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Meet the New Smithies

Sidebar: World-Class Students: Welcome to the Class of 2013

At Central Check-in, Elisabeth Wolfe '10, head of the Bike Kitchen and a student member of the Green Team, discussed Smith's sustainability efforts with first-year student Lydia Drown and her parents.

When first-year students arrived at Smith this fall, they all reported to Central Check-in to pick up room keys, orientation schedules and catalogues. But even before they had checked in and collected their ivy plants, they formed a group notable for their vibrancy, intelligence and wealth in unique experiences, united by strong academic records and clear motivation and determination to succeed.

Incoming first-year student Keturah "Kerah" Williams faced stiff odds early this year when she applied not just to Smith but also to the National Symphony Orchestra Music Institute summer program. Williams competed against nearly 3,000 other applicants to earn one of 65 seats in the all-expenses paid institute. The monthlong program in Washington, D.C., seemed a natural fit for the home-schooled student from Little Rock, Arkansas, who spent her final year of high school playing professionally with her state's symphony orchestra and the past three years volunteering as a therapeutic violinist at the local Hospice Home Care Inpatient Center. As it turned out, the program also affirmed her choice of Smith. When Carole Wysocki, director of the National Symphony Orchestra Education Program, asked Williams about her college decision, the incoming first-year learned she was in good company. "I'm a Smithie!," Wysocki '78 told her.

Zahraa Khaleel Al-Janabi of Montezuma, New Mexico, finished high school at Armand Hammer United World College in New Mexico after previously attending Al-Haririy High School, an all-girls' school, in Baghdad. About life in Iraq, where her home was bombed three times, Al-Janab said, "because of the violence, my education was interrupted on a daily basis. Teachers and students were threatened. Eventually teachers fled Iraq, leaving untrained teaching assistants in charge." While there were no extracurricular opportunities for students in Iraq, Al-Janab quickly got involved in her community in the United States, working at a homeless shelter in Los Angeles and organizing and leading seminars about current events in Iraq.

For her senior exhibit, Emily Goose of Fredericksburg, Virginia, put together a cookbook titled Ingredients for Peace: Cooking With Global Peacemakers, a compilation of recipes from world leaders in the subject of peace, including Desmond Tutu, Mia Farrow and Goose's own stepmother, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jody Williams. The cookbook includes a biography on each contributor, in which Goose details the individual's efforts to advocate for world peace. She designed the book's cover and contents and is self-publishing it. It is available for sale at and Nobel Women's Initiative.

Sabrina Baxter's interest in science and medicine has only grown with her continued exposure to the field of biology. After witnessing both her mother's and her sister's bouts with vertigo, Baxter felt compelled to begin researching long-term solutions for it. Her self-created independent research project "The Use of Zebrafish to Model the Treatment of BPPV (vertigo) With Antioxidants" won regional and state science fair awards. Since last summer, Baxter, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has worked as a research technician at a University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Pathology Lab for Nobel Prize winner Oliver Smithies. Her goal, says Baxter, is "to continue my research and expand it to other aspects, including genetics."

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