Many of our alumni are in graduate programs while some have already started their careers. Just like our scholars, our alumni have varied skills and interests and are in a range of graduate and professional programs. Take a look!
Olivia Walch '11
Murray 1693 Scholar
“I have to be careful answering this question,” Olivia Walch ’11 says.
She wants to be clear that William & Mary is a great school on its own, but that her 1693 Scholarship took her experience over the top. When she got word that she had won the scholarship, she “reacted with embarrassing gusto.”
Walch loved the ability for 1693 Scholars to register for any class they wanted. The academic opportunities provided were invaluable, she says.
“There were no barriers,” she adds. “I really accelerated. I was able to go into research much earlier than I would have.”
Her mathematics research and scholarship funding took her to a linear algebra conference in Portugal one summer, where she presented on “The Commutivity of Tri-Diagonals” with a group of collaborators. She won the conference’s Young Investigator award.
Today, Walch is a doctoral candidate in the University of Michigan’s math department. She credits the 1693 Scholars Program with giving her a leg up on some of her fellow aspiring Ph.D.s.
“I think the push in the Scholars Program to do independent research and have that background in self-directed work is so valuable,” she says.
On her own, Walch has already released a mobile app called Entrain, which is designed to lessen the impact of jetlag. It’s based on her research into sleep and circadian rhythm and has been downloaded over 120,000 times.
But that’s not to say Walch is all business. As a W&M student, she found time to draw cartoons for the Flat Hat — getting named “America’s Next Great Cartoonist” by the Washington Post in the process — and to make lasting bonds with her fellow students. On a recent visit to campus, she found that the current group of 1693 Scholars is carrying the torch admirably.
“I was blown over by how bonded they seem,” she says. “I have to encourage that as strongly as possible — hang out with the other 1693 Scholars and get to know them.”
“We still stay in touch. These really valuable connections that, here four years down the line, are still treasured by me.”
Jake Reeder '09
Murray 1693 Scholar
It’s not always easy to tell which side of the planet Jake Reeder ’09 is on, but wherever he is, he’s probably keeping busy. He is headed to London to begin consulting with Bain & Company. But before the big move, he planned to get married — in Honduras. Fourteen of his fellow William & Mary classmates were making the trek, including a few of his fellow 1693 Scholars.
As a Scholar, Reeder took full advantage of the early class-registration program and took 400-level classes in a dozen different subject areas — in some cases without the prerequisite. By graduation, he was a Phi Beta Kappa double-major in neuroscience and philosophy, and met some VIPs along the way.
“[The 1693 Scholars Program] allowed me to have private meetings with basically any speaker or guest who came to William & Mary,” he says. “I even got to (briefly) meet Queen Elizabeth II when she came in 2007.”
One 400-level course in particular played an important role in his post-graduation plans. After early registration helped him get into “Entrepreneurial Ventures” at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, Reeder was inspired.
“I would never have gotten into that class if it weren’t for the [1693 Scholarship], and it was what persuaded me to go to business school.”
Reeder just completed a joint public policy and M.B.A. program at Duke University. While at Duke, he studied energy policy, finance and strategy and participated in a project to help major automakers conserve energy during manufacturing.
But the benefits provided by his scholarship don’t all appear on his resume. Reeder says it helped him step outside his comfort zone. The 1693 Scholars Program put him in front of numerous leaders and in social receptions, building his confidence in himself. He also says William & Mary’s strong liberal arts background has helped him prepare for graduate school and his career ahead.
So on the verge of a trans-Atlantic move, Reeder is planning to have a long, successful career on both sides of the pond. And the 1693 Scholars Program helped him get there.
“Being a Scholar unlocked worlds of opportunity for me at William & Mary,” he says.
Elsa Voytas '13
Murray 1693 Scholar
Elsa Voytas ’13 has taken her research thousands of miles from campus on both sides of the Atlantic — but she credits her 1693 Scholarship with laying a strong foundation.
“It creates an unparalleled undergraduate experience,” she says. “Your research is going to be funded and you’ll have excellent relationships with the professors and other Scholars. I was really happy.”
As soon as she arrived on campus, Voytas connected with Professor Mike Tierney ’87 thanks to 1693 Scholars director Dan Cristol and began her university career with strong undergraduate research.
“As soon as I stepped in the door, I was able to hit the ground running and get those experiences from day one,” she says.
During her summer breaks, Voytas used her 1693 Scholar research funds to study dictatorships in Latin America and international justice in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Guatemala, she studied post-conflict resolution with William & Mary Professor Betsy Konefal. Building close connections with faculty, she says, is one of the most critical benefits the 1693 Scholars Program can provide.
“These relationships are ones that really teach you more than you’ll learn in a classroom,” she adds. “They can really be lifelong relationships and help you even years after graduation.”
Today, Voytas is wrapping up two years at BoozAllenHamilton to begin a political science Ph.D. program at Princeton University. The opportunity to continue conducting relevant research and mentor a new group of students is one that was too good to pass up.
“I’m really excited to be able to give back and build that kind of relationship with my students and help them achieve their goals. It’s because I am tremendously grateful for the way that professors have helped me at every turn,” says Voytas.
As it turns out, her thesis — on research conducted in Brazil and Argentina and funded by her scholarship — was her writing sample for admission to Princeton.
“The research that I did as a 1693 Scholar really encouraged me to apply to a Ph.D. program where I could make a career of doing research and exploring topics that I am passionate about,” she says. “I know the importance because professors have helped me.”
