<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=164779580641567&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Featured Alumna - Margot Serra, ‘10 (8th Grade)

Featured Alumna - Margot Serra, ‘10 (8th Grade)

Silicon Valley International School (INTL) has long been known for its unique bilingual and multicultural pedagogy, nurturing young minds to thrive in a globalized world. Alumna Margot Serra stands as a superb example of the positive effect of this educational approach. From her early days at INTL* to her current pursuit of a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, Margot's journey exemplifies the impact of an international education

Cultivating Curiosity
Margot's educational journey began in the French immersion program at INTL, where she spent her formative years from 2005 to 2010, spanning 4th-8th Grades. Her time at INTL wasn't just a period of academic growth, but also an opportunity for cultivating a curiosity that would shape her future endeavors. Margot fondly recalls, "My time at INTL had a profound impact on my life, significantly shaping my future academic interests."

Margot-KidEngaging history and geography classes with M. Olivier Berton and biology classes with Mme. Elisabeth Lepert played pivotal roles in Margot's academic development. These classes ignited a passion for ancient cultures, history, and science, laying the foundation for her future pursuits in bioarchaeology and paleopathology.

High School Adventures and Academic Triumphs
Following her years at INTL, Margot continued her academic journey at Sequoia High School in the International Baccalaureate program, graduating in 2014. However, her educational trajectory was far from conventional. At McGill University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Anthropology with a focus on archaeology and Molecular Cell Biology in 2018.

Margot's insatiable thirst for knowledge, fostered at INTL, led her to pursue not one but two Master's Degrees. In 2019, she achieved a Master of Science in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology at the University College London, delving into the exploration of bilateral symmetry in subadult remains. Following this, Margot recently earned her Master of Arts in Anthropology with a focus on archaeology at San Francisco State University.

Embarking on Global Archaeological Expeditions
Margot's journey wasn't confined to textbooks and classrooms; she embarked on numerous archaeological and forensic projects across the globe. Her travels included surveys of the Great Basin region in the USA, excavations of an Etruscan tomb in Tuscany, Italy, and the recovery of unknown individuals in San Bernardino County, California.
One of her notable roles was co-directing the PARAMa project in the Cordillera Negra region of Peru. Together with an international team, Margot excavated Prehispanic tombs, dating between 1000 - 1400 AD, unraveling the mysteries of the past.
Margot - Cave EntranceReflecting on her MA thesis project, Margot shares, "for my MA thesis project, titled 'Paleopathology of Commingled Remains: A Case Study from the Prehispanic Highlands of Peru,' I analyzed diseases and trauma in the individuals from Prehispanic tombs, exploring the feasibility of paleopathological analyses of looted and disarticulated human remains."

Towards a Ph.D.: Bridging Past and Present
Margot's academic journey reached new heights as she commenced her Ph.D. program in Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, fully funded by the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Her research focus expands on her MA project, investigating the biocultural effects of climate change and human-environmental interactions during the Late Prehispanic Periods in the Ancash Department of Peru.

Margot's Ph.D. journey aims to explore health and disease patterns in the region, emphasizing infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. Her work seeks to understand the impacts of environmental variability, culture, and technology on human adaptability and resiliency during this period.

Language Skills and Global Identity: A Gift from INTL
Margot attributes a significant part of her success to the language skills and global perspective she acquired at INTL. Speaking about her experiences as an archaeologist in the Peruvian Andes, she states, "as an archaeologist conducting research in the Peruvian Andes, I use Spanish, which I first learned with M. Paul Dulac on a daily basis. In addition, INTL equipped me with the essential skills and perspectives I needed to then embark on my various academic and research ventures in diverse parts of the world, not just Peru but Canada, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom as well.”
Margot - SittingA Truly International Student
In concluding her reflections on INTL's influence, Margot emphasizes, "my INTL education helped forge me into a fully international student. INTL’s uniquely international education fueled my passion for traveling and exploring new cultures, histories, and people, shaping both my academic and personal journeys in profound ways."
Margot - FjordThis international identity played a pivotal role in Margot's application and subsequent award of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The scholarship, a prestigious honor supporting international scholars at the University of Cambridge, recognizes Margot's exceptional achievements and contributions to the field of archaeology.

A Legacy of Global Impact
Margot Serra's story exemplifies the essence of an INTL education—an education that not only imparts knowledge but fosters curiosity, cultural understanding, and a global perspective. From the classrooms of Silicon Valley to the archaeological sites of Peru, Margot's journey showcases the positive impact of an international education, preparing students not just for academic success but for a lifetime of meaningful contributions to the world. As she continues her research, Margot Serra serves as an excellent example to future generations of INTL students, demonstrating the bouquet of possibilities that unfold when one's education is rooted in a multicultural and bilingual foundation.

If you are an INTL alumni who would like to have your own story shared with the community, please can submit an alumni update form here

To be a part of all that INTL has to offer and start your international journey today, please visit INTL's admissions page

*INTL was formerly known as International School of the Peninsula.

Fostering bilingual leaders with boundless futures.
Learn more about our school.

An International Baccalaureate education from preschool to high school.