Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L Expands Financial Aid for Spring Term Abroad Programs

Beginning with the 2018 Spring Term, Washington and Lee will provide institutional grants to meet the full cost of Spring Term domestic and international travel programs for students with financial need. W&L President Will Dudley announced the expanded financial aid program in November, along with an extended deadline to allow eligible students to take advantage of the additional aid now available.

“This type of immersive, faculty-led program is an example of the distinctive education that we offer at W&L,” said Dudley. “I am pleased that these programs will now be available to all our students, regardless of financial means.”

Raising endowment to support financial aid for students to study abroad during the academic year, including Spring Term, as well as support travel, guest speakers and other non-traditional activities that are hallmarks of W&L’s revitalized Spring Term, has been an ongoing fundraising priority for Washington and Lee. The president’s discretionary endowment for funding of special initiatives, part of the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity, makes it possible for all students to take immediate advantage of Spring Term travel programs as the university focuses on completing this fundraising goal.

There will be 17 different Spring Term Abroad programs in 2018. They will be held in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Japan, England, Ghana, Belize, New Zealand, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Argentina and Uruguay.  Domestic travel courses will include trips to New York, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; South Dakota and the Silicon Valley. For complete details, see the Spring Term website.

“Our Spring Term travel programs are truly distinctive,” said Provost Marc Conner. “Faculty lead students in an investigation of culture, language, history, politics, geography, and religion in areas and regions that the faculty know intimately from their own research.  Often students describe these trips as life-changing and among the most memorable experiences of their W&L careers.  These global immersion learning opportunities are great examples of a W&L education at its best.”

Hitting All the Right Notes An internship at Warner Music Group in Nashville allowed Mary-Michael Teel '18 to marry her two loves: music and communications.

“Our school instills a strong work ethic and drive in students, and I applied that mindset throughout my internship. Whether it’s staying at the office late or going out of your way to help another employee, the little things can show how much you care.”

IMG_1867-400x600 Hitting All the Right NotesMary-Michael Teel ’18

Major: Strategic Communication

Where did you intern this summer?

Warner Music Nashville

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

WMN is the country music division of Warner Music Group, and the label represents artists such as Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge and Hunter Hayes.

Describe your job there:

I interned in the Publicity Department. The department’s job is to coordinate press for artists, whether it’s print, online or TV. My main roles were compiling press clips and pitching tour press. I also helped with any events that the department coordinated, such as press days or shows at the label.

To compile clips, I looked through online and print outlets and noted any time an artist on our roster was mentioned. I kept track of these clips on spreadsheets separated by artist. Gathering clips is an important way to track the success of Publicity’s efforts. These clip reports are sent to the artists and their teams to show the amount of coverage received.

Pitching tour press was my major project of the summer. I coordinated tour press for all dates of six different artists’ tours. I researched local press outlets and contacts, then pitched and followed up with them to secure interviews, TV appearances and show reviews.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

I enjoyed working at events such as press days because it allowed me to see how publicists interact with reporters and artists at the same time. On press days, reporters come to the label and interview the artist either one-on-one or round-table style. I learned how to coordinate interviews and appropriately treat reporters visiting the label. The most important part of publicity is maintaining relationships with reporters. Through watching the Publicity Department at work and helping at press events at the label, I gained networking skills and insight on proper reporter/publicist etiquette.

Who did you meet, such as a source, a story subject or a mentor, that made the most vivid impression on you – and why?

All the employees at Warner were incredibly kind, supportive and helpful. It was a great experience to be part of a staff of people who are not only passionate about their jobs, but also about the company culture and the people around them. My boss, Victoria, was particularly influential. She and I have similar interests and backgrounds – we both went to small liberal arts schools and led our campus concert committees. She was always willing to answer my questions, not just about publicity, but about the music industry, job searching and networking. She also went out of her way to ask my opinion on things, which I appreciated because I truly felt valued in the department. It was also great to watch and learn from someone who is so talented at her job. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss, and I hope I get the chance to work with her again someday!

When did you feel the most challenged and how did you meet that challenge?

Tour press was the most challenging aspect of my job. I had hundreds of dates and cities to keep track of for the pitching schedule. I also had to coordinate with the outlets and artists’ management teams to nail down the details for interviews and appearances. While I was overwhelmed at first, I eventually developed a system that worked for me. I created a color-coded calendar to keep track of which dates I needed to pitch and follow up with, along with separate spreadsheets for each tour date that included any updates from the outlets. Once I utilized my organizational skills and got into the swing of things, it was much easier to handle.

