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Khalil Russell

Murray 1693 Scholar


Hampton, VA (Hampton HS)

Areas of Interest

Biology, Marine Science, Creative Writing

Why W&M

During the spring of my senior year, I had the task of choosing between Harvard, Yale, and William & Mary. While it’s obvious which I chose, here’s why. At the ivies, students seem focused on their own success (as they likely had to in order to be accepted), and professors appear far more focused on their own research and the top notch graduate students they attract than the undergraduates around them. While Harvard and Yale each offer prestige and high-quality educations, I felt my sights would be much better set on them for graduate school rather than undergraduate. 

However, at William & Mary, the atmosphere is opposite. As a member of the Tribe, I’ve already met very warm and welcoming professors, and have heard testimonials from upperclassmen about how genuinely caring the faculty is. While my main goal is to learn as much as I can during my time in college, another important goal of mine over the next four years is to figure out who I am, and to grow as a person. While at Harvard and Yale I might have received an incredible education, I worried that I would not recognize the person I would be when I left the school. The vibe I got from being on the campus was not one that I could see myself enjoying over the next four years. In stark contrast, all the people that I have met thus far at W&M, not to mention alumni, have been friendly, kind, cheerful, and overall very enthusiastic about their experience with the Tribe. My hope is that, here, not only will I receive a top of the line education from professors who care about their undergraduates, but I will become more like the other people that call this place home. From the moment I set foot on campus, William & Mary has felt like home, so it only made sense to join the Tribe.

W&M Activities
  • Students for University Advancement
  • Gentlemen of the College
  • Debate Team
  • Member of the Annual Giving Board

I have been involved in research from my first week of classes. Throughout my freshman year, I worked in Professor Laurie Sanderson’s lab where we worked to better understand the filtration mechanism of filter-feeding fish. During the summer I worked at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in the research lab of Professor Roger Mann. There, I helped collect, process, image, and age ocean quahogs (Artica islandica) with the goal of developing an age at length curve for it.

Summer 2018 - Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

While at VIMS I was able to attend both the 2018 Chesapeake Bay Community Research Modeling Symposium and the American Fisheries Society 148th Annual Meeting, as well as a five-day cruise on a research vessel collecting surf clams and ocean quahogs for research. I was also able to leave the lab, working with professors that Dr. Mann helped me get in touch with who studied a wide array of topics at VIMS, from water body surveys to individual species tolerances.

High School Activities
  • Drum Major for Marching Band
  • Senior Class President
  • Fish breeder (over 7 years I have bred 20 species of fish)
  • Governor’s School honors research mentorship
  • Forensics
  • Key Staff member for Vector Marketing
  • Scholastic Bowl
  • Boy’s State
  • American Legion Oratorical contest
  • Math Honor Society
  • Tri-M Music Honor Society
  • National Society of High School Scholars
  • National Honor Society
  • Clarinetist