Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership


Masha Bandouil

Masha Bandouil
First Year
Dance, Biology
Frisco, TX

Soviet passports stamped with the word “Jew” sent them across the world looking for a place where that stamp wouldn’t follow them. These passports belonged to my parents, and thus to me. Facing the scar of anti-Semitism marking the face of Russia in 1991, my parents found themselves confronted with two options - continue living as second class citizens or seek a stampless society … Their experience has helped me become aware of other stamps and labels present in our society. The disabled, whose stamp of limitations is a hindrance to being given equal opportunities, is of special interest to me. In my tenth grade year, I realized that our underdeveloped special needs program did not provide significant opportunities for extracurricular activities. So, I created dance classes for elementary special needs students through which they could be empowered to take control of their bodies and communicate beyond their barriers … The Gannon Leadership Program is built on the idea of helping women discover their inner power and using that to create a more humane and just society … I am ready to be a part of a new group of people with whom I can learn how to continue my family’s legacy and lead my own fight against prejudice.