Did anything about the location of your internship really excite you, such as the food, architecture, outdoors, etc.?

WMN is on Music Row in Nashville, which holds so much history in the music industry. It was amazing to drive to work every day on the same road that so many music legends once walked up and down with their demos, trying to get their big break. Being around that much music and history excited me more than anything.

Will this internship impact the direction of your career in any way?

I’ve always wanted to work in music, and this internship made me even more confident in my career choice. Not only did I learn about music publicity, but I also learned about how the industry works as a whole. This included the roles of other departments at the label and how they collaborate, as well as how labels coordinate with managers and booking agencies. I believe the most valuable takeaway from my internship is a better understanding of the overall industry to help guide me on my career path. I also fell in love with Nashville and hope to move back after graduation!

How did W&L help to prepare you for this opportunity?

Through my classes at W&L, especially those in the journalism school, I have learned how to write and communicate effectively and succinctly. This was especially important in pitching over email or phone, because I only had a few moments to convince someone the artist was worth covering. However, the most important thing I gained from W&L is the motivation to succeed. Our school instills a strong work ethic and drive in students, and I applied that mindset throughout my internship. Whether it’s staying at the office late or going out of your way to help another employee, the little things can show how much you care.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Jeremy Franklin ’04: Always Hungry for New Music Jeremy Franklin has spent his life after college invested in his passion for music as the general manager of WLUR, W&L’s campus radio station.

tumblr_inline_oxzm16ifMX1refsda_1280-800x533 Jeremy Franklin '04: Always Hungry for New MusicJeremy Franklin, general manager of WLUR

By Adit Ahmed ’19
@wluLex

Before iTunes and Spotify, the main ways to listen to new music involved a CD or FM radio. College radio has historically been on the forefront of discovering new music, helping to break the likes of Pixies, R.E.M. and Arcade Fire.

Growing up, Jeremy Franklin ’04 did not have great access to ways of finding fresh new music. Gravitating between the likes of Tom Petty, Pink Floyd and Five Iron Frenzy, he said that these phases were less profound times of music listening for him.

“I grew up in a small town, there was not a college station that we could pick up, and I had never heard of indie rock bands at the time,” Franklin said. “I like to say that I was blissfully ignorant of what I should’ve been listening to back then.”

tumblr_inline_oxzm57aiHU1refsda_1280-600x400 Jeremy Franklin '04: Always Hungry for New Music

Nowadays, Franklin’s job finds him listening to new music almost every single day. While artists like St. Vincent, The National and Waxahatchee have all released new albums this year, Franklin has been following those artists since their early days of breaking through college radio. Rarely devoid of new music, Franklin often finds himself listening to new artists who may be the “next big thing.”

Jeremy Franklin has spent his life after college invested in his passion for music as the general manager of WLUR, W&L’s campus radio station.

Franklin is a 2004 graduate of W&L who has been involved with WLUR since his time as a student. His official title is General Manager of WLUR and Sports Broadcasting. As a student, he was sports director and assistant general manager of the station, as well as sports editor of The Ring-Tum Phi.

His first foray into radio came during his sophomore year. The radio play-by-play announcer at the time, Doug Chase, brought Franklin on as a guest for the halftime show of a W&L basketball game. From there, his involvement only grew, doing color and play-by-play commentary for basketball and baseball games.

After becoming more involved on the sports front while at WLUR, Franklin began hosting his own music show on WLUR during his senior year. Franklin points to bands like Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and Belle & Sebastian as his first major exposures to the music that he listens to now. He said that having to host a music show every week furthered his interest in finding new artists to listen to.

tumblr_inline_oxzlzxNBHv1refsda_1280-600x400 Jeremy Franklin '04: Always Hungry for New Music

“Once I got more involved with the radio station I got exposed to a lot of music that I did not know existed,” he said. “Personally, the fact that I had become a big music fan, actively going to concerts and festivals and buying records, that all kind of sprung from that. Just doing a weekly show where you’re trying to play different artists, listening to different music all the time, I think everything just blossomed out from there.”

In his current role as general manager of WLUR, Franklin reviews new albums that are sent into the station, working with two student music directors and a staff of students to listen through new music that is sent in and place them in rotation at the station.

