Hometown: Columbia, S.C.
"When I was on the Davidson in Peru program, I decided I wanted to learn another language with a different alphabet, so I chose Arabic," DeKnight says. "I absolutely loved the language. It's just the coolest thing—the way that everything in Arabic is interconnected." An International Studies concentration helps her ground the language in cultural context with Middle Eastern history and religion classes. "You can't take the language and really benefit from it without knowing the culture. They're completely intertwined."
A Dean Rusk Travel Grant and a McCall Grant allowed DeKnight to spend a summer in Amman, Jordan. "It was really intense, but I loved going to class every day. I can actually have a conversation now!" The program covered a year's worth of instruction in just two months. A culturally sensitive outlook allowed her to accept a different set of gender expectations. "We had to dress very modestly. Our school had a dress code-pants or skirt or dress to the ankles, and then shirts had to be to the neck and the elbow—but I never felt like it was an issue. It was just something that I adjusted to because I wanted to respect the culture."
In Defense of Honor
As a student solicitor, DeKnight defends the Honor Code in Honor Council hearings. "The Honor Code just means so much here at Davidson. In the law world, we're the prosecutors, but it's very different in an Honor Council hearing—we're all working together for the benefit of the students. It's interesting, and it's hard, but we don't feel like the bad guys."
A knee injury briefly sidelined this captain of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee Team, but less time on the field allowed for more time in the library working on her Kendrick K. Kelley Honors History thesis. In 2009-10 the Kelley Program offered a generous stipend to five honors students for archival research. DeKnight conducted the majority of her research in Spanish for her 80-page thesis on Chilean President Salvador Allende's political rhetoric. "After a year of research, I feel like I've been able to contribute something new to scholarship."