Marissa Messner

Marissa Messner

Murray 1693 Scholar


Charlottesville, VA (Monticello High School)

Why W&M

I realized that I was way behind on my college research the summer before my senior year, and I had to rush to learn about every potential college. At first, I was set on a popular college in my hometown because it was the easiest choice, but one of my friends at William & Mary convinced me to visit. The week after my visit, I realized that every time I imagined myself at college, it was now at William & Mary, not the one in my hometown. The whole area is just so beautiful, full of peaceful places to study and just relax, and everyone there just seemed very genuine compared to other college students I had met. The professors I had met also seemed very interested in me as a person and they weren’t at all upset that I was listening in on their small lectures. Unfortunately, my college decision was also based on my financial situation, so I had to wait for my financial aid package from both schools in order to make my final decision. Even without this scholarship, though, William & Mary was by far the most generous in its financial aid awards, making the choice clear for me.


Computer Science and Linguistics

W&M Activities
  • I’ve been doing experimental linguistics research with Professor Lunden in Linguistics for the past year. I help design and run online perception experiments using Mechanical Turk.
  • Member of the Computational and Experimental Linguistics Lab
  • Member of Students for Animals
Summer 2015

Intern for Google’s speech infrastructure team in NYC

Summer 2014

I went to CoLang, a 2-week conference/workshop focused on the documentation and revitalization of languages. I met people who are doing fantastic work with languages they’re passionate about and picked up plenty of new, practical skills. After that, I went to Oklahoma with Professor Martin in Linguistics and two other students to record speakers of Creek for future transcription (and used ELAN, a tool I learned at CoLang!).

Awards & Achievements
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Received scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper conference in October 2014
High School Activities
  • Envirothon
  • Academic Team
  • Gay-Straight Alliance
  • Interned with Albemarle County Public Schools’ Web Development Team
  • Worked at McDonald’s