Given the amount of new music that he listens to, Franklin said that his taste has not only evolved to include less accessible artists like Flying Lotus and Caribou, but he has also found it harder to find fresh music that excites him like the ones he found through his first few years in college radio, though he said that he continues to find rock albums that excite him in new ways.

“’MY WOMAN,’ the Angel Olsen record: that is my favorite album of the current decade,” he said. “I had very high expectations for it too because I thought her last record, ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness,’ was tremendous. I think it was my number two or number three album from 2014, and so to listen to something that you were expecting to be good and then just be floored, and to continue to be floored every time you hear it, that’s why I think so highly of that record.”

Better Business in Boston Katrina Lewis' business reporting internship took her to the Boston Business Journal, where she covered real estate news and development.

IMG_2165-400x600 Better Business in BostonKatrina Lewis ’19

Katrina Lewis ’19
Major: Business Journalism

Where did you intern this summer?

Boston Business Journal

Tell us a little bit about that organization:

The Boston Business Journal is one of more than 40 American City Business Journals. It covers all kinds of business news happening in Greater Boston, from real estate and banking to health care and technology. The BBJ publishes stories online daily and releases a print edition once a week. This internship was made possible by Reynolds Business Journalism funding.

Describe your job there:

I worked as an editorial intern for the BBJ three days a week for 11 weeks. I wasn’t assigned to cover one specific beat, so I was able to get experience writing about lots of different industries. Most of my time was spent writing stories, but I also got to attend a couple of big company events, including award ceremonies for Best Places to Work and CFOs of the Year.

What was the best story or project you worked on?

The biggest story I worked on was a story discussing the better business movement in Boston. I talked with about a dozen people involved with B Corps and benefit corporations to learn about what their businesses were doing to give back. My story ran as the cover story for our print edition during the second-to-last week of my internship, which was definitely one of the highlights of my internship.

Who did you meet, such as a source, a story subject or a mentor, that made the most vivid impression on you – and why?

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work alongside W&L alumna Catherine Carlock ’10, who is the real estate editor for the BBJ. Catherine was very welcoming and always willing to help, and it was great to be able to talk with her about W&L and all our time spent in Reid Hall. Catherine also noticed that I enjoyed writing real estate stories, so she gave me extra real estate stories to write and included me in what she was working on by letting me accompany her to different meetings and property tours.

When did you feel the most challenged and how did you meet that challenge?

As is often the case when writing stories with multiple sources, the most challenging part was working around sources’ schedules. I had a good deal of experience working with sources from Beat Reporting, but it can still be frustrating waiting on a source without whom you can’t move forward.

What did you enjoy most about the location of your internship?

I live in central Massachusetts, so getting to spend more time in Boston learning about my state capital was a great experience. Boston is also definitely in a boom period right now, so there was never a dull moment in terms of new projects being announced for the city.

Will this internship impact the direction of your career in any way?

I learned that I enjoy writing about residential and commercial real estate, so that’s something I’ll be looking into more as I apply for another internship for this coming summer.

How did W&L help to prepare you for this opportunity?

I completed Beat Reporting right before starting my internship, and that kind of writing and deadline experience helped me to work efficiently when I was juggling several stories. Also, on a more fundamental level, I used what I learned in Intro to Reporting every time I wrote when I was deciding on how to order my story. Lastly, working as one of the news editors for The Ring-tum Phi helped me edit my stories and avoid AP style errors.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

W&L’s Fairfield Discusses Comcast Move into Blockchain Law professor Josh Fairfield discussed the implications of a new blockchain app on nasdaq.com.

“Imagine that, as you are going to bed for the night, you notice a drone watching you through the window. Imagine then that this drone follows you everywhere you go throughout the day: to the doctor, to the therapist, to political rallies, to religious services and to the bar, month after month after month.”

Joshua A. T. Fairfield is an internationally recognized law and technology scholar specializing in digital property, electronic contract and big data privacy. His most recent book is “Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom.”

You can read the entire article at nasdaq.com.

Related //

Women in Charge Laura Stagno '18 saw the faces of America's future leaders, including her own, through an internship on Capitol Hill.

Laura-Stagno-20-800x533 Women in ChargeLaura Stagno ’18 with Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Two of my three bosses were women, and all six of the Ways and Means subcommittee staff directors are women. Interning in an environment in which women dominate so many key positions was extremely rewarding.”

