Liz Carlisle

My four years at Harvard were such an amazing, life-changing journey; I cannot thank the Mensa Foundation enough for helping me make the opportunity possible. My Harvard experience opened up an entirely new world that was beyond my wildest dreams as a high school student in Montana. My senior year was particularly rewarding, as I worked to refine my ethnomusicology senior thesis on the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. I was very proud to be nominated for a Hoopes Prize, the top honor given for undergraduate academic work. I am especially proud that my thesis has been of value to the Falcon Ridge community.

At Harvard's commencement, I had the opportunity to celebrate all facets of what my Harvard experience meant to me. I was chosen, by audition, to deliver the undergraduate English oration at the morning exercises. And I was hired as a masters' assistant at Harvard for the next year, which allowed me to remain a part of the community while working on my next CD and continuing to tour.

For me, the highest aim of a liberal arts education is to discover more about oneself and one's peers — and the human condition that unites us all. Those four years certainly started me on the path to a life of seeking to better understand what it is to be human.

Liz Carlisle, national scholarship winner, 2006