Why did you choose William & Mary?
William & Mary won me over with its beautiful campus, its great professors, and its collaborative atmosphere. On my three visits to the College, I really got the sense that any student was willing to give and receive help from any classmate at any time. Such a sense of community drew me in like no other college I had visited, and I was not mistaken in my instincts. The student body is welcoming and the professors are always willing to help. So far, William & Mary has provided me with an unbeatable academic and personal experience, and I’m finding more reasons to love the College every day.
What was the aspect of the Murray Scholarship that attracted you most?
Naturally, I was enticed by the financial benefits of the Murray Scholarship. There was one other aspect that I found particularly exciting, though, and that was early course registration. I thought the ability to register before anyone else at the College was an invaluable opportunity, and it has certainly paid off. As someone who was starting both of his majors from scratch, it was invaluable for me to be able to craft exactly the schedule I needed to hit the ground running. I continue to be thankful for early registration every semester. By the end of this school year, I will have completed all of the core requirements for my Computer Science major, including the classes that are usually filled with just juniors and seniors. Priority registration has allowed me to get the most out of my academic experience here at William and Mary.
What scholarly activities have you been involved in on campus?
The undergraduate research community at William & Mary is truly fabulous. As a sophomore, I am researching with a group in the Computer Science department focusing on the security vulnerabilities of mobile applications. I am the only undergraduate in the group, but I am treated as an equal among several other Masters and PhD students. At a big research university, I don’t feel as though I’d have such an opportunity for a personally engaging and involved research as an undergraduate sophomore. I’ve also been actively involved in job searches for new faculty members in both the Computer Science and Linguistics departments; just another example of how much William & Mary values its student body.
What other aspects of William & Mary have been important to you in your first year?
I am very involved in the arts community here at the College. The experiences I’ve had and the friends I’ve made have enhanced my life here to an indescribable degree. I sing with the Botetourt Chamber Singers as well as DoubleTake Co-ed A Cappella. This year, the “Bots” were given the distinct honor of performing at the Virginia Music Educators Association annual conference in Norfolk. Only one college group in all of Virginia is selected every year. Additionally, DoubleTake is competing this spring in Baltimore in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Outside of singing, I am active with Shakespeare in the Dark, an organization the produces and performs three Shakespeare plays every school year, as well as Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, a completely student-run group that puts on a musical (usually a Gilbert and Sullivan light opera) at the beginning of every calendar year.
What is an example of something you’ve done as a Murray Scholar at W&M that you couldn’t have done somewhere else?
Every year, William & Mary celebrates Charter Day, the anniversary of the giving of the royal charter. This year, we installed Robert M. Gates, former Secretary of Defense, as our new Chancellor. As a Murray Scholar, I was given the opportunity to have breakfast with him. It was an unforgettable experience, and just one instance of the kinds of activities in which Murray Scholars are often involved. As another example, I had the honor of speaking with the president of Gabon last year because of my status as a Murray Scholar.