William & Mary

Who We Are

Sharpe Scholars are a group of select first-year students who participate in virtually all aspects of campus life and have wide-ranging academic interests. Above all, they share a common desire to engage in the world around them as part of their liberal arts education. Below are a few examples of what Sharpe Community Scholars say they gain.

Brianna Buch '15"The Sharpe program provides the resources, training, tools and connections for community minded individuals to get involved in the William and Mary campus and community.  Sharpe was an educational program, but also a way to connect my learning in the classroom to real, tangible community concerns. Sharpe combines theoretical models and practical experience to enable students to serve the community." —Brianna Buch, 2015
Merci Best, '17 “As a  freshman, I took Professor Anne Charity Hudley's African American English seminar. I began conducting research on the Leaky STEM pipeline and analyzed causes for the underrepresentation of females in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Alongside this research I volunteered twice a week with local second grade students during their math lessons. I wanted to find ways that teachers could encourage girls in STEM, combating the negative gender stereotypes that make female students less likely to pursue their STEM interests. This research project has continued to develop to this day, as I aim to find ways to combat summer learning loss by encouraging minority and female students to get excited about and pursue STEM. The Sharpe Program provided me with a platform for community engaged scholarship and helped me to experience research as a freshman that will continue to shape my undergraduate experience at the College.” —Merci Best, '17
Stephanie Levin, '16“For the past three years, my Sharpe experience has been challenging me to be a better student and global citizen. During my freshman fall Sharpe project, I tutored adult learners who worked hard to learn English. Since then, I have traveled to Brazil, Bolivia, Israel, Ireland, and am currently studying abroad in Austria. My travels have taught me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, welcoming vulnerability and humility, and stretching my comfort zone, just like my adult learners from my freshman year. I am currently working on research for a service project in Latin America, living in community with friends who are passionate in being global servers, and engaging in inter-cultural dialogues. The Sharpe rhythm of life travels with you, keeping you on your toes, helping you to be an active global citizen.” —Stephanie Levin, '16
Constance Hull, '16“My Sharpe Freshmen Seminar, Literacy and Social Change, set me on the path of research and community engagement that I would follow for my entire college career. Through my seminar I was connected with ‘The Healthy Beginnings Project,’ a psychology lab that works with pregnant incarcerated women, which taught me to do research in a lab setting and engage with community members in need. The research proposal I wrote in my seminar prepared me for the two research projects I would conduct:  my Monroe project, and a project I conducted abroad. In the fall of 2014, I spent a month doing field research in Bangalore, Karnataka with a program called SIT: Sustainable Development and Social Change, conducting a case study of avenues of employment available to people with intellectual disabilities. I am grateful for research skills I gained from the Sharpe Scholars program and for the inspiration it provided to look at the needs of a community through an analytical lens.” —Constance Hull, '16

Ashley Pettway, '13The William and Mary Community Studies program was my home while at the College. I have always loved service but W&M helped me see service learning as an academic discipline. I learned to collect and evaluate data, to write and win grants, and to create and sustain partnerships in the community studies program. In essence, I learned to be an effective agent of social change. This process of critical thinking, engagement, and reflection have served me well both professionally and personally.

My undergraduate research centered around creating an effective family literacy program to increase early literacy skills among children living in low-income communities. My research resulted in the creation of a family literacy program at the Williamsburg-James City County Head Start and the creation of a partnership between the College of William and Mary and the Head Start. The program donated hundreds of books for children to take home and a laptop for the parents to use while at the Head Start.

After graduating from the College, I earned my Masters of Science in Counseling at Johns Hopkins University and served in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Baltimore. I currently serve as an Admission Counselor and Advisor at a Quaker Co-educational boarding school north of Philadelphia. I plan to apply what I have learned here as a 2015 Teach for America Corps Member teaching Special Education.” —Ashley Pettway, '13