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From Hunter College to King’s College, Cambridge

Founded by Henry VI in 1441, King’s College of Cambridge University is one of England’s most storied institutions. It is also, in the words of Hunter College alumna Molly Rose Avila (’09), a school with “a history of attracting dare-devils and deviants, beatniks and bohemians, rebels and revolutionaries.”

That colorful past is in no way a deterrent to Avila, who is pursuing a master’s in Russian literature at King’s, tutored by a fellow of the college who studied under the legendary Isaiah Berlin. She says, “I've found a true new home.”

Avila’s quick adjustment to her imposing surroundings comes as no surprise to those who knew her during her Hunter days. She created her own interdisciplinary major in political philosophy through the Thomas Hunter Honors Program, and she was a Jeanette K. Watson fellow.

Her work was so impressive it won her a graduate school award from Hunter’s Scholarship and Welfare Fund. King’s College then awarded her a studentship (the British-ism for scholarship) covering all remaining expenses. King’s studentships are highly competitive, and PhD candidates are usually preferred. She calls her award “a staggering honor.”

Avila’s wide-ranging interests include political thought, philosophy and history, but it is Russian intellectual history that she calls “my passion.” After earning her master’s, she plans to continue to a PhD, either at Cambridge or in the U.S. Wherever she goes, her Hunter ties will remain strong because, as she points out, “My grandmother for whom I was named was also a proud Hunter grad!”


Published on October 18, 2010

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