Meet the Student who Went Viral: An Interview with Anicca Harriot

How did one student’s post put her in the national spotlight, and what type of impact does she hope to make?

A little about Anicca

As a senior studying bio-Physical sciences here at Regent University, Anicca Harriot never thought she’d find herself in the social media limelight. However, after having two of her posts go viral, promising opportunities seem to have sprung up!

On September 2nd, Anicca posted a photo on her twitter that went from a funny post, to a viral trend. Catching the eye of social media users all over the country, her popularity has soared. She’s been interviewed by Buzzfeed and New York Magazine, and has had her story covered by Yahoo News, BET and over a dozen other news sources.

We here at the Daily Runner had the chance to sit down and catch up with this student about her “calculated dab,” and what it’s like to have such a prominent spot in the current social media spotlight.

1. To start, it’s been one week since your “dab” math went viral. What are some of the craziest experiences that you’ve had so far?

“The craziest experience was definitely being interviewed and seeing my face everywhere… The first person to reach out and interview me was Melissa Malone from New York Magazine. She’s the associate editor, and she messaged me on twitter. I was at a dinner party with my mom and I saw the message on my phone and freaked out, and… sat on the front porch for a little while.

Then, a few days ago, the White House reached out to me and asked if I would participate in a panel… That was insane. It’s a panel for producing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) stars, [focusing on] how to get students interested in STEM education.”

2. You’re studying a STEM major here at Regent, a more recent program. Where did your interest in the sciences come from?

I decided when I was nine years old that I wanted to be a doctor and an astronaut. [Although] I want to go into research science for bio-chemistry… My parents were always very supportive of me… That summer I went to biology camp, [and again] for the next two summers, and all throughout high school I had teachers that helped me get internships.”

3. You’ve been covered by Buzzfeed, New York Magazine, Seventeen, BET, Yahoo, etc.; have any of your Regent professors seen your tweet? If so, how did they respond?

“I think at this point, all my professors have… [In class] my physics professor, Dr. Pevarnik, said ‘I hear we have a celebrity in our midst’… That was pretty cool, and it has more people talking about Regent now.”

4. You’ve gotten a lot of positive press, but you’ve also been honest with sharing the hate-speech you’ve received, too. How do you deal with, or rationalize the negativity?

“I think the first part of it is knowing who we are are in God… I’m really fortunate that I came here to Regent, because it has helped me to become more confident in that aspect of who I am. So when you get all of that hate, those people don’t even know who you are, so you can’t really take it personally because it’s people who… just see this one thing about you and they’re responding directly to that.

I try to be really positive about it also. I don’t respond back to them or interact with people who do respond back to them negatively… I shared it so people could see that this type of stuff does happen… and the message that [I] sent was ‘remember to love yourself.'”

5. You’ve gone viral in the past as well, is this something that kind of just happened by accident, or have you been intentional?

“I definitely will say that I’ve tried to keep higher quality content. I still do kind of post weird stuff that [may] happen during the day, but I definitely am intentional about the stuff I post because I know I’m getting more attention now.

The weird thing about this though [is that] the first tweet that went viral, it actually was a lot bigger than this. And I knew exactly when it started going viral… [whereas] with this one, that didn’t really happen. There wasn’t like one huge account that retweeted it, it just sort of gradually kept increasing.

6. Plenty of teachers have been tweeting at you about how they’re planning on or have already used your photos as a template for getting their classes to look at trigonometry. How did this response make you feel? Do you think social media trends like this will be implemented into education in the future?

“That is honestly the best part to me. Going to the White House and D.C. is awesome too, but that [watching teachers implement the tweet in the classroom] is what makes me feel the best.

I want to use social media to reach out to young people about STEM, because I don’t think many young people realize how diverse STEM truly is… and how many young people are heavy involved in it. When you look at where our attention is, we [young people] are not reading the New York Times every day, or scientific journals and scientific updates. People do read them… but there are very few young people who are into those things every day… I think social media is a really great way to reach out and grab someone’s interest, and show them the other things they can get into.

7. A lot of people on campus might just know you as the kid who went viral. How would you shape your own narrative, what is it that you want people to know you for?

“The things that are most important to me is who I am in God, and I want to use the skills God has given me to showcase what He can do for people. What’s [also] important to me is really my passion for science and mentorship, which is cool because this kind of connects with that.”

8. What’s next for you? Do you have any plans for future calculations?

“Well, after I leave Regent, I plan on pursuing my PhD in Bio-Chemistry, so I am looking at some schools in D.C.”


A Leader on Her Campus

Annica is currently finishing up her senior year here at Regent. She serves as a Resident Assistant for campus housing, and upon graduating, plans to attend possibly Georgetown or Rice University. With her strong leadership, and brilliant utilization of modern communication mediums, any school would be lucky have Annica attend.


Philip Reynolds is the Senior Editor for the Daily Runner. 

One thought on “Meet the Student who Went Viral: An Interview with Anicca Harriot

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    September 9, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Wow great interview, loved getting to hear this story….definitely Christian leadership to change the world ….making it happen!!!

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