Laura Stagno ’18
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Major: Economics and Spanish

Q: Tell us a little bit about your summer opportunity:
This summer I interned on Capitol Hill for the majority staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over several key welfare programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Unemployment Insurance (UI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), child care and child support. The subcommittee staff consists of a staff director and two professional staffers, whom I work alongside everyday. A Johnson Opportunity Grant made this internship possible.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of being in D.C.?
The best part of interning in D.C. was living in such close proximity to all of the daily political action. Whether I was walking the halls of the Capitol or the Longworth Building or watching a hearing in the Ways and Means hearing room, I was surrounded every day by ambitious, dedicated and passionate leaders and staffers who inspired me to fight for what I believe in.

On the weekends, I was able to explore several of the cultural and historical sites that D.C. has to offer, such as the Smithsonian Institution museums, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. One of my favorite memories is when I went to the Library of Congress, registered for a library card and read my book in the famous Reading Room. There is always somewhere to go, someone to meet or something to learn in D.C., which makes the city an amazing summer home for students.

Q: What did an average day for you look like?
Every day was different. My daily responsibilities included answering the phone, putting together daily news clips for my bosses, sending out the day’s congressional hearing schedule and researching various issues. But my internship also took me far beyond our office walls. I had the opportunity to attend hearings, markups, and policy briefings around the Hill; sit in on Ways and Means staff and member meetings; watch the House floor and sit down with Kevin Brady, the Ways and Means chairman, in his office.

Q: What was the most rewarding part of your experience?
I was surrounded every day by the most intelligent, motivated and passionate individuals, and that in itself fulfilled me. The legislative process can be frustrating and slow, but that does not keep my bosses from fighting every day for our society’s most vulnerable members.

I was particularly inspired by the large number of intelligent and strong women in positions of power on the Hill. Two of my three bosses were women, and all six of the Ways and Means subcommittee staff directors are women. Interning in an environment in which women dominate so many key positions was extremely rewarding.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge I faced happened only about three weeks into my internship. I was informed that my office’s legislative assistant was going to be leaving for another job in the next week. My bosses told me that they would need me to fill in as the subcommittee’s temporary LA until they were able to hire someone else. I was extremely nervous about having to move up to the front desk and take on a whole new set of responsibilities. Adjusting to my new role was definitely difficult at first. I messed up the phones more times than I would like to admit and had to get used to manning the front desk and seeing to it that everyone who came into the office was attended to. While the change challenged me at times, and I often felt unqualified for the role, it was an amazing opportunity that undoubtedly opened new doors for me. The experience taught me to never underestimate myself, to accept my mistakes and, most importantly, to learn from my mistakes.

Q: Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what did they teach you?

I looked to Rosemary Lahasky, one of the professional staff in my office, as my mentor. Rosemary taught me something arguably more valuable than what I could ever learn in a textbook or a class. She taught me the importance of developing personal relationships with the people I work with. From day one, Rosemary made the effort to get to know me on a personal level and did not allow me to be shy. By virtue of her mentorship, I am more confident in my own abilities and have built strong relationships with my bosses.

Q: What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what have you brought back to your life on campus?
All of the economics courses I have taken at W&L have improved my research and analytical skills. When my bosses asked me to research issues and analyze reports and papers, I could complete those tasks confidently and successfully. Thanks to the small class sizes offered at W&L, I have grown accustomed to developing relationships with my professors. Thus, I began my internship well prepared to work with and learn from all of my superiors at Ways and Means.

I am not only grateful for the professors I have had at W&L but also for the W&L alumni network. Without the advice and encouragement I received from several alumni last fall, I would not have had the internship. Moreover, the W&L alumni who work on Capitol Hill were an incredible source of guidance and mentorship for me this summer outside of the Ways and Means Committee. Therefore, when I returned to campus in the fall, I planned to continue to take advantage of the network and encourage other students to do the same. I look forward to becoming part of the W&L alumni network after I graduate and having the opportunity to help future W&L students explore their passions.

Q: Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?
I went into the summer with the idea that I wanted to pursue a career in policy or politics, but I needed an internship experience such as this one to assure myself that I am headed down the right career path. I aspire to return to Washington and make a difference, and my experience interning with the Ways and Means Committee has given me the motivation and the courage that I need to never give up on that goal. As one of the thousands of summer congressional interns, I felt at times like just another face in the crowd. But I refuse to adopt such a mindset. In that crowd, I see the faces of America’s future leaders, including my own. That image reminds me every day to never underestimate myself and to always follow my dreams.

