Deborah Ou-Yang, MSFS '15

Student Spotlight by Yuhan Liu, MSFS '16

With the festive season fast approaching, Georgetown University (GU) Orchestra is about to kick off its annual concert at Gaston Hall on November 23rd. Deborah Ou-Yang (MSFS ’15), last year’s first-chair cellist, is the first and, so far, only student from MSFS to join the orchestra. Between managing schoolwork, interning off campus at USAID and on campus at the MSFS admissions office, Debi found some time to share with us her story as a cellist, the upcoming concert and her thoughts on MSFS.

Born into a musical family, Debi started playing cello at the age of ten when she was barely as tall as the instrument. “My family used to joke about seeing a ‘floating cello’ whenever I played.” Debi joined the GU Orchestra last year and has been practicing with the group every Monday and Wednesday. “Playing cello has always been my form of stress release. It soothes me and reminds me of who I truly am, like an old friend does.” Debi said. “Like sports for many, playing cello helps me exercise a different part of my brain after a long day of school or work.”

Like almost every MSFS candidate, Debi has an interesting story to share on her experiences prior to coming to the Hilltop. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, an English teaching assistant in South Korea and an editor at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Debi’s explorations have continued since she joined the MSFS family in 2013. She spent last summer in Zambia working with USAID, during which she published an article on charcoal production in USAID’s official online magazine FrontLines. While pursuing each exciting new opportunity, cello has remained Debi’s unyielding passion. When asked how MSFS has changed her life, Debi highlights the community and “the connections we build that last a lifetime.”

As MSFS students, we’ve all had one of those moments when we are pleasantly surprised by how tremendously talented our classmates are. On November 23rd, be sure to come check out this year’s Georgetown University Orchestra concert and prepare to be amazed again.

Learn more about other MSFS students here.