Meet the Class of 2019

MaKayla Boggs ’19: Arlington Heights, Ill.

MaKayla Boggs ’19 (left) urged Linh Le '19, from Vietnam, to choose Illinois Wesleyan after the two began chatting online.

Sept. 15, 2015     

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— If she changes her mind about attending medical school, MaKayla Boggs ’19 (Arlington Heights, Ill.) may have a future as an Illinois Wesleyan admissions counselor recruiting international students.

That’s because Boggs helped convince fellow first-year classmate Linh Le ’19 to attend IWU. A native of Hanoi, Vietnam, Le was debating between IWU and a school in the Northeast this spring when she and Boggs began chatting online.

It’s perhaps ironic Boggs became such an evangelist for IWU. She didn’t plan to attend IWU — or any Midwestern school, for that matter.

“Illinois weather is not my thing,” said the North Carolina native, who moved to the Chicago suburbs in high school. “I was fairly convinced I would attend college in another state (read: somewhere warmer), but once I came and stayed overnight at Illinois Wesleyan, I committed the very next day. [IWU] felt like it would provide so many amazing opportunities that are unheard of in most colleges, and it just felt like an amazing, tight-knit community.”

With her decision made, Boggs began chatting with Le on Schools App, a private social network for colleges and universities. Boggs felt the two would get along well as roommates. The only problem: Le hadn’t yet made a decision. “I pushed her to choose here because I knew we’d get along well,” said Boggs. “When I found out she lived in Vietnam, I was fascinated. She sent me pictures of her graduation and where she lived, and I sent her pictures, too. Compared to mine, her life seemed very similar and very different all at the same time.”

Le decided IWU made sense for her, too, and throughout the summer, the two planned their room in Munsell Hall. Still in admissions counselor mode, Boggs even offered to pick up Le at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport and let her stay with the Boggs family for a few days before orientation began for international students.

“I was worried that we weren’t experienced enough with each other’s culture, but everything has been great so far,” said Boggs. “I guess the key to making it work is respect, just like anyone else. And it was great to meet before, to talk about our room and get it organized. I couldn’t ask for a better roommate!” Boggs also participated in International Connections, a Pre-Orientation program created specifically for roommates of international students to help enhance roommate relationships and enhance their chances for success.

Classes are keeping Boggs busy. A psychology major, Boggs can’t remember a time she wasn’t planning to attend medical school after college. “I love being surrounded by people who share the same interests,” Boggs said of her new classmates. “It’s great to meet people with all interests, but it’s rare to meet someone just as fascinated and not grossed out by the human body as I am.” Faculty typically engage committed students in research activities — one reason IWU students gain admittance to medical schools at rates much higher than national averages. 

The self-described small-town girl loves running into new friends every time she walks across campus, validating her initial impression that IWU was a friendly, tight-knit community.

“I feel so supported by everyone around me here,” she said. “I already call IWU home, and I’m so happy just being here.”