As a fourth generation Emory & Henry student, Mary Grace has served the college community as a leader and a student.
Mary Grace was a fourth generation Emory & Henry student from Boones Mill, VA. who majored in Chemistry. She is now attending the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill, NC to pursue a doctorate of pharmacy. Her Senior Honors Thesis involved analyzing water samples from sites along the three forks of the Holston River and testing them for the presence of triclosan. The purpose of the research was to find whether or not triclosan is present in surface waters in the Southwest Virginia area.
In addition to being in the Honors Program, Mary Grace was the Vice President of Student Government, President of the Emory Activities Board, President of Delta Omicron Pi social sorority, and a member of Cardinal Key Honor Society. She was also extremely involved with the Orientation Program from serving as a volunteer orientation leader after her freshman year to eventually serving as the Student Chair of Orientation Programs. Mary Grace said, “I had so many amazing experiences in my time [at Emory, but if I were] to pick just one favorite memory of Emory & Henry, it would be the moment when Fall 2014 Orientation finally got started and it was my turn to officially welcome the Class of 2018 to campus.”
As part of the Honors Program experience, we encourage our scholars to partake in various travel opportunities, whether it is going to New York City with their cohort or study abroad. Mary Grace was among the first group of students who participated in the first Honors Program sponsored trip to Greece in Spring 2013. She said, “It was my first time out of the country, and I got to see so many incredible, ancient places.” Afterwards, during her junior year, she received the Emily Williams English-Speaking Union Scholarship and was able to study at the University of Cambridge for two weeks in the summer. While there, she studied the early stages of pharmaceutical drug discovery and the immune system.
We believe the best way to learn about our Honors Program is from our students. Therefore, we used this opportunity to ask Mary Grace some questions that you may have been wondering.
Q: Was Emory & Henry your first choice of colleges? If not, what made you stay here? If so, explain why Emory & Henry seemed special enough to attend.
A: Emory & Henry was the only college I applied to. I'm the fourth generation to attend the school on my dad's side of the family and both of my parents and my stepmom are all alumni. I've been around Emory my entire life, essentially. So of course I was dead set against coming here for a long time. My junior year of high school I decided to give Emory a chance, scheduled an official visit, and absolutely fell in love! I love the whole E&H community and how close-knit it can be. Even before I became a student, I could tell that Emory was a very unique place that I could see as my home.
Q: How did your involvement in the Honors Program influence your overall experience at Emory & Henry?
A: I think my involvement in the Honors Program helped me to get started on the right foot my freshman year. A lot of my first friends here were in my cohort, so I had at least one class with people I considered myself close with. Since then, the program gave me room to grow and figure things out about myself and to gain skills I wouldn't have had otherwise, not to mention that being a part of the Honors Program was one of the main factors in my choice to go on the study-abroad trip to Greece and start to learn more about the world!
Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of being in the Honors Program?
A: The most rewarding aspect of being in the Honors Program was the multitude of opportunities you are given to study things that interest you or are outside your normal set of studies. For example, one of my honors contracts was for Physical Chemistry II. I spent one day a week every week of the semester trying to help the professor figure out what was wrong with our old NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) machine and fix it. This piece of equipment was fairly old, so I had to learn a lot as we went along by reading through old user manuals, finding schematic diagrams for certain circuit boards, repairing charred pieces of circuit board that had been damaged in an electrical short, and trying to tune the instrument once it was in running condition again. Who knew a chemistry student would ever need to learn to solder resistors into a circuit board?
Q: Would you change anything about your Honors Experience? Details?
A: If there was one thing I would change about the honors program experience, it would be to foster more communication between cohorts. Students within each cohort tend to develop a culture of their own when they are in class together which translates outside of the classroom for some cohorts but not for others. This classroom culture is different for each group of students, but it can be hard to get this kind of interaction with the people in other cohorts. It would have been nice to know a little bit more about the honors students who were younger than I, but at the same time, Honors work gets much more independent the longer you are in the program.