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Mohima Sanyal

Murray 1693 Scholar


Oakton, Virginia (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology)

  • Self-Designed Major in Cognitive Science
  • Honors Thesis in Biology - stem cell development
  • Particularly interested in the perspective granted by interdisciplinary studies in organizing health systems and international medical relief
Study Abroad
  • University of Oxford, Hertford College for two terms
  • Studied courses in Brain and Behavioral Sciences
  • Investigated the function and kinetics of a novel cellular filament as part of the JLL Laboratory (under the aegis of the Medical Research Council, Functional Genomics Unit)
  • Elected Secretary of the Oxford University United Nations Association
  • Performed with the Hertford College Choir
Mohima SanyalW&M Involvement
  • Conducting live-imaging stem cell development research in Dr. Matthew Wawersik's laboratory
  • Member of Student Helping Honduras (SHH), team leader and fundraising organizer for the 2012 Winter and 2014 Spring Teams
  • Senior captain of William & Mary Dhamaal Bhangra varsity dance team
  • Chief-of-Staff for WMHSMUN XXV Conference, organizing and managing the largest Model UN conference hosted annually by the W&M International Relations Club
  • W&M Orientation Program (Freshman Orientation Aide), Mosaic House, Health Careers Club, International Relations Club, South Asian Students Association
Recent Honors
  • Co-author, article in peer-reviewed scientific journal: Rules of engagement: Factors that regulate activity-dependent synaptic plasticity during neural network development. The Biological Bulletin, Volume 219, Issue 2
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Dean's List, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board
  • Diplomacy award (Distinguished Delegate) at the London International MUN conference, the largest MUN conference in Europe
Mohima SanyalWhat I Did Last Summer

Conducted live-imaging research as part of the MRC at the University of Oxford, investigating the principal functions and dynamics of cytoophidia (a novel cellular organelle/filament) during Drosophila melanogaster development.

My "1693 Project"

Honors Thesis: Live-imaging studies of stem cell development in the testis of Drosophila melanogaster

Future Goals
  • Earning a degree in medicine with a focus on public health
  • Finding and implementing environmentally and culturally informed medical solutions throughout the world, especially in disenfranchised and impoverished communities
Why W&M

My journey to W&M was led by my gut, and has since been crowned by my mind as my best decision yet. When considering where I wanted to go, I decided I needed a place that would help me grow and explore most, both as a person and as a student. And since I'd attended several similar "Pre-Frosh Weekends" around the country, I decided to just relax and think about the place that impressed me even when it wasn't trying: William & Mary. I'd made a visceral connection with the school through the students. Despite the pressure to prove myself for this scholarship, the things I remembered most were winning a round of ultimate Frisbee, climbing the roof by Lake Matoaka and talking about life and our futures late into the night. Essentially, any time I got to know the students as people, the experience stuck with me. The W&M community experience intensified my resolve to engage with my world and attend to my callings.


When it came time to choose, what stayed with me was the idea that the students here are so deeply independent and true to what they believe matters. Other schools may also have great alumni networks, but W&M's network sets the standard because its current students know how to help each other. And being in that milieu makes all the difference during the years of discovery in college.

Other Activities

While attending a Model UN conference in London, Mohima had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Chan, founder of He recognized her as Chief-of-Staff for the W&M High School MUN conference, and expressed that sponsors from both the East and West Coasts [of the US] had said WMHSMUN XXV was the best high school Model UN conference that year – "the best in a long line of excellence from William and Mary."

Mohima was publicly recognized in the Video Inauguration of La Nunez School, which she fundraised for and helped build in Honduras. Shin Fujiyama, co-founder and Director of CECI (the parent NGO of Students Helping Honduras), thanked her and her family for their contributions to the successful project, and created a second video at the inauguration specifically to acknowledge Mohima's passion for helping Honduras.