Seniors look out—this year’s Senior Commencement Speaker Margot Boyer-Dry ’11 is not afraid to do yoga poses on the floor of Pi or question the covert Moroccan government line. She recently sat down with The Argus to discuss cheese, religion, and singing.
The Argus: You are going to be the Senior Commencement Speaker, so what are the things you are not going to advise the class of 2011 to do?
Margot Boyer-Dry: I can’t imagine I’ll endorse the drinking that happens over Senior Week to extend past Senior Week. Other than that, I know what I am going to say.
A: Can we get a sneak preview?
MBD: I can’t tell you. It’ll be a surprise.
A: You’re a Religion and French Major. I hear you are going to be teaching English in a suburb of Paris next year.
MBD: Yes, the teaching is sort of a way to get to me there. I’m excited to learn how to teach, but I’m also going to be researching North African immigration with a professor at Sciences Po. That’s the real reason I’m excited to be there. What’s cool about my teaching position is that it’s in a suburb of Paris where a lot of Algerians live, so I’ll be able to supplement my research with a direct understanding of what the suburbs look like and the ways these people are filtered into the city. And by living in that space I’ll be living the filtering process.
A: Otherwise lots of wine and baguettes?
MBD: Lots of wine and baguettes. And cheese.
A: Speaking of cheese, I’ve been told you have a deep love for cheese?
MBD: Who told you that? I do have a deep love for cheese. It’s how to win my heart, with cheese.
A: What have you been doing with your time senior year?
MBD: Oh lots of things. I’ve sort of made academic bookends for myself by TA-ing Modern Christian Thought which is the first class I took freshman year and the class that made me into a Religion major, which is a central part of my identity. I’ve been assistant teaching Miles Bukiet’s ’11 WesWell yoga class. Doing lots of Acro Yoga. And being with people and doing lots of singing. I’ve been wrapping up all the things I’ve always wanted to do and repeating them or doing other things I’ve always want to do.
A: The yoga is Vinyasa yoga, right? What’s your favorite pose?
MBD: Indeed. It’s a flow progression from pose to pose and each pose corresponds with a breath. I’ll get up and show you. My favorite pose is the peacock. [Boyer-Dry proceeded to get up and do the pose on the floor of Pi Café]. Now I’m the weird kid in Pi.
A: What do you think you’re going to miss about Wes the most?
MBD: The people. I came for the people; I’m going to miss the people.
A: You do a lot of inter-faith work promoting dialogue at Wesleyan. What do you think is missing here now?
MBD: It seems like there is an allergy to any word or compound word with the word ‘faith’ in it. I would love to see interfaith become more of a cool activist thing to do. For good reasons, things like raising money for international relief efforts and education are considered very cool and kind of are a hot thing to do. But, I also think that things like peace are worth pursuing. It’s really hard for me to figure out how to make interfaith something that sounds appealing to such a widely atheist/agnostic audience. I would love to see that happen, but I’m not sure how.
A: You studied abroad in Morocco. Do you have any crazy stories?
MBD: So many. I accidentally uncovered a covert governmental agenda to protect the monarchy against political threats.
A: How did that happen?
MBD: Well, I started out studying what the media was portraying as an effort to use Sufism to combat terrorism. It turns out that it was kind of a media cover for an attempt to protect the king from conservative parties’ attempts to dethrone him. They’re trying to get rid of any kind of monarchy because they think he is too liberal. Sufism, basically as a very liberal strain of Islam, aligns very well with his political orientation. As commander of the faithful, he is in charge of both politics and religion in Morocco. So, the more Sufis there are in Morocco on his side, the fewer threatening political parties there will be. There’s this big financial flow running into Sufi brotherhoods all over the country.
A: So are you on some kind of black list now? Will you be let back into Morocco?
MBD: Oh no. I think I’ll be let back into Morocco. I gathered from my program directors that what I had written shouldn’t go too far because that might be dangerous for me, especially now, I imagine. People are protesting in the hopes of a more democratic system…. so I imagine I should keep my research to myself for the time being.
A: I hear your mom is an opera singer and that you also have a love of singing and a nice voice. Any last performances on campus?
MBD: Yes, she is. Why, thanks. Yes, I’m in Collegium this semester, which sadly no one knows about. It’s a vocal group that sings the most beautiful Renaissance music and we have two performances coming up. One is this Friday, at the Good Friday Mass—we’ll be singing in the mass at noon in the Chapel followed by another mass on May 1 at eight, also in the Chapel. We’ll be singing pieces by Tomas Luis de Victoria and William Byrd among others, but those are the two major composers. Great, great music, I would love more people to be exposed to it. I encourage attendance.
A: We’ve reached the James Lipton question. If you could be any kind of sandwich, what kind would you be and why?
MBD: Oh. This is difficult. I think I’d need to be a vegetarian sandwich. I think I would need to be some kind of sandwich in pita. I’d probably be a pita, hummus, sprout type sandwich.
A: Why’s that?
MBD: It’s very intentional. I feel like a lot of sandwiches ask to be made. You have a series of typical sandwiches to choose from like turkey and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. But, a hummus sandwich in pita requires a very specific type of intentionality with which I like to do things. You have to think about this sandwich to make it. It just doesn’t come together on its own.