Hometown: Dakar, Senegal
High Schools: Shenendehowa Central Schools, Clifton Park, N.Y.
W.A.C.A. (IB School), Dakar, Senegal
Collège Sacré-Coeur, Dakar, Senegal
Majors: World Politics & English or Psychology
Last Movie Seen in Theaters: 300
Last Book Read: Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Favorite Music: Recently listening to classic rock — all genres but country
Thanks to the generous support of its young alumni, Hamilton College is pleased to name Aminata Diop '11 of Dakar, Senegal, as its ninth GOLD Scholar.
Aminata's talent as a writer brought her halfway across the world. After impressing a high school teacher with her essay response to Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, the teacher suggested that she apply to Hamilton. So without visiting, she made Hamilton her first choice and, to her surprise, was accepted. She arrived on a "chilly" summer day, but has since found warmth and comfort in good friends and Pub lunches.
Aminata Diop '11 grew up in Senegal. After attending Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, N.Y. for one year during high school, she returned to Senegal, completing her secondary education at the IB School and the Collège Sacré-Coeur in Dakar. Her love of writing grew throughout high school where she finished her first novel, The Singer, a story about a blues singer and his self-discovery. She hopes to publish it someday.
Aminata's introduction to Hamilton came during Orientation Week, and it remains one of her favorite College experiences. Not that she needed any persuasion, but the ever-popular hypnotist performance helped "convince" her that she had found a second home.
Just finishing up her first year on the Hill, Aminata has already found her coursework challenging. "Professor of Government Robert Martin is such a hard grader," says Aminata, who excels in every subject. She once checked her grade average, expecting to be failing the class, and upon receiving a B minus she jumped to her feet and started dancing. Where else but Hamilton would a straight-A student get excited about a B minus? She also enjoys her philosophy class The Black Self: Identity and Consciousness taught by Todd Franklin, associate professor of philosophy. Her passion for the class reignites each day when he introduces new and exciting information.
Aminata works hard in the classroom, but also finds time to take part in campus activities. She participates in the West Indian and African Association and the Muslim Student Association. She works as a teaching assistant for French classes, taking 400-level French herself. She also makes phone calls twice a week for the Annual Fund and inherently understands the importance of giving back. "[I am] very thankful for being named a GOLD Scholar, for without financial aid I would not be at Hamilton," she says. She understands how much alumni giving helps current students and plans to stay connected with Hamilton for the rest of her life.
Although her future after Hamilton is more than three years away, Aminata already has ambitious goals. After graduation, she plans to pursue studies in international relations in the United States. Once she has her master's degree and does some writing, she will return to Senegal to help grow the economy, spread freedom of speech and promote self-awareness. Although her country is a democracy, she says that corruption in Africa continues to hurt the economy and her people's ability to live and speak freely. Starting with an internship in the Senegal government this summer, Aminata wants to help bring about positive change.
For now, she will partake in stimulating class discussions, engage in conversations with alumni and frequent her favorite place on campus, The Little Pub (no, she isn't 21, but The Pub is open for lunch, too), where she can enjoy good food and "intellectual conversation" with friends, all while watching CNN and warming up by the cozy fireplace.
--by Peter Kopp '07
GOLD Scholars is an initiative supported by the Annual Fund, which has always provided direct support for the College's most important current priorities, especially scholarship aid. Starting last year, gifts from the GOLD Group – Graduates of the Last Decade – specifically support students on campus. With each $15,000 increment collectively contributed, the College will select a student as a GOLD Scholar for 2007-08.