NSA alum Medora Ahern in the New York Times

Posted on October 19, 2015

In this week's "Sunday Review" section of The New York Times, columnist Molly Worthen, who also wrote a 2007 article about New Saint Andrews College for the New York Times Magazine, interviews recent alumna Medora Ahern:

“Note-taking should be just as eloquent as speaking,” said Medora Ahern, a recent graduate of New Saint Andrews College in Idaho. I tracked her down after a visit there persuaded me that this tiny Christian college has preserved some of the best features of a traditional liberal arts education. She told me how learning to take attentive, analytical notes helped her succeed in debates with her classmates. “Debate is really all about note-taking, dissecting your opponent’s idea, reducing it into a single sentence. There’s something about the brevity of notes, putting an idea into a smaller space, that allows you psychologically to overcome that idea.”

According to Medora's husband, John, "Molly Worthen was originally going to write on the decline of oral exams, but after interviewing Medora, she changed her topic because, as she put it privately to Medora, "Your comments about note-taking clarified for me the best way to make the points I hoped to make.'"


Ahern, who graduated with honors in 2015, was the winner of last spring's 3-Minute Thesis competition. She and John live, work, and share their considerable musical talents here in Moscow.

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