Alumni Spotlight: Daisy Banta ’14
How do MLWGS students choose where to apply to college and ultimately where to attend? How do they handle the transition from high school to college? Our youngest alumni have the freshest perspectives on college applications, admissions, and selection. Daisy Banta (‘14) is a student at Williams College in Williamstown, MA.
In high school, Daisy ran cross-country and track. “Training, competing, and serving as the senior captain taught me so much about work ethic and determination, as well as gave me a platform to develop confidence, passion, and leadership skills. Even though I no longer run, I still consider a large part of my lifelong identity to have come from those formative experiences in high school.”
Daisy decided on Williams because it offered a balance between academics and athletics. “Williams passed the ‘broken leg test’, which means I knew I would like the school even if I broke my leg and couldn’t participate in my sport,” she explains. “For Maggie Walker students considering college athletics, be sure to keep that in mind!”
She particularly liked “that Williams students have close relationships with their professors and that science students can get lab experience beyond just cleaning test tubes.” The strong and supportive Williams alumni network has also been a major asset. “In many ways it reminded me of the alumni community at Maggie Walker, with the ‘once a green dragon always a green dragon’ mindset,” she explains. “All three of my summer internships have been with Williams alums, so the alumni network has really come in handy!”
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have really transformative internships over each summer in college,” she says. She worked in a neuroimmunology lab at MCV after freshmen year, at the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC after sophomore year, and with an epidemiology NGO in Brazil this past summer. “These internships exposed me to a wide range of work environments and made me really excited and motivated to continue pursuing a career in public health. Also, after taking Spanish at Maggie Walker and in college, it was so challenging and fun to learn Portuguese in Brazil.”
Daisy is majoring in biology with a concentration in neuroscience and minoring in Spanish. She hopes to work at the intersection of neuroscience and epidemiology in her future career. “I can trace my passion for these two disciplines back to my first exposure as a senior at Maggie Walker, which feels pretty incredible and unexpected!” she says. She was able to take epidemiology and biospychology electives her senior year. “Most high schools don’t offer either of those subjects, which makes me feel even more fortunate for the incredible education that I got at Maggie Walker.”
Most MLWGS grads stay in-state for college. Meanwhile, Daisy is one of only three people from Richmond at Williams, though one of the other three is another Dragon, Coly Elhai (’15). Though going to school in the mountains of Western Massachusetts has exposed her to a whole new level of cold (“It isn’t considered cold out until the snot in your nose freezes!”), it has also added so much to her college experience. “I’ve developed friendships with incredible people from all across the country and world,” Daisy says. “For example, my two best friends here are from L.A. and Ecuador. I feel my wordview expand with every conversation I have at Williams because everyone brings a unique perspective.”