Magazine On-line [summer 2009]
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2009 Graduates Head to Interesting and Prestigious Destinations

Harvard University, Emory University, and the French Ministry of Education are among the prestigious organizations associated with the graduate plans of members of the class of 2009.

Katharin ShawKatharin Shaw (left), a biology and chemistry double major from Virginia Beach, Va., will begin the Ph.D. program in chemical biology at Harvard University this fall.

Shaw spent the summer after her junior year in the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program at Harvard, an experience that both helped her choose Harvard over Johns Hopkins University for her graduate studies and sealed her career decision to be primarily a researcher, with perhaps a little teaching.

“The summer program was located at Harvard’s medical school, and I worked under a chemical biologist,” Shaw said. “It was my first intensive experience of the day-to-day life in a science lab. I ran experiments all day, talked with my adviser, and tried to interpret the data. She helped me think about the nature of science and the steps scientists take in investigating problems.”

Her anthropology minor opened Shaw’s eyes to the connections between science and culture that may play a role in her career.

“There’s a lot of interesting things going on with researching the therapeutic applications of medicinal plants, such as those being found in the Amazon,” Shaw said. “I would love it if the work I do later on would have ties between anthropology and chemistry and biology.”

Whatever her exact career turns out to be, Shaw feels her Transylvania education prepared her well to fulfill her goal of being a life-long learner.

“I want to be in a place where I won’t stop learning, and research is like that. New things happen every day. It’s amazing to live at the frontier, the cutting edge of science.”

Marshall JollyMarshall Jolly (right), an American studies major from Paris, Ky., will pursue a master of divinity at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta this fall. He was awarded a full honors scholarship for the three-year program, where his focus will be American church history and Anglican studies.

With a passion for the history of religion, Jolly designed his major at Transylvania in hopes of pursuing a Ph.D. in church history, or entering the priesthood.

“This is a path I feel led to follow,” he said, although he has not yet decided which direction he will take on that path when his master’s work is complete.

A member of the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, he was also co-coordinator of the Transylvania Episcopal Fellowship, an organization dedicated to providing the Transy community with an open and inviting worship experience. He worked with the Diocese of Lexington and local clergy to organize services on campus.

“Our goal was not to be a religious organization,” he said, “but to create a space for people to come together and enjoy one another’s company.”

As he reflects on his time at Transy and looks forward to entering the theology program at Emory, Jolly describes his outlook as one of cautious optimism.

“There’s the thrill of moving to a new place,” he said, “but as I look forward to forming new friendships, I feel nostalgia for the old ones. I hope my group of friends and I will maintain our connections.”

Marci Cornett and Mariam Hanna will be in France this fall at the invitation of the French Ministry of Education, Cultural Services, Embassy of France, which offered both Transy graduates teaching assistantships.

Marci CornettCornett (left), a French major and English minor from Henderson, Ky., will be in Rouen, teaching English to students she hopes will be in the eight-to-11-year-old range. She has also requested to teach English literature. She looks on the assistantship as an excellent opportunity to sharpen her French language skills.

“I think you actually have to live in a place and use the language for survival in order to become truly fluent,” she said.

“In that sense, I hope to learn from my students.”

Cornett lived and studied outside the country twice during her Transy years, experiences that helped her prepare for her latest role. She studied for a term at Regents College in London during her sophomore year, then spent May term in Montreal with a French class taught by French professor Brian Arganbright.

She looks on her coming year in France as a chance to reflect on what path she wants to take in life.

“I know that I want to work with literature, and that probably means being a professor at a university,” she said.

Mariam HannaHanna (right), a biology and French double major from Lexington, will be in Grenoble and will teach either English or science. She plans to attend medical school after this one-year assistantship and possibly another year in a Fulbright program.

“I have an interest in global health,” she said. “I feel like working with kids and your peers and being in a different culture gives you a leg up to pursue something like global healthcare.”

Hanna, whose parents are originally from Egypt, is a first-generation American in her family and has an international perspective on life. She speaks four languages—English, French, Spanish, and Arabic—and already has two summer research experiences to her credit, in Germany and France. She also took part in the May term French class trip to Montreal.

“What is making me most excited about this assistantship opportunity in France is that it will be a culmination of everything for me, of both of my majors,” she said.

“All of my hard work is coming together in this one experience. To teach and work with a younger generation, and to learn from them, will help me in the future.

“I never limit myself. If I did, I wouldn’t have been abroad three times already and now have this wonderful opportunity in France.”

Back to Commencement 2009

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