“I chose to attend Western because I fell in love with the atmosphere,” says Ava. “I had visited WMU for college tours, scholarship competitions and auditions. I found myself growing comfortable with the campus before I even enrolled. It felt like home by the end of my first year.”
That feeling of home extended to academics, where Ava found a community of professors and students who supported her research on the intersection of women, peace and security—a field that seeks to understand women’s involvement in peace-building processes. “I have been able to propose new ideas in the field, seeing opportunities to promote different ways of thinking and researching,” she says.
Ava is currently working diligently on her applications for graduate school where she plans to continue her research. “I am most excited about the unlimited possibilities for women’s empowerment and the involvement of women from all backgrounds in policy development and implementation processes. I believe this in itself is a unique challenge and opportunity because there are so many structures in place that have made including women in policy processes difficult, which also means that there are also many ways for us to challenge these structures and make this possible.”
Gifts from alumni and friends have supported Ava’s work. “Scholarship support from WMU has helped me to achieve my goals in so many ways. Because of scholarships, I was able to study abroad at the School for International Training in Switzerland, in a program that allowed me to realize my academic and professional aspirations. My goal is to build my own capacity in many different areas, so that throughout my career, I am able to help others build their capacity as well. Scholarship support from WMU has given me opportunities to both teach and to grow from everyone who I have met along the way.”
You can support students like Ava and power opportunities for them to become the next generation of visionary leaders through annual gifts to the college. Ava has learned from everyone she has met at WMU, and has been supported by many alumni and friends like you—who she may never meet, but who have been instrumental to her success.