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Meet Georgia Bernbaum ’25 Bernbaum is inspired by W&L’s emphasis on community-based learning.

Georgia-Bernbaum-2-scaled-600x400 Meet Georgia Bernbaum '25

Name: Georgia Bernbaum
Hometown: Maitland, Florida
Major: Politics
Minor: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Why did you choose to come to W&L?
I chose Washington and Lee for the opportunity to build relationships with my professors and mentors and to connect my coursework with meaningful community-based learning. These are what make W&L “a place like no other.” I knew this would be my place after hearing Professor Pickett speak on Admitted Students Day. His insight into the ways various disciplines intersect in the study of poverty inspired me. Through the Bonner Program, the Shepherd Program has become my second home, and my professors and fellow Bonners are like family.

What has been your greatest accomplishment since arriving at W&L?
Interviewing celebrated author and W&L alumnus Tom Robbins stands out as a highlight of my first year. Although I knew I wanted to write for the Ring-tum Phi, I did not expect to find such generous mentors in Grace Mammon and Mary Alice Russell, the editors-in-chief, and Annalisa Waddick, the opinions editor. This year, I am working alongside Annalisa in editing the opinions section.

I’m also very excited for my new role as a grant advisor for The Pollination Project, which would not have been possible without the experience and support I’ve had from W&L.

Who at W&L has been most inspiring to you so far?
Emily Brookfield ’23 inspires me every day and in so many ways. She excels in all of her campus roles, from RA for my hall to Bonner Intern. Her commitment to serving the community exemplifies her genuine, welcoming and caring spirit. She has been a core support for me this year, and I cannot speak her praises highly enough.

What inspires you?
People inspire me by what we can create and sustain: language, cities, technological advancements, or even something as mundane as friendships — the people surrounding me and the values that drive them inspire me.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I love to read, and even though I am not exceptionally talented, I like to watercolor and draw. Art helps me manage stress during the school year.

What book has made the most significant impact on your life?
My favorite book is “Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe” by Preston Norton. Although it is a hilarious and mind-bending story, it is also profound, leading me to question my own beliefs and wonder if I trust that an outside force is really watching and trying to make things better.

What is your favorite movie?
“Good Will Hunting” — even though I have watched it a dozen times, it still makes me cry.

If you could have a conversation with anyone, who would it be and why?
I would love to have met Maya Angelou and asked about her creative process because her writing feels so natural, even effortless. If raising the dead for an interview is not an option, I would like to meet Guy Fieri. My dad and I love watching his shows on Food Network, and Guy could teach me a thing or two.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?
The summer before fourth grade, I attended a campaign event for President Barack Obama. It was his birthday, so we all sang to him. Technically, I can say I performed for an American president.