Q: Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?
I would tell any W&L student who wants to learn about politics or decide if a career in politics is for him/her to intern on Capitol Hill. This opportunity has allowed me to learn firsthand about the political and legislative process, especially all of the nitty-gritty aspects. More importantly, I believe that some of the most impactful experiences that young college students can have are those that humble us. My internship has not only been an incredible learning experience but also a humbling one, as my preconceived opinions and views have been challenged significantly since I began my internship in June.

Q: Describe your summer adventure in one word:
Exciting.

Q:What kind of funding helped make this experience possible?
Johnson Opportunity Grant

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

Related //,

W&L Hosts Family-Friendly Holiday Celebration on Dec. 5 The event is open to the W&L community.

SOC121416_24-600x400 W&L Hosts Family-Friendly Holiday Celebration on Dec. 5Winter Wonderland in Evans Hall

Washington and Lee University kicks off the Christmas season with the annual Family Friendly Holiday Celebration on Dec. 5. The event is open to the W&L community.

This year’s celebration includes Santa Claus, carols and Winter Wonderland with an additional kid-friendly meal at the Tree Lighting Family Dinner held in the Marketplace.

Cost for dinner is $8 for adults, $5 for children 7-12 and free for children six and under.

The tree lighting will follow, at 6:15pm, on the Lee House steps.

At the conclusion, children will walk to Evans Dining Hall for Winter Wonderland from 6-9 p.m. where they will find snacks, both sweet and healthy, and crafts featuring holiday traditions from around the world.


W&L Hosts Red Cross Blood Drive Nov. 30 In addition to signing up to donate blood, there are multiple ways to get involved the day of the drive.

blood-600x400 W&L Hosts Red Cross Blood Drive Nov. 30American Red Cross Blood Drive

Washington and Lee University will host a Red Cross Blood Drive on Nov. 30 in Evans Hall from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.

In addition to signing up to donate blood, there are multiple ways to get involved the day of the drive. Volunteers have the opportunity to help with tabling in Elrod Commons or with registration in Evans Hall.

Donation times are up to the donor’s preference, however only four spots are available per time slot. Participants can further expedite the donor check-in process by visiting redcrossblood.org/RapidPass.

The Red Cross encourages all blood donors to hydrate properly before a donation, wear something comfortable the day you give blood and maintain a healthy level of iron in your diet.

Donor’s also have the option of making a double red blood cell donation the day of the drive but are not required to do so.

The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its congressional charter and the fundamental principal of the International Red Cross Movement.


From Lab to Rescue Squad Ethiopia Getachew '19 always had an interest in science, but working in the biochemistry lab and volunteering with local EMTs helped her future plans take shape.

“I had always been interested in how things operated in the biochemical and molecular level, but working as an HHMI Fellow the past two years really piqued my interest. “

EthiopiaGetachew-800x533 From Lab to Rescue SquadEthiopia Getachew ’19 (Photo by Alison Christiana, Questbridge)

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Westwood, MA
Major: Biology

My Washington and Lee experience is a summary of all the opportunities afforded to me and how I took advantage of them. Through my experience at W&L, I have made amazing friends that I know will be there for so many years on. Some were on my hall my first year and our friendship is going three years strong; others I met through my classes, social events, clubs and organizations and much more. Academically and professionally, I have pursued my interests with the support and encouragement of professors, faculty, friends and family.

Some highlights so far include my HHMI research in Professor LaRiviere’s lab and getting involved with the Lexington community as an EMT. As part of my research with Professor LaRiviere I learned to conduct my own independent research, make experimental decisions based on data, and read and assess scientific papers. I had always been interested in how things operated in the biochemical and molecular level, but working as an HHMI Fellow the past two years really piqued my interest. In the lab, I am currently working on assessing how nitrogen starvation affects this ribosomal degradation pathway called NRD (nonfunctional rRNA decay) that was actually discovered originally by Professor LaRiviere and his colleagues. Working with other students in the lab has also taught me how to work with a team in a scientific setting. All together this experience has shown me that while I am still very interested in becoming a doctor, I would still love to incorporate research into my future and perhaps pursue a career more focused on translational medicine.

During my summer in Lexington, while I was not in the lab, I volunteered at the Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, as well as at the Lexington Fire Department. I had recently finished my EMT course at the SVU campus and got my EMT certification, so I was very excited to start running with the rescue squad. I went on ridealongs with them and learned how to conduct myself in crisis situations, help those in some of the scariest moments of their lives and provide a caring and professional persona. The paramedics and EMTs guided me through this process and allowed me to feel included in their department.

