Mariam vividly remembers when she was 6 years old living through the terrors of civil war in Côte d'Ivoire. “Life,” she came to believe, is “a game of consequences, and sometimes the consequences are undeserved, but the ability to live through it shows strength in humanity.” This has strengthened her self-reliance and determination: “I believe in my abilities more, and the world can change with a simple will.”

Mariam’s strengths are apparent to her teachers. “Mariam,” her AP Calculus teacher wrote, “is courageous, profound, mature beyond her years, and eager to find like-minded individuals who want to do more than simply go through the motions of what society expects of them.”

Very active in organizations at her school, including the student council, Mariam has also won several internships, giving her real-world experience. One of her take-aways from an internship at a large financial company where she learned about salary discrepancies: “It’s a boy-shielding world.” 

In her application, Mariam reflected on the tensions between the idea of an omnipotent God and the implications of free will. Not many of our applications include the word “theodicy,” which considers how an all-good God can permit the existence of evil. “I love always understanding multiple sides to different situations,” Mariam wrote. The challenges of such deep moral questions, she wrote, “help me realize that different people have different ways to interpret things and I must always be open-minded.”

The teacher that has made the greatest difference in my life is JP Passero, my English teacher. He has inspired me to expand my views on potential careers and to never feel intimidated by the prominent identities that oversaturate certain careers.