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Honors Week Spotlight: Madison Forbes, ’18

English-philosophy double major heading to Fordham for PhD

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When Madison Forbes, ’18, was young, someone made the mistake of calling her stupid.

“I set out to prove them wrong,” she said. “Along the way I forgot about what they said and fell in love with literature.”

Madison, an English and philosophy double major with a minor in classical studies, is heading off to Fordham University this fall after being accepted for a fully funded PhD program focused on the study of early modern literature. 

Her ultimate goal is to earn a doctoral degree to live her dream of becoming a university professor.

“My whole world is academics,” Madison said.

She is also receiving the Dr. Barbara Chellis Memorial Fellowship on Wednesday during Honors Week, where she will be celebrated with other high-achieving students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. SEE PROGRAM BELOW FOR LIST OF ALL HONOREES.

As an undergraduate, under the guidance of her faculty mentor Dr. James Crowley, the North Attleboro native threw herself into academia.

“Bridgewater opened my eyes about the opportunities that I have,” Madison said.

One of those opportunities was a summer research project funded by the Adrian Tinsley Program. Her topic “Poetry of Body and Soul: Personhood in John Donne” is also the backbone of her English honors thesis. 

“Being involved in honors and this research changed everything,” Madison said.

Her love of Latin led her in Rome last summer, where she participated in the Paideia Living Latin program. For five weeks, she was allowed to speak only Latin.

“You might call it Latin-Nerd camp,” Madison said. “It was exhausting, overwhelming and life changing.”

Inspired by the experience, Madison began teaching Latin to students at the Davis Middle School in Brockton.

Not all of her success, however, involves literature. Last Spring the self-proclaimed overachiever founded the South Shore Philosophy Conference.During the event, philosophy scholars from BSU, the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Dartmouth, and Stonehill University gathered to present their research on various topics.

Whomever called Madison “stupid” clearly underestimated her potential. Those thoughtless words may have once bothered her, but no longer have an impact.

“I am excited, overwhelmed and grateful,” Madison said of a future that looks more promising by the day. (Story and photo by Heather Harris Michonski, University News)

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