Additionally, some of our calls allowed me to further understand the local area and see beyond the Washington and Lee bubble I sometimes find myself in. We usually dropped off patients at the Stonewall Jackson hospital and left; this left me wondering what happened after. Thus, I started volunteering at the hospital in the Emergency Department as well as the Medical/Surgical floor. With this, I was able to see yet another side to medicine. I talked to family members who came to visit their loved ones, I spent time with some of the patients and gave them blankets, water… as needed. I saw how the nurses and doctors interacted with the patients and learned so much about the field I was excited to get into. Coupling these two experiences in town with my research gave me a really unique and interesting summer experience. It reaffirmed my interest in medicine and science and made the Lexington community feel simultaneously bigger and closer for me.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

A little more about Ethiopia

Extracurricular involvement:
Chi Omega Sorority Junior Panhellenic delegate (2016/2017); social chair (2017/2018)
University Ambassadors – vice president of education
Computer Science Teacher’s Assistant (last year)
Lexington Fire Department – EMT ride along, volunteered over 150 hours with the local rescue squad and fire department
Women in Science and Technology – chemistry chair
Peer Counselor
Kathekon
Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity Student Advisory Committee – at-large student body representative
W&L QuestBridge Chapter – liaison (2016-2017) and vice president (2017/2018)
Office for Career and Professional Development – career fellow
Why did you choose your major?
I have been interested in the sciences ever since I was a kid. I was always fascinated by how things worked and what they were composed of, and I always found myself engrossed in my science subjects. My parents encouraged my interest a lot, as well, and constantly supported me as I entered science-based competitions, or took me to museums so I could see Lucy, a fossil of the Australopithecus afarensis discovered in Ethiopia. As I grew older, I took an increased interest in biology because I was interested in how the human body works. Everything I learned made me realize that there was still so much more I did not know. Along with this, my interest to become a doctor developed. If I was to become a doctor and help people, I wanted to truly understand the workings of the human body. I chose to be a biology major at W&L because I can learn the topics that interest me from amazing professors in a way that I have never experienced before. Our classes are personal, very experimental and are ever increasing my passion for biology. I am also attempting to finish a computer science minor because, with the direction technology is heading, it is very important to have at least a basic understanding of programming.
Has anyone on campus inspired you?
It is honestly so difficult to pick just one person. My experience at W&L has been enriched by the collective influence of those around me. I have met amazing friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life. I have met professors who are so incredibly nice and invested in their students. As a first-year student, I had already found a lab as an HHMI fellow because I had expressed my interest in biochemistry to Professor LaRiviere! Additionally, by simply establishing relationships with a few faculty and administration members, I was able to truly pursue my interests. Professor Luder was the person who first encouraged me to apply for the SAC position. It was with Dean Simpson’s advice that I first got Kathekon on my radar. While these may seem like little things, the community of support on campus is something that will never cease to amaze me.
What’s your personal motto?
I wouldn’t say I have a personal motto that I stick with, per say. In general, though, I try to live my life in a way that I could be proud of in a few years. I have always been a driven person and I believe that if I am going to do something, I might as well give it 100 percent.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I love going to Blue Sky and ordering the Blue Sky sandwich. If I venture farther into town, I usually go to Pronto for a gelato or some tea.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini is one of my favorite books.
 Post-graduation plans:
After graduation, I would like to take a gap year then go on to medical school. I am not sure exactly where I want to apply but I would like to stay in the East Coast area. During my gap year, I would like to travel abroad and explore health care systems of other countries and see how medicine applies in different cultures. I took a medical ethics class with Professor Erin Taylor that really exposed me to a world of medicine and research I had not really considered. Our extensive conversations on medical and research ethics, especially in developing countries, exposed me to concepts of health equality, ethics and even concepts such as health care accessibility. I think exploring this side of medicine will really give me a strong perspective that I can then take with me to medical school. In medical school, I am currently interested in pursuing general, cardio or trauma surgery. Running with the Lexington EMTs has shown me that I have a passion for the faster-paced atmosphere of the ER.
Favorite class:
 I really enjoyed my medical ethics class because it exposed me to so many new concepts I would never have thought of. However, my favorite class has to be my plant functional ecology class with Dr. Hamilton. This class focuