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ISI Staff
Margaret Schnabel

ALUMNI FEATURE: MARGARET SCHNABEL

Margaret Schnabel began her time at the International School of Indiana (ISI) as a Grade 6 student, graduating in 2017. 
After her time at ISI, Margaret went on to attend Indiana University as a Herman B Wells scholar, pursuing degrees in English and Cognitive Science. Afterward, she obtained her Master’s degree in World Literatures in English from the University of Oxford. Margaret is currently pursuing her PhD in English at Harvard University. 
Margaret credits the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum taught at ISI for helping her gain skills in independent thinking and reflection, which she continues to use every day. 

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​​WITH BENEFITS LIKE LANGUAGE IMMERSION, THE TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY, OR THE IB DIPLOMA PROGRAMME, WHAT DREW YOU MOST TO ISI? 

Though as a sixth-grader it was as much my parents’ choice as mine, I was drawn to ISI for its language immersion program and international community, which I really believe are unparalleled in Indiana. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME AT ISI?

I loved dressing up for spirit weeks to support ISI’s thriving Timmy Club and our sports teams. Even the teachers got involved and donned costumes of their own—a testament to the tight-knit teacher-student community at ISI. 

HOW DOES WHAT YOU LEARNED AT ISI HELP YOU IN YOUR CURRENT ENDEAVORS? 

ISI, and the IB program more broadly, have immeasurably improved my writing, close-reading, reflection, and independent thinking skills—all of which are essential for my future career in academia and literary criticism. English and Spanish classes at ISI nurtured my love for literature and taught me how to analyze texts at a high level with original, independent thought. I use those skills every day. 

ISI HAS A CURRICULUM THAT FOCUSES ON SHAPING THEIR STUDENTS’ OUTLOOK ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. IN YOUR EXPERIENCE AS AN ISI STUDENT, HOW DO YOU THINK THIS UNIQUE APPROACH TO LEARNING SETS ISI APART FROM OTHER SCHOOLS?

Because of ISI, I never felt like I was “just” from Indiana; it gave me the breadth of experience (and friendships) necessary to feel at ease in a cosmopolitan environment—which is what, as I discovered when I went to Oxford, so much of the world is like today. 

WHAT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, OR COMMUNITY-BUILDING EVENTS, WERE YOUR FAVORITE TO GET INVOLVED WITH AT ISI, AND HOW DID THEY HELP SHAPE THE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY?

Many of my best ISI memories come from my time on the high school girls’ soccer team. As a not-naturally-talented athlete, I appreciated ISI’s open-door sports policy; you can participate in any sport that appeals to you without worrying about tryouts or being cut from the team. The team was a source of deep friendships, bonding, and fun for me throughout high school. Having now run several half-marathons, exercise is now far more important to me than it used to be, and I’m grateful for having had such a positive experience with it at a formative age. 

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