Mary O'Laughlin '09
Mary O’Laughlin (BSFS ’09) considers herself lucky. “From the time we were little, my parents strongly encouraged my older brothers and me to study foreign countries, cultures, and religions and provided us opportunities to travel whenever we could. My experiences abroad have allowed me to see first-hand the impact of history, politics, and religious conflict on local populations and taught me so much about myself, helping me to become more independent, adventurous, and adaptable than I ever could have been otherwise.”
Enter your content here.Mary was able to travel extensively and live abroad on two continents before she even came to Georgetown. These international experiences led her away from the small, rural liberal arts colleges her older brothers had attended. “I always assumed that when it was my turn to go off to college, I would go to a similar type of school, but then I visited Georgetown and all of my preconceived ideas about what I wanted in a college were turned upside down.”
Having had a great experience living in France during high school, Mary decided to take a year off before coming to SFS to live in Beijing with a Chinese family. She attended a local Chinese high school, gained fluency in Mandarin, and worked in the Beijing office of a large American law firm.
At Georgetown, Mary was selected as a John Carroll Fellow majored in regional studies with a focus on Asia and. During her time as an undergraduate, she also chaired the Georgetown University Lecture Fund, managing its $40,000 budget and planning numerous high-profile events. “I loved the campus, and had many opportunities at Georgetown that I would not have had at any other school,” she says, “but it has been the bright, energetic, and incredibly talented professors and students at SFS who made my experience so amazing.”
Mary plans to stay in Washington for the summer for a ten-week National Honors internship with the FBI in their counterterrorism division. In the fall, she heads off to China to begin her Fulbright fellowship. “I will be studying environmental public policy, based out of Wuhan University in central China,” she reports. “My research will focus on a major new policy initiative in China—the nationwide ban on the distribution of free plastic bags.”