Isabel Villarreal '20 is an English and history major, an Honors Scholar, and a commuter student mentor. After graduation, she plans to teach English in the Peace Corps.
You traveled to India this past summer as part of the Global Women in STEM and Policy Undergraduate Research Training Honors Program (GWSTEM). What did you learn there?
Our cohort studied the political and socioeconomic factors affecting women with breast cancer, but also healthcare in India in general. We interviewed women living in rural communities, after spending a year building our survey questions. It was an incredible experience to meet these women. It was eye opening to study healthcare policy in a different cultural environment. This fall we will formulate our results and present our research at a few conferences.
You’re also an Honors Scholar. What’s your favorite part of being in the Honors Program?
The Honors Program is a mini community within the Mount. We have a newsletter with stories written by Honors Scholars, board meetings and a student council with officers. I’m the co-ambassador this year and do workshops to represent the Honors Program. I have a lot more friends besides history and English majors because of the Honors Program.
Why did you decide to join the Peace Corps after you graduated?
I really am interested in international communication, and as much as I would like to teach in U.S. eventually, there are a lot of opportunities to learn and grow internationally. Going somewhere else helps me, but it also helps someone else. I think the Peace Corp will be a good experience. I actually learned about it at an info session at the Mount my freshman year. I entered the Mount as a history major, but added a double major in English after hearing the Peace Corps presentation because I was so excited to teach English overseas.
What makes you unstoppable?
I am unstoppable because of how supportive the Mount is. As a freshman, I was a terrified little hedgehog, and I pushed myself to try things. Being unstoppable doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. The Mount has an atmosphere that allows everyone to feel welcome to try new things.
How has attending the Mount changed your life?
The opportunities I’ve had, like visiting India and speaking with women have been life-changing. But I really believe that the faculty has been the best part. Since it is such a good small school, your professors can give you the attention you need. Dr. Lia Roberts pushed me to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship my senior year. Knowing she believes in me, and believes I can achieve great things, gives me the confidence I need.