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Incoming Students Get Advice from Academic Leaders, Peers

August 31, 2011 – Life at Georgetown is an academic, spiritual and personal evolution, the keynote speaker told more than 1,700 students at the New Student Convocation Tuesday night.

“The education here is designed to change you, to make you something more than – fuller than – you are now,” said Rev. Matthew Carnes, S.J., an assistant professor of government. “If you leave here in four years unchanged, you will have failed your Georgetown education.”

Carnes is the 2011 recipient of the Dorothy Brown Award for Outstanding Teaching, a distinction that carries with it the opportunity to give the faculty address at convocation.

The students included 1,624 incoming freshmen, 145 transfer students and two visiting students from Georgetown’s campus in Doha, Qatar.

Outstanding Undergraduate

Wardah Athar (C’13), winner of the 2011 McTighe Prize, welcomed the incoming class on behalf of the current student body.

Every year the McTighe Prize winner, an outstanding undergraduate who has demonstrated excellence in scholarship and service to Georgetown and the community, addresses incoming students at convocation.

Athar, who came to Georgetown from Saudi Arabia, changed her academic plans after a summer working as a research assistant in the neuroscience lab of Maria Donoghue, an assistant professor of biology.

Substantive Work

The junior realized she loved the research so much she decided to change her major from biology to neurobiology with plans to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. after graduation.

“The implications of this realization that I could do real, substantive work that would yield tangible results were profound,” said Athar, who is also completing Georgetown’s Undergraduate Certificate in Muslim-Christian Relations. “That experience was so powerful that it literally changed my life.”

Transforming the World

President John J. DeGioia also spoke at the annual event.

“We have a belief in the potential for transformation,” he said. “First in the transformation of ourselves, that we can go beyond our current way of being and thinking. …We also believe in the transformation of our world … that we can be the seeds of love, of hope, of understanding.”

Transfer student Lorena Lenth (B’14) says she’s well aware of that potential.

“It definitely feels transformational,” she said starting her academic career at Georgetown. “I’ve never been immersed in a tradition that’s so extensive … so it feels special.”

 

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