Madi Johnson


Students Speak: Should Maryland Admit Syrian Refugees?


This post is part of a student series written by BMS Senior Madi Johnson. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] if you’re interested in commenting on a future topic.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, over eleven million people have left Syria to seek asylum, according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. The majority of refugees have gone to neighboring countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, while an estimated 150,000 have fled to the European Union. A smaller group of about 2,200 have been admitted to the United States.

Syrian refugees strike in front of Budapest's Keleti railway station on September 3.
Syrian refugees strike in front of Budapest’s Keleti     railway station on September 3.

Syrians hoping to seek asylum in the United States must undergo a rigorous screening process that takes 18 to 24 months to complete. According to Brian Hansfeld, a UNHCR spokesman, the UNHCR selects the most vulnerable individuals — such as single mothers, torture victims, abandoned children, and those with special medical needs — to recommended for resettlement. They must undergo security screenings from multiple agencies and in-person interviews with Homeland Security. Specialists working for the Department of Defense and the FBI review biographical claims and check fingerprints, passports, family registries and military records.

Students Speak: 2016 U.S. Presidential Election


This post is part of a student series written by BMS Senior Madi Johnson. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] if you’re interested in commenting on a future topic.

“Immigration,” “gun control,” “education,” “taxes,” “economy,” “same-sex marriage,” “health care,” “climate change,” “foreign policy,” and “environment”according to a three-month study done by Google Trends, these are the ten most searched-for buzzwords of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. With so many different issues and candidates to keep track of—as of now, nearly twenty men and women have officially entered the race—and a Republican and Democratic debate already behind us, the election season is beginning to heat up.  

Students Speak: Should Colleges Ban Fraternities and Sororities from Campus?


This article is part of a student series written by BMS Senior Madi Johnson. Feel free to contact her at: [email protected] if you’re interested in commenting on a future topic. 


Last November, an 18 year-old Kappa Sigma pledge at West Virginia University was found unresponsive at an off-campus fraternity house with a blood-alcohol level six times the legal limit. He subsequently died from alcohol poisoning, and the national branch of Kappa Sigma pulled its charter from WVU. Last fall, Johns Hopkins University banned open social events at fraternities after two allegations of sexual assault associated with a fraternity. In March, a video surfaced of the Oklahoma Kappa chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon singing a racist chant aboard a bus. More recently, the Sigma Nu fraternity was suspended from Old Dominion University on August 24 after hanging three sexually suggestive banners from the front porch of members’ off-campus house.

Students Speak: Will More Gun Control End Gun Violence?


handgunAt the end of July, Baltimore surpassed 40 homicides in a month for the second time this year, bringing the tally to 185 homicides since January, a 60 percent rise. Baltimore City Police estimate that the majority of the deaths occurred as a result of gun violence. Just last Thursday, three were shot in North Baltimore, on York Road, just south of Cold Spring Lane.

Students Speak: Should Baltimore Take Down Its Confederate Monuments?



Lee & Jackson Monument
Jackson and Lee at Wyman Park, Baltimore.

This summer, we have asked our intern, Bryn Mawr School Senior Madi Johnson, to get some insight from area students about the hot issues of the day. We want to know what the leaders of tomorrow think! Want to add your voice to the debate?  Email Madi at [email protected] 

Earlier this summer, 21 year-old Dylann Roof opened fire on a Bible study group at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina leaving nine people dead. Several days later, images surfaced of Roof posing with the Confederate flag. Roof’s association with the flag, an emblem of Southern heritage to some and racism to others, triggered a debate about the appropriateness of such symbols across the nation, including in Baltimore.