Adversity is no hurdle as Radford student reaches new heights
Like many Highlanders, Hunter Mundy wants to make a difference and contribute.
Toward fulfilling her aspirations and building confidence, the senior political science major from Creedmoor, North Carolina spent five weeks at the University of Oxford studying international law through the Oxford Study Abroad Programme.
Her perception of both what was possible for her future and what she is capable of have expanded.
Her life-changing international educational experience in England motivated Mundy to share her experiences and positively impact others. She was a featured panelist on the “Incorporating Global and Intercultural Knowledge as a Highlander” panel at the recent JumpStart Career Conference, hosted by Radford University.
As panelist, Mundy shared insight and experience from her study abroad experience that both tested and inspired her. “I try to give it all I have. Without question, hard work and dedication are paying off for me, Mundy said. “I want to share it and pay It forward.”
She is courageous in pursuing her goals in life and kind to all she encounters. She is an outstanding individual, who is dedicated to making a difference in the communities in which she lives, learns and works. I am confident that Hunter will leave the campus of Radford University as a strong citizen leader prepared to make her mark on the world!"
Mundy was recently honored by Radford University with a nomination as a Rhodes Scholar. Given since 1902, The Rhodes Scholarships are a celebrated international fellowship award. Rhodes Scholars are nominated for outstanding scholarly achievements, character, leadership potential and commitment to others and to the common good.
In Mundy's nomination, President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. proudly shared, “She is courageous in pursuing her goals in life and kind to all she encounters. She is an outstanding individual, who is dedicated to making a difference in the communities in which she lives, learns and works. I am confident that Hunter will leave the campus of Radford University as a strong citizen leader prepared to make her mark on the world!"
Without question, Mundy is achieving goals, celebrating successes and growing along the way. The emerging scholar is also a student-athlete – a corner infielder on the Highlander Softball team – and Cabinet Secretary of Highlander Pride for the Radford University Student Government Association (SGA).
Indeed, Mundy is both absorbing and reflecting the Highlander spirit – she is responsive, resilient and real.
At Oxford, a venerable English university, Mundy took classes that featured “a different style of learning.” Mundy described her Oxford educational experience as being focused on broad topics and led by “tutors,” or elite faculty in her field.
Lectures were complemented by deep research and assigned readings in Oxford’s 500-year-old Bodleian Law Library – a location familiar to fans of the Harry Potter movies as the Hogwarts Library. The capstone of her study abroad experience was three essays on the legal justification of force.
The University of Oxford, considered to be the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation, is made up of 39 constituent colleges encompassing a range of academic departments. The Oxford Study Abroad Programme afforded her the opportunity to learn from some of the best in those academic departments. Mundy participated in the Reagan/Thatcher Lectures Series.
“I am so much more confident now in my writing,” said Mundy. “I know I have been challenged and edited by some of the smartest people I have met in my life.”
As her scholarship evolved, so did her sense of global citizenship and responsibility.
“At Oxford, I got a view and feel for others’ perceptions of the United States and studied the arguments about the legality of 9/11 and the responses. I feel like I have the capacity and want to make a difference,” Mundy said.
Mundy’s quest for intellectual challenge began when she came to Radford.
“I knew coming here that I wanted to study abroad,” Mundy said.
As a student in Radford’s prestigious Honors College, a varsity athlete and student leader, Mundy’s schedule was full. Finding the right program and realizing her study abroad aspirations required additional individual research and consultations with the Center for Global Education and Engagement.
Mundy was accepted into the Oxford Study Abroad Programme, organized by the Washington International Studies Council, and achieved a cherished educational goal. “I had to find a way,” Mundy said. “When I was accepted last fall, I was thrilled.”
The challenge of realizing that goal, her first-ever solo international educational experience, was complicated shortly before departure. Tendinitis forced her to wear a boot while navigating through the international airports on her way to her Oxford residence and across the historic campus.
As an athlete, playing through pain is part of the experience. To stay mobile, Mundy relied on her Radford support as an international student in England as she had for three years as a softball player.
“There was no way I was not going” Mundy said. “Assistant Athletic Trainer Nicole Segela and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Jennifer Norton were helpful and wonderful. They gave me stretches, exercises and workouts to do, while I traveled and we checked in regularly while I was over there.”
Standing alone in the batter’s box in a clutch situation is one thing, but being alone and exploring a foreign country is another. Mundy dug deep as a traveler to rise to the occasion as she did when she earned All-Big South First Team honors at third base and Big South All-Freshman Team recognition in 2017. She was named to the 2019 Big South Conference All-Academic team most recently.
As an aspiring law student, the Oxford experience has embraced every opportunity for additional intellectual challenge and rigor.
“The lectures and tutors made me want more. I was immersed in the topics and challenged by the arguments.” Mundy said. “I can be defensive and afraid to be wrong. I had to write critically and subjectively and then defend as my tutors and colleagues challenged my thinking. The experience was so valuable, but uncomfortable at times Although it was an academic setting, I was able to use some of the life lessons head softball coach, Hope Creasy had taught: be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
The international experience expanded her confidence and her horizons.
“I was standing at Trafalgar Square in London, and it dawned on me. I am in London and there Is so much this world has to offer," Mundy said.
Mundy’s worldview was challenged in class and out.
“There was a lot of local interaction when we went out. Sometimes, it was non-censored,” Mundy said. “It is amazing how people think. I was exposed to so much and learned from so many. I enjoyed bouncing opinions and ideas around and became more comfortable as I learned that it was okay to feel vulnerable.”
With an international experience in the books, Mundy is prepared to continue reaching new heights by making the most of her Highlander experience before she closes one chapter and begins another.
Regardless of where life takes her, she will forever be a Highlander and positively impacted due to the transformational opportunities provided throughout her Radford journey.
“Responsive. Resilient. Real.” is an online story series published by Radford University that began in spring 2019. The ongoing series celebrates the Highlander spirit of students, faculty, staff and alumni by sharing their unique stories and their strong sense of Highlander pride. Through being responsive, resilient and real, Highlanders are making a positive impact and leaving a lasting legacy on our campus and in communities around the world.