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Meet JMC's University Distinguished Scholar

July 31, 2023 - Beth Brauer

Student Spotlight: Eleanor Pugh '27

Eleanor Pugh is a first-year student in James Madison College, the College of Social Science, the College of Arts and Letters and the Honors College where she plans to major in Russian, Anthropology and Comparative Cultures and Politics. Pugh is a Social Science Scholar and received the prestigious University Distinguished Scholarship.

Eleanor Pugh standing outside the Hirschorn Museum in D.C.

Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland

Six things about you:

#1 I studied abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for a summer before my senior year of high school through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth.

#2 I play the harp and was part of the harp ensemble with Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra for four years.

#3 I have a cat named Momo, which means “peach” in Japanese.

#4 I started a marine biology club in high school and got to lead squid dissections with elementary school students.

#5 I interned with the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington D.C.

#6 I’ve been studying Russian for the last four years, and this summer I am studying Kazakh.

What was your college search like, and how did you decide on MSU and James Madison College?

I applied to several Big Ten universities like University of Maryland, Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin. I also considered William & Mary and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

My visits to campuses occurred later than most because I was studying in Kyrgyzstan for part of my senior year. The first time I visited MSU was last January. The decision to attend MSU was an easy one. 

During middle school, I did a project about the Cold War and the Space Race. That was the beginning of my interest in the former Soviet Union, Russian politics and culture. When I was learning about MSU, the admissions counselor I worked with told me about James Madison and the opportunities to study less commonly taught languages. I would like to study abroad in Azerbaijan, which is a JMC study abroad program.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming year?

I’m excited about becoming a professorial assistant and doing undergraduate research. I hope to get involved with student government and volunteer at the MSU Museum. Most of all, I am looking forward to being part of the JMC community where I will be surrounded by people who share similar interests like government and politics.