• Perkins resident Laura Hensch graduated with honors from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on June 5.

The 2004 graduate of Stillwater High School received her artium baccalaureus in English and American Literature and language in Harvard Yard’s Tercentenary Theatre. In attendance were her parents, Phil and Gayle Hensch, Perkins; her brother, Daniel, a second-year student at OU law school; and her maternal grandfather, Robert J. Gilmore, Oklahoma City.

In high school, Hensch graduated first in a class of 403, was named an Academic All-Stater and received numerous scholarships and awards. In 2003, she was the only high school student to be named a Sir Alexander Fleming Scholar at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, where she completed an independent diabetes research project, published a paper on her findings and received a stipend of $2,500.

She practiced her oboe three to four hours a day, played principal oboe in the SHS Wind Ensemble and was accepted into the OSU Wind Ensemble in her senior year.

At Harvard, despite holding down a part-time job and dealing with Type-1 diabetes, Hensch excelled. Her senior tutorial adviser wrote in his evaluation that her paper on James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” was the best undergraduate paper he had read at Harvard. In her sophomore year, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jorie Graham asked Hensch to join her 10-person poetry writing seminar.

She participated in the Harvard Wind Ensemble, the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, the Radcliffe Choral Society, the Harvard Libertarian Forum and the Harvard Poetry Society. She also co-created a campus blog and was a campaign manager in the 2007 student government elections.

She used her part-time job savings to live alone in Paris for three months in summer 2006 to broaden her horizons and immerse herself in French culture.

She plans to take a year off and work in Austin, Texas, to save money, relax and write poetry before pursuing a doctorate in English literature. She can be reached at laurahensch@gmail.com.

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