Summer 2009: Commencement 2009

Monique Dorsainvil on stage at Commencement.

Monique Dorsainvil

Bryan Meltz

Broadening Her Mind

McMullan award winner Monique Dorsainvil

Thailand, India, Tanzania, Ethiopa, Haiti—they may not top most lists of vacation hotspots, but apparently luxury travel is not what Monique Dorsainvil 09C had in mind.

A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, she spent a summer in Thailand to study the transgender Kathoey culture. As a sophomore, she traveled to Pune, India, to volunteer with the Ashraya Initiative for Children (founded by Elizabeth Sholtys 07C). She’s traveled with the Emory Development Institute to Tanzania and Ethiopia as an intern. And last summer, she went with her thesis adviser to Haiti, the home country of her maternal grandparents.

“Emory really throws you in there and gives you mind-blowing opportunities. I’ve done things here I never dreamed of,” she says.

Those things helped earn Dorsainvil the 2009 Lucius Lamar McMullan Award, one of Emory’s highest student honors, which also comes with $20,000—no strings attached. “I am extremely grateful, thankful, and humbled all in the same breath,” says Dorsainvil, a women’s studies major and global health minor.

Dorsainvil is donating a portion of the award to the Tiana Angelique Notice Foundation, an organization founded by Sasha Smith, assistant director of the Center for Women at Emory, after the murder of her younger sister. The namesake foundation seeks to prevent domestic and intimate partner violence.

In addition to saving up for graduate school, Dorsainvil, an Emory scholar, also plans to start college savings accounts for her two younger brothers. “I believe that education is one of the most liberating and enabling gifts that can be given,” says Dorsainvil. “With the education I have, I really feel like I can do anything now.”

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