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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Dinah Danforth '10

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Majors: Accounting and Psychology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • JubiLee, women's a cappella group
  • Hillel, Treasurer/Secretary
  • Kathekon, the student-alumni organization
  • SPEAK, Women Speaking to Women About Sexual Assault
  • Chi Omega
  • R.E. Lee Research Scholar, Summer 2008
  • Research Assistant, School of Law: For over a year, I helped Professor Wilson as she wrote a chapter for a book on significant health law and bioethics cases.

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Global tax accounting internship with KPMG - New York and Paris
  • Study abroad, Rome, Fall 2008
  • Study abroad, Paris, Summer 2008

Post-Graduation Plans: Work as a tax associate at KPMG in New York

Favorite W&L Memory: Being reunited with my friends after being abroad.

Favorite Class: Dr. Lorig's Brain and Behavior class. I took it fall term of my freshman year. While it was one of the hardest courses I've ever taken at W&L, it also made me want to be a psychology major.

Favorite W&L Activity/Event: Fancy Dress Ball

Favorite Lexington Landmark: My off-campus house, Otterville. I have lived here for the past two years and it has really become home to me. Because of its location, it's also a central hang-out spot for all of my friends.

What drew me to W&L was not its academic excellence, its small class sizes or the opportunities I knew I'd get at such a small school. It was the people and their reactions to this wonderful place that made a difference to me. When I came to visit, I was amazed at the excitement with which students described their experiences here. Anyone who has visited knows that when you ask a W&L student what they like about their school, it is hard for them to stop talking. I was eager to experience this enthusiasm myself, and immediately upon arriving here for move-in day my freshman year, I knew that I had made the right decision.

Now, halfway through my senior year, if forced to pick just one reason that W&L is right for me, it would have to be that W&L has allowed me to pursue so many diverse interests. In addition to the in-depth looks at accounting and psychology that I've gotten from the classroom, I've enhanced my knowledge in both areas through summer experiences. The summer after my sophomore year, I conducted research in a cognitive psychology lab through the R. E. Lee Scholar program. I worked closely with Professor Whiting and two other psychology majors to test the neural noise theory of general slowing. We were able to present our results in several different forums, including W&L's Science, Society, and the Arts Conference. I am continually amazed at the resources the psychology department has available at a school this size. More importantly, students actually have access to them, whether assisting a professor in conducting their research or doing research of your own.

The next summer, I was able to explore my interest in accounting through an internship with a top-tier accounting firm in New York City. After I accepted the offer, I was selected to participate in the firm's global program and spent half of my internship working in their Paris tax desk. Here at W&L, students get the best of both worlds. At our school, one of the only liberal arts colleges with a business school, I've been able to get a true liberal arts experience while also getting an excellent education in accounting that qualified me to work at a top-tier firm.

Being a dual-degree seeker has not stopped me from exploring other interests, as well. I've been able to sing in the University Chorus and the all-women's a cappella group, JubiLee, despite the fact that I've never taken a music class. I've also been able to pursue my love of languages through courses as well as by studying and working abroad. Since coming to W&L, I've spent a summer in Paris, living with a host family and taking French courses at a local language school. I've also studied in Rome, where I took an intensive Italian course. Then I spent another four weeks in Paris as part of my accounting internship.

I continue to be impressed by the variety of experiences that are available to students here. Because of our school's size and the inclusive attitude held by those in the W&L community, students are able to involve themselves in diverse activities and academic subjects. I know that if I had attended another school, I would never have been able to explore the variety of interests that I have in such depth as I have done at W&L.