_Mary Henin has zeal, whether it’s for teaching English as a second language or for eating the Green Leafe Cafe’s cheese fries. She also has a plan for her future and has been working hard at the College for the past four years to achieve it. Even when she’s not working on her thesis or planning spring break service trips, Mary is constantly active on campus. With the end of her senior year looming, she also plans to check things off her pre-graduation to-do list, such as jumping the Governor’s Palace wall._
*What organizations have you been involved with on campus?*
The biggest thing that I have been involved with for the past three years has been Community Partnership for Adult Learners, or CPALs. It’s an organization that offers English as a second language tutoring services to adults from the Williamsburg community two nights a week. I was on the exec board for that for a couple of years. Now I’ve just been tutoring, which is nice to work with the learners. They’re mostly Latino immigrants, but we also have someone who speaks Mandarin. We also have Russian, Vietnamese and Brazilian women. I’ve also been a site leader for spring break service trips through the Branch Out program for two years now. Last year during spring break, I went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Crystal Coast, N.C. I went on a spring break trip my sophomore year, and I really enjoyed the experience. I thought it would be a cool step up to be a site leader. I started CPALs sophomore year as well. I tutored ESL back home in Richmond through my church, and it was something I wanted to continue to do here. Regular tutors are sometimes hard to come by with CPALs, so it’s easy to get involved if you want to go regularly.
*How have you spent your summers during your college years?*
The summer after my sophomore year, I really thought I wanted to study abroad to study Arabic, but instead I went to Egypt, and I taught English for three weeks through an organization called Coptic Orphans. It’s a non profit organization that offers educational and relief services to young orphans. Last summer, I interned with the National Council of La Raza, which is a non profit Latino advocacy group in D.C. That was actually the start of my thesis research.
*Can you tell me about your thesis?*
I study Linguistics and ESL instruction, so my thesis was a case study that I did in one of our local schools where I observed teacher practice in teaching English Language Learners. I wrote up a best practices report and a list of recommendations that I could offer the school at the end of my time there. My thesis is due on Friday, so it’s all coming to an end. I’m just editing now.
*Is there anything you plan on doing at the College or in Williamsburg before graduation?*
I haven’t jumped the Governor’s Palace wall yet. Today was actually the first time I went to the Muscarelle Museum of Art, and that’s been on my bucket list since I’ve been here.
*What are your plans post-graduation?*
I have a plan — and it’s a good plan — it just needs to be enacted. To teach ESL, which is what I want to do for the next two to three years, I need to finish my endorsement through the state licensure. So to do that, I’m probably going to go back home to Richmond and take some courses to finish my endorsement. At the same time, it would be really nice if I could get a job teaching ESL on my provisional license, either at a Richmond city public school or a school in the surrounding area. So that’s the plan I’m working on carrying out. After teaching, I’d really like to go to some kind of Masters of Administration program focused on ESL.
*What has been your best memory at the College?*
For the past two years, I’ve done the Tribe Challenge scavenger hunt with my roommate and a couple other friends. It has just been awesome because it takes you from one end of campus to the other. It’s really cool to go from the Botetourt statue to Lake Matoaka, to Aromas, to everything, and just take it all in [during] this really fun competition.
_Mary plans on applying her extensive ESL teaching skills after graduating from the College. In the meantime, she’ll work on finally jumping the Governor’s Palace wall among other pre-graduation to-do activities._