"I began my French studies at Bryn Mawr in the Intensive Elementary program, which we called "baby French," under the extraordinary tutelage of Mme Doner. I remember that when I arrived at Bryn Mawr, my French was nonexistent, despite three years of high school studies, but my Spanish, which I had never formally studied, was near fluent. That was because I had been immersed in the culture of the local immigrant community in my hometown in the Appalachians, learning Spanish from people who spoke no English. I thus knew the value of learning a language without filtering it through English, and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to learn French in that way. I adored every moment of earning my French major, and there are some that are very vivid for me even 15 years later: one in particular is Mme Armstrong handing out to the class rough photocopies of a piece of work by a medieval woman author that she had translated herself from the old into modern French. That lifting up of a woman's voice that I would have otherwise never been able to hear perfectly exemplifies what Bryn Mawr meant to me. (Forced to choose, I think Le Chevalier, la femme, et le prêtre would have to be my favorite course at Bryn Mawr.)
I have always loved languages, in part because of a recognition of the power of speech. My passion for my second major, Mathematics, was also a passion for the language of math. My newest language acquisition is the law, and I know that part of my success in this field is due to the confidence I gained at Bryn Mawr, an exuberant desire to extract everything possible from any new language or system in my path."