Student Spotlight - Marilyn Cummings
The biggest challenge Marilyn Cummings faces at college is not what to major in, how to finance her education, or how to prepare for the job-market in a rapidly changing economy, but rather the reactions she gets when it comes out that she is a conservative. Reactions range from the relatively benign, "is that a joke?" to being labeled "stupid, ignorant, bigoted, etc."
Open-mindedness is apparently something which does not always extend to include conservatism in its purview at George Washington University, where Marilyn is an economics major on a pre-med track. Her advice to other students, however, is surprising in its maturity: "listen to your liberal friends. They can add a fresh perspective to your own mind-set. This makes you a well-rounded person and that is what open-mindedness is truly all about." Does this mean she is not a full-fledged conservative? By no means. But she does have a comprehensive understanding of the issues, and a clear understanding of the way conservative policies protect America from sliding with blinders on into a socialist framework.
With her focus on both economics and health-care, Marilyn is in a good position to begin forging solid opinions on the importance of preventive medicine as well as allowing competition in the free market to bring down the costs of healthcare. Her work with GW Globe-Med, a student-run nonprofit that fundraises and implements development projects with a health clinic in Rwanda, gives her an understanding of health care issues from a global perspective.
Despite a few unfortunate experiences at school (one time, a group of students posted fake fliers using her group's logo to discredit the group, while on other occasions, protestors committed indecent exposure and interrupted events), Marilyn is encouraging about the benefits of getting involved in a campus conservative group. She credits her work with campus conservatives for sharpening her analytical skills; she has learned keep a watchful eye on any information which comes through her door.
She acknowledges the role of conservative women leaders in her life, saying that they "brought out the best in her." "Most people have a solid foundation, but they just need the leadership of a like-minded individual to foster the hidden qualities."
In addition to being involved in the work of her campus conservative group, Marilyn recently attended an Activism Seminar at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, where she polished her public-speaking skills.
Marilyn has lived in the Boston area her whole life, and attended public high-school in Middleboro, Massachusetts. She describes her family as a "combination of the full political spectrum" and forged her own views during rowdy family conversations at a young age. Marilyn hopes one day to be a successful economist and hospital administrator. She was also recently inducted into the economics honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon.
Conservative women leaders brought out the best in me.