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."
Tina Ho '09
Murray 1693 Scholar
Tina Ho’s college decision was one of the toughest she has faced in her young life. But ultimately she realized a remarkable undergraduate experience was waiting for her in Williamsburg, with the opportunity to become part of the 1693 Scholars Program. As a Murray Scholar, Ho not only had access to unique learning opportunities, but the scholarship made it possible for the neuroscience major to branch out from her pre-med focus and pick up a second major in international relations. The scholarship also allowed Ho to spend a semester abroad at the University of Oxford and to attend a summer internship with Operation Smile Vietnam (OSV). Ho later returned to Vietnam as a medical student to study the epidemiology of cleft lip and palate among OSV patients.
“I was touched by how easily the patients and theirfamilies confided in me and their appreciative attitude towards me even though I had no effect on their care — just a mere exchange of smiles goes a long way,” says Ho. “From my summers in Vietnam, I returned with mental images of many innocent-faced patients and a re-invigorated dream to incorporate service into my future career on a global level.”
Ho went on to the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where she was drawn to the intricate anatomy of the head and neck. She is now in her last year of residency in otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) at the University of Kansas. After her residency, Ho plans on pursuing a fellowship in facial plastic surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. She appreciates the challenges of restoring both appearance and function that arise with reconstruction cases.
“I enjoy playing a decisive role as a surgeon in providing immediate care to my patients. It has been an extremely rewarding opportunity to help care for others in a field that always mentally challenges me and pushes me to do my best,” Ho says.
It was Ho’s William & Mary education and experiences that gave her a solid foundation for her interest in service and global health.
“My undergraduate endeavors, both related and unrelated to medicine, fostered the other priority in my life — my passion for service — and its evolving relationship with my medical ambitions,”says Ho. “Beyond all ofthe given intimate advantages of being a Murray Scholar, I have also gained an even more priceless benefit from the program: the realization of how spectacularthis college is, based upon the multitude of opportunities and close-knit community that have fostered my combined passions for medicine and service.”
Caitlin Clements '11
Murray 1693 Scholar
Caitlin Clements did not have a typical first encounter with William & Mary. After a flight delay, she was late to the opening dinner of the 1693 Scholars interview weekend and had to change from flight apparel to dinner attire in the back of a taxi. While her first-ever journey to Williamsburg was accompanied by nerves, as soon as Caitlin arrived on campus, she knew she had found “her people.”
From the moment orientation week began, Clements says that the 1693 Scholars Program situated her within a tight-knit network of friends and scholars who helped her find her niches at William & Mary all the more quickly. And some of those who embraced her that first day have stayed with Clements long after she graduated.
“The faculty support and guidance offered from Dan Cristol and Kim Van Deusen is truly unique,” she says. “To have mentors like that in your corner during your W&M years — and well beyond graduation — is an extraordinary gift.”
Today, Clements currently works in New York as an assistant producer in a theatrical production office, Stacey Mindich Productions, which primarily focuses on Broadway and off-Broadway work.
However, she credits her 1693 Scholarship with laying the strong foundation that allowed her the opportunities,resources and support to make the initial move to the Big Apple. Clements was able to complete her master’s degree in cinema studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, while simultaneously screening her first feature film “Rough Draft” at a number of film festivals across the country, a film made possible only through the project funding granted through the 1693 Scholars Program.
Right now, Clements is focused on the November debut of her upcoming Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” which she helped co-produce. The show just wrapped up an off-Broadway run in New York this summer after its debut production in Washington, D.C., and the support of those at her alma mater continues to pour in.
“Dan, Kim and the 1693 Scholars have been so supportive of the production; following its journey with interest and enthusiasm each step of the way, and even bringing a large group of current and alumni scholars to D.C. to see the world-premiere production last summer,” she says.
Although her arrival at the 1693 Scholars weekend was less than smooth, being a William & Mary graduate has meant more to Caitlin than she could have ever imagined:
“Being a student at the university encouraged me to think creatively, to push the boundaries with big and bold ideas, and instilled in me the virtue of being forever intellectually curious and always hungry for new information and experiences — which makes life's journeys all the more fun and interesting!”
Ethan Roday '14
Murray 1693 Scholar
For Ethan Roday, the value of a liberal arts education is “impossible to overstate.”
“I fervently believe that everyone should get a liberal arts education,” he says. “And I fervently believe that William & Mary is among the greatest places in the world to do that.”
By day, he works for Microsoft, optimizing the algorithms that help companies deliver relevant advertising to users. While digging deep into data sets may not seem like a task for your typical liberal-arts graduate, Roday knows his W&M education was indispensible.
“I can’t think of many other universities where I could have double-majored in two such disparate fields as computer science and linguistics and forged deep and personal relationships with professors in both of those departments,” he says.
Roday calls linguistics “the academic love of my life,” and in combination with his computer science background, uses it to refine the processes that match user queries in a search engine like Bing with ads for relevant products and companies, while making sure they can also run flawlessly, thousands of times per second.
Outside of his work, Roday is continuing his musical journey, thanks to unforgettable experiences with W&M’s Botetourt Chamber Singers, better known as the “Bots.”Before arriving in Seattle, he joined them for an international tour which he calls “a perfect capstone to my W&M experience.”
“The director of Bots, Jamie Bartlett, is a prime example of someone who makes W&M such a special place,” he says. “In addition to being an excellent director and a supremely kind person, Dr. B was there for me as a mentor and guide, helping me through major life decisions and providing sage advice and support whenever I needed it.”
His 1693 Scholars research project produced a music notation app for iPad, showing his agility at the intersection of another language — music — and computing. He’s still at it, too: along with his position at Microsoft, he is pursuing a master’s in computational linguistics at the University of Washington in Seattle. It’s another extension of his double major at W&M.
“The central question of computational linguistics — also called Natural Language Processing (NLP) — is how we can use computers to solve problems that have to do with language and ultimately whether we can teach computers to understand language,” he says. “It sits squarely at the intersection of linguistics, computer science and machine learning.”
His master’s work will take him even further onto the cutting edge. Right now, he’s building a computer model that will use linguistic features to predict spontaneous applause in presidential debates. Those passions for language, music and its myriad uses began, in many ways, in Williamsburg.
“I now have a deep appreciation for language and our awesome power to communicate as humans,” he says. “That awareness pervades my life.