And now, thanks in part to her 1693 Scholarship, she has the chance to pay it forward.
Irène Mathieu ’09
Murray 1693 Scholar
An international relations major at William & Mary, Irène Mathieu '09 helped conduct a longitudinal health study in the Dominican Republic, studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and in Cusco, Peru; took piano lessons; acted in a theater production; took part in multiple cultural events and studied three languages as an undergraduate student.
"My college years were a time of immense personal growth," Mathieu said. "Being a Murray 1693 Scholar enriched this experience by providing me with financial freedom, an academic home on campus and perks like opportunities to meet incredible visitors to campus."
Mathieu currently is a fourth-year medical student at Vanderbilt University. She said seemingly minor perks of the 1693 Scholars Program, such as priority class registration, had a huge impact on her "ability to intellectually explore in college." Her 1693 Scholars project examined campus-community partnerships for health and social change.
"That project was the formalization of my first thoughts about the role of academics in communities and the meaning of engaged scholarship," Mathieu said. "I have continued to explore this question throughout medical school, and I plan to practice community-engaged primary care in an academic setting in order to devote my career to these types of partnerships."
Mathieu wants to become a pediatrician, serving patients from underserved communities.
"I would like to teach methodologies for community-engaged primary care and health promotion both in the United States and abroad," she said. "Ultimately, I hope to get involved in national and global public health policy through a social justice lens."
For current 1693 Scholars, Mathieu offered this advice: "Learn, have fun and get outside your comfort zone. You will be grateful later when you look back on how much you’ve grown."
Mathieu, a writer whose works have been published extensively in literary magazines and journals, is considering pursuing master’s degrees in public health and in fine arts for creative writing. Her first chapbook of poetry will be released this year by Dancing Girl Press.
The 1693 Scholars Program at William & Mary attracts students who have many college options, Mathieu said.
"My college experience reinforced my commitment to public education and to public academic institutions as critical agents of education and ultimately social change and societal progress," she said. "Providing other students with the opportunity to learn similar lessons is certainly worth supporting."
Rachael Tatman '12
Murray 1693 Scholar
Rachael Tatman '12 said being named a Murray 1693 Scholar at William & Mary was one of the best things to ever happen to her.
"I was incredibly happy at William & Mary," she said. "I made amazing friends and treasured memories, of course, but I also had a chance to seriously pursue linguistics research, which is one of those things that you really do need to learn by doing."
Tatman earned a bachelor's in linguistics and English at William & Mary. She now is a doctoral student studying linguistics at the University of Washington. She credits the 1693 Scholars Program for making her a stronger candidate for graduate school and for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in linguistics she currently holds.
"I was able to conduct my own independent research in undergrad. So I already had a focus when I arrived at graduate school, and I was able to hit the ground running," she said. "Having a history of completed research projects — and some publications — didn’t hurt either."
The 1693 Scholars Program allowed Tatman to pursue research directly related to her current studies and also in children’s fantasy literature and bookbinding.
"College is a time to try new things, and the 1693 Scholars program is there to help you," she said. "Like William & Mary, the 1693 Scholars Program gives exceptional students the resources and opportunities they need to explore and grow to reach their full potential."
Tatman said she would love to be a professor of linguistics, but she recognizes that there may be opportunities to work as a corporate researcher.
"It's no exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t be where I am now without the 1693 Scholars Program," she said. "And I think that nurturing amazing students is not only desirable, but necessary. It's an investment in the future."
Peter Zimmerman '09
Murray 1693 Scholar
The music industry has undergone major changes in recent years. It’s a fact Peter Zimmerman '09 — who works in music marketing — is more aware of than most. He says his time as a Murray 1693 Scholar at William & Mary taught him invaluable career skills, such as the importance of creating long- and short-term goals and following through.
"Music and marketing are both industries where innovative ideas are incredibly important and are the bedrock of a successful campaign, but they’re only worthwhile if there’s significant follow through," he said.
Zimmerman, an art history major at William & Mary, was selected as a 1693 Scholar while the program was in its infancy. His was the program's second class, and he describes the experience as "hugely rewarding."
"There wasn't a big roadmap for us, but we all bonded together. And then, under the great leadership of (program director) Dan Cristol, we really grew together as a family," he said. "It galvanized our desire to make an impact at William & Mary and beyond. It's one of my fondest memories from school, hands down."
Zimmerman is head of publicity for the digital music marketing firm Toolshed Inc. and runs the company's San Francisco office. Toolshed works with independent musicians, bands and record labels to build individual, unique marketing plans. The company also provides consulting services to major international companies on music licensing.
"I really believe the music business is where my heart lies, but my main academic background is in contemporary art," Zimmerman said. "I'd love to build a hybrid model of new music and new art working together, with a gallery setting and live music venue. There could be great opportunities for sharing of ideas and artistic experimentation."
He said current 1693 Scholars should study diverse fields and take advantage of opportunities to "work with some of the best faculty in the nation."
"Some of my favorite moments at William & Mary were taking classes in religious studies, chemistry and anthropology — all of which were outside of my path in art history," Zimmerman said.
The 1693 Scholars Program provides leadership opportunities and encourages students to engage in academic endeavors that expand their minds and impact the world. "I couldn't be a bigger supporter of the program," Zimmerman said. "I hope I can do my part to make it available to students for generations to come."