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An interview with Irène Mathieu '09

I was attracted to its size, location, and academic excellence, but the Murray Scholars Program set the College apart for me
Why did you choose William & Mary?

I was attracted to its size, location, and academic excellence, but the Murray Scholars Program set the College apart for me. In addition to the tuition scholarship, the program offered me lots of resources to which I would not necessarily be entitled at another elite college.

Has the Murray Scholars Program delivered on all its promises?

Yes. I have met distinguished guests to the College, like a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a Supreme Court Justice and the Prince of Jordan. I enjoyed perks like priority course registration-the huge significance of which I didn't realize until I came to college-and close mentoring from professors who are highly respected in their fields. Plus the scholarship fosters a close-knit, intellectual community of students and professors from which I've benefited immeasurably.

What's an example of a scholarly project that you've been involved in?

I was accepted into the Student Organization for Sustainability and Medical Outreach, a team of students that travels to the Dominican Republic each year to set up a free medical clinic and conduct ethnographic research. With our research we hope to effect significant change in a small community outside of Santo Domingo. I've done both field research in the Dominican Republic and scholarly research here at the College on the issues facing that community-access to clean drinking water, sanitation, and public health care.

I hope to use my education to improve the world and touch communities, and my experience in this program has instilled greater confidence and motivation to this end
What on-campus programs have enriched your experience as a Murray Scholar?

I am on the Multicultural Ambassador Council, a student group that works with the admission office to increase the diversity of the W&M applicant pool and student body. I live in the Mosaic House, a special interest residence emphasizing diversity and cultural exchange. And I keep up my piano playing. One of the most impressive things about a small college of high academic caliber is the feasibility of participating in a range of activities. I've never taken a theater class here, but still I acted in the College's mainstage production of the South Asian epic The Ramayana last semester.

What makes being a Murray Scholar special?

The generosity that started this program has broadened my horizons. I've learned from fellow scholars and professors, from the Murrays and other inspiring people I've met through this program. Being a Murray has spurred me even further to pursue my goals of giving back. I hope to use my education to improve the world and touch communities, and my experience in this program has instilled greater confidence and motivation to this end.

Read more about Irène
Read interviews with other Murray Scholars
Read Irène's blog about life post-W&M