“The first five years of my life, I lived 10 blocks from Hunter,” says Marielle Ray ’17, who was six when her family left the city to live year-round in Westhampton, Long Island.
Ray excelled in high school and developed a strong interest in psychology and social work. When the time came to apply for college, she found all she wanted back in her old Manhattan neighborhood.
As a Hunter Macaulay Honors Scholar, she paid no tuition, lived rent-free in campus dorms, enjoyed the camaraderie of the talented, close-knit Hunter Macaulay community, and benefited from the honors college’s distinctive curriculum and extra-curricular programming. She eventually double-majored in English and psychology while pursuing a certificate in human rights.
“I entered the program on a whim,” she says of Hunter’s Human Rights Program based at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. “And I soon became fascinated by international law and everything else I was learning.”
A few of Ray’s professors were from Argentina, so she learned a great deal not only about its culture and natural beauty, but also about its history of military dictatorship and violent repression, and its ongoing movements for justice and human rights. When she decided to apply for the Fulbright, she asked for a grant to teach English there.
“I look forward to immersing myself in a different culture,” she says, noting that while she spent a summer in Madrid through a Hunter-sponsored program and completed a one-week Macaulay Honors service program in Panama, she’s never lived in a foreign country for an extended period. She leaves for Argentina next March.
In the meantime, Ray is working for the Family Translational Research Group, a psychology lab housed at the NYU College of Dentistry. With federal funding, the lab’s team studies the destructive role that mental illness and behavioral dysfunction play in public health, with the aim of using that new knowledge to develop effective means of intervention and treatment. Ray started there two years ago as an intern, and is now a part-time staff member.
When she returns from Argentina, she’ll likely enter a master’s program in social work or a doctoral program in clinical psychology. While she’s not sure which degree program will best suit her goal, she is sure of that goal.
“I want to be a clinician working directly with patients,” she says.