That Girl: Kira Allmann
March 16, 2010
__From looking at her resume, it is clear that Kira Allmann is involved on campus to the nth degree. That being said, she is much more than a list of activities and honors. Kira is engaged in and passionate about everything she does, from assisted with research in the government department to attending Tribe basketball games. She recently learned that her concentration in modern Middle Eastern studies has been approved for the Rhodes Scholarship she will pursue at University of Oxford over the next two years. Although her immediate future is set, Kira’s not slowing down — her campus activity at the College of William and Mary is evidence to that.__
*What primarily are you involved in on campus?*
I do a variety of different things in terms of clubs and organizations. I’m the president of Mortar Board, and I love that. I’m on the exec. board for the Middle Eastern Cultural Association, and we have a lot of fun. It’s very low-key, but we have a lot of fun doing it. I’m also very involved in Pi Sigma Alpha, which you’ve probably never heard of, but it’s the government honors society. I helped to revive it with a couple others. We do a lot of fun things — we run High Tea in Morton Hall, which is kind of comical. I also do research in the government and linguistics departments — I’m a government and linguistics double major. I’ve worked in the government department for four years. I used to be an Arabic [Teaching Assistant], which is probably one of the most fun things I’ve done as a student. I’m TA-ing this semester for a government class, research methods. I’m involved in the Wesley Foundation, which is also one of my favorite commitments. It’s the United Methodist campus ministry — lots of fun. Lots of other things come up too; I’m a tour guide, things like that take up most of my time.
*What is your favorite spot in Williamsburg?*
Well, I’m from Williamsburg; I’ve lived here for 10 years. I went to Lafayette High School. But my favorite spot: I used to be pretty hardcore into bicycling, which I sadly don’t do as much anymore, but I would always stop at College Landing Park. It’s just really beautiful and very peaceful. But really, my favorite spot in Williamsburg is somewhere at William and Mary, and I can safely say that having lived here for 10 years — probably the basketball arena right now.
*Tell me about your experience with the Rhodes Scholarship program.*
I’m a Rhodes Scholar for 2010, which is really exciting. It frankly hasn’t even hit me yet, that I have this huge honor ahead of me. I’m going for an m-fill in modern Middle Eastern studies; that’s a two-year degree, but I have the option to stay for a third year, so we’ll see. Basically, the selection is very competitive and intense; it took up a lot of my time first semester, but obviously it was very well worth it. I have to say I met some of the coolest people ever when I went to do my interview. It made me feel great about the scholarship and the program, so that was definitely a highlight.
*Do you have any plans for after you finish the program?*
I probably seem like one of those people that has a big plan, and I’m not. I don’t like to rule anything out. So right now if you ask me where I see myself years from now, it would be doing one of three things. I could come back to the states and work on a Ph. D., which doesn’t sound too exciting right now, but it might be. You never know where my research could take me. Option two would be to work for the United States government for a while, get some hands-on experience and exposure to politics. It would be a nice change of pace from being in school. Option three would be to join AmeriCorps for a while. I’ve looked at a couple of programs that deal with Muslim and immigrant communities in the United States. It might be a great way to re-acclimate myself to the United States and do some hands-on stuff — again, a change of pace from being in school. But you never know. You could check back with me and I might be starting a cooking show or something. I like to kind of play it by ear — it’s kind of scary to plan beyond the next two, three years.
*What is one thing you wish you knew freshman year?*
I guess I wish I knew little things, like the SexChange sells oatmeal in a cup, which may be the best thing ever. Or that you can park anywhere you want on Saturdays and Sundays. In the bigger picture terms of things, I wish that I knew more about some of the things that were happening on campus, especially the volunteer and service opportunities. As a freshman, I wish I had been paying closer attention to that. I guess advice I would give myself would be to take more random classes early, and stay in touch with high school friends. I’m pretty close with a number of my high school friends, but I think one of those things you think about as a senior is how important your friends are to you, so those are my words of wisdom to my four-years-younger self.
*Have you taken any classes you would recommend?*
Probably my favorite class that I’ve taken was Meaning and Understanding. It’s about the history of linguistic thought. But it’s in close competition with Women in the Muslim World, which is a religious studies class. I am a government major, and have taken fabulous government classes — don’t get me wrong. But these two stood out because they weren’t in my typical field of study, and they were so fascinating. That said, I’m in Adventure Games right now. Definitely take that. I can’t really think of a terrible class I’ve had, even GERs which I had to take.
*What’s been a favorite memory or experience for you at the College?*
I went to the Linguistics Society of America conference this year, and I actually made it into The Washington Post. It was in January, and my friend Brittany Fallon and I were interviewed about why the word “Kanye” should be the word of the year. This was one of my top 10 William and Mary moments of all time. Literally all these linguists sit in a room and argue about which word should be the word of the year. Watching that was absolutely hilarious. They should turn it into a sitcom or something.
__Whether it’s reminiscing about her freshman year in Monroe Hall — she fondly told me about celebrating her birthday with her hallmates freshman year — or discussing her love of the Arabic program, Kira has nothing but good things to say about the College. And get this — you can tell she’s being sincere.__