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Heather Acuña

Watkins Family 1693 Scholarheather_acuña


Long Grove, IL (Adlai E. Stevenson HS)

Academic Interests

Computer Science, Data Science

Why W&M

When I first started looking at colleges, I did not expect to end up at a liberal arts school 900 miles away from home. Still, I can confidently say that I love my school. I chose Wlliam & Mary for more reasons than I can list here, but I’ll boil it down to three: it’s personal, it’s collaborative, and it’s enduring.

From the moment I met them, it’s been clear that William & Mary students are smart, caring, authentic people. When I met the other 1693 scholars during the 1693 Finalist Week, they were not only excited to share all the things they loved about William & Mary, they were eager to get to know me as a person. On top of that, the staff at William & Mary are genuine and helpful. From handwritten postcards to a one-on-one meeting with Professor Cristol (before I was even accepted as a 1693 Scholar), it’s clear that William & Mary is a school built on treating students as individuals, not numbers.

Furthermore, William & Mary is the most collaborative school I’ve seen. I talked with students who founded charities and started consulting businesses; every single one was quick to point out people who had helped them and point me to resources I could use at William & Mary. William & Mary students do not rise by others’ failure: they lift each other up, help each other out, and instead of spending their time competing, they spend it learning.

When I call William & Mary enduring, I do not refer to the year it was established. Instead, I refer to the fact that a man who graduated more than 60 years ago eagerly offered to tell me about his time at the school. I refer to the fact that every person I’ve talked to has a friend or distant relative who went to William & Mary and “would be delighted to talk to you about it”. William & Mary has a strong and vibrant culture that stays with its alumni their entire lives. That’s what I really come here for: not just a school, but a lasting, learning, personal community.

W&M Activities
High School Activities
  • Drum major for Marching Band
  • President of Scripts Studio Playwriting Club
  • Producer for 24 Hour Theatre Project
  • Student Leadership Advisory Council
  • Student designer for One Act and Musical Productions
  • Seamstress for Dress a Girl Around the World
  • Lector at Saint Mary of Vernon Parish
  • Children’s liturgy assistant at Saint Mary of Vernon Parish
  • Teaching assistant at Summer Wonders Summer Camp
  • Lean In: Feminism Club
  • In The Loop (Knitting Club)
  • Failed Presidential Candidates improv comedy club
  • LadyJazz a capella
Awards / Distinctions
  • National Honor Society
  • International Thespian Honor Society
  • Tri-M Music Honor Society
  • National Hispanic Scholar
  • National Merit Finalist
  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • Achievement in Technical Theatre Award
  • Cindy Burrows Award
  • Communication Arts Scholar Award
  • Illinois Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish
  • Division I Solo & Ensemble performer (Voice)
  • Division I Solo & Ensemble performer (Bassoon)