Foreign Service Calls

As graduation day approached, Aissata Traore ’13 “frantically” applied for so many summer internships that she’d nearly forgotten about the application she’d sent to the U.S. State Department. “One day, I’m in my dorm room taking a nap, and I get a phone call that’s clearly not from America,” she recalled. “They said, ‘We want you to interview for a job in Rwanda.’ ” Traore, who graduated magna cum laude with degrees in international relations and women’s and gender studies, figures it took about four months for her to earn the necessary security clearance to take the internship in the Central African country of Rwanda. She had to explain every stamp in her passport, not an easy task for a world traveler who was born in Moscow while her mother served in the U.S. Navy. She also had to account for every telephone call she’d placed to a foreign country. Since both her parents were born in the West African country of Mali and she still has many family members there, it was a … [Read more...]

Classroom Named in Farmer’s Honor

We still have “mountains to climb and rivers to cross” in the struggle for civil rights, Georgia Sen. Nan Grogan Orrock ’65 told a crowd gathered in Monroe Hall in November. Her speech, the centerpiece of the James L. Farmer Lecture Hall dedication, highlighted the power of “ordinary people” like the late James Farmer to forward the journey toward justice for all. Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality, taught history at Mary Washington for more than a decade. One of America’s top civil rights leaders, he shared his experiences with thousands of UMW students, his resonant voice filling Monroe 104, the auditorium that now bears his name. “It is indeed right and appropriate that we recognize James Farmer in this room in which he touched so many students,” said Jeffrey W. McClurken ’94, professor and chair of history and American studies, who was one of those students. Farmer organized the 1961 Freedom Rides that led to desegregated interstate travel. He had a … [Read more...]