Mary Bathon is one of five siblings, all of whom went to different Catholic universities for their undergraduate education—all, except one. Mary and her brother, Dave (class of 2014), both chose to go to Ave Maria University. “I went to a small Catholic high school,” Mary explained, “and I initially wanted to go to a bigger university. But when I visited my brother Dave, I fell in love with AMU, with the campus, with the academic life. I was intrigued by the spirituality of the students—that they were invested in their faith and that there was a community of students and professors actively seeking something more… I decided that this was where I wanted to go.” Mary transferred out of the community college she was attending and arrived at Ave Maria in Fall 2012.
[The U.S. Ambassador presents Mary with an award at the U.S. Embassy in April 2015.]
Mary is a member of a service-oriented women’s household, Asteria tis Marias(“Star of Mary”). Besides gathering together in fellowship and prayer, she and her household sisters have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Immokalee and Providence House in Naples. Mary is a Mother Teresa Scholar, and has previously sung at the Founders Dinner with AMU’s a capella group, The Accidentals. In addition, Mary is a tutor for the Economics Department, and is the current President of the Ave Maria Economics Society.
“It was a little scary finally to decide on a major, which could potentially affect the entire direction of my life,” Mary commented. “I initially chose economics, because I knew it would provide me with opportunities in many different fields. I loved all of my “core” liberal arts classes, but the one thing I felt was missing from my education was an understanding of economics. We need more people who are able to bridge the gap and explain the relationship between faith and what’s going on in the world. I am studying economics to fill that gap, and to truly give me a well-rounded education, and I have not been disappointed. I love the professors and the program.”
In Spring 2015, Mary took the semester off from her studies to intern with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia. The internship is a ten-week program that enables university students to work in U.S. consulates and embassies around the world. During her internship, Mary was sent to the U.S. Embassy in Croatia, where she shadowed people in different departments, researched economic policy, participated in an international conference on economics and international relations, wrote speeches for the U.S. Ambassador, and more. “Basically,” she said, “I was able to experience the life of a diplomat. I went to work every day, attended meetings, and had my own responsibilities.” Mary excelled in her internship, and received high praise from each of the embassy departments that she worked in.
She continued: “Ave Maria has shaped my ability to succeed and to have the confidence to face challenging standards. Being able to take advantage of the resources here, the amazing professors, the study groups, and the well-rounded education is truly what made it possible for me to get the internship. It’s unbelievable how amazing our professors are; they are so qualified and so passionate about what they teach, and are always willing to help and guide their students. I wouldn’t have had this internship opportunity if I had just been a “number” at another university.”
Mary plans to graduate from Ave Maria University in December 2015, and will be traveling to Puerto Rico for a mission trip with the Mother Theresa Scholar Program in January 2016. She is studying for the Foreign Service Officer Test and applying for research positions, but she is also considering graduate school. “I’ve worked really hard,” she concluded, “to be at a point where I actually have a lot of options: graduate school, working for the State Department, research opportunities, and more.” She is confident in the quality of her education, and she is enthusiastic about the future.