chairs on the 1st floor of Stalnaker Hall that was my saving grace while living in a dorm with 3 roommates. For a more well-known spot though, the 4th floor of Hodges Hall is quiet and uncrowded, and I can often be found there doing my work between classes.
  • What is your favorite class and why?
    • I’ve had many classes I took a liking to, though my Chinese classes have been consistently amazing. There’s a sense of familiarity and comfort, and I’ve grown close with both my professors and my classmates (we’ve grown and progressed through the language together!)
  • What experience or class has taught you the most so far?
    • My research-oriented courses, INTS 300 and now SUST 302, have covered the aspects of research that are often overlooked, which has not only provided me the opportunity to practice, but also get good at qualitative research, which to me, is a highly valuable skill and also applicable to just about any subject under the sun.
  • Why did you choose WVU?
    • I was attracted to WVU’s rich study abroad programs. One of my priorities when deciding on a university was the ability to learn and experience things outside of what I’m used to; not only does WVU offer many different destinations for studying abroad (such as an upcoming first-ever trip to Zambia), but also many internal scholarships so that traveling is affordable.
  • What advice would you give to an incoming student in the same major?
    • I’m sure incoming students have heard this over and over, but speaking to your professors (not just emailing to verify due-dates; attend office hours!) is one of the most important opportunities you will have endless access to as a student. Your professors are experts in the field, and can not only provide very useful assistance, but opportunities to get hands-on experience as well. Additionally, it is OKAY to change majors and to also have doubts about what you’re studying. There’s nothing wrong with feeling around and exploring topics you’re interested in; besides, sometimes the subject of interest may not be obvious to you for some time!

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