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The Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Study

Andrew D. Corso Ph.D. ’23 - 2023 Award Recipient

The Thatcher Prize was created in honor of the 21st Chancellor of William & Mary, Margaret, The Lady Thatcher. The award is presented annually to recognize an outstanding student in graduate or professional study. The winner is selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, character and service. The recipient of the 2023 Thatcher Prize is Andrew Derik Corso.

Dr. Corso earns his doctoral degree from W&M’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Fisheries Science and a sub-concentration in Marine Policy. According to one nominator, “His reputation as a scientist ‘for all seasons’ precedes him among VIMS faculty, staff and students alike: a student highly regarded for his intellect, passion and — perhaps most of all — his kindness and approachability.”

Andrew’s study area is the Western Antarctic Peninsula, one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. His research is the first to document the impacts of climate change on any fish species in this region, which is one of the central locations for U.S. research in Antarctica. His colleagues recognize his work as sophisticated, creative and sharp.

Andrew’s cutting-edge research deeply contributes to understanding the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans. He has first-authored five publications in highly respected journals and there are more to come, including the description of a new “dragonfish” species he discovered.

In recognition of his academic performance, achievements as an early career scientist and promise for a successful future, Andrew has received numerous fellowships and other awards. In 2021, he was awarded the School of Marine Science Dean’s Fellowship Award, which recognizes an outstanding Ph.D. student based on strong academic performance and evidence of engagement in activities that help to broaden the impact of the student’s science and training. Most recently, Andrew was awarded a PSECCO Belonging, Accessibility, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (BAJEDI) grant to support his outreach and education activities.

Andrew made a big splash with his “Investigate and Discover (I.D.) Antarctica',” which reached thousands of grade school students. Andrew is equally admired as an undergraduate instructor at William & Mary, including a course a nominator described as “an absolute masterclass in blending teaching and learning styles.”

A nominator wrote, “Andrew is a wonderful example of a student who wrapped his arms around the VIMS and William & Mary missions and contributed in every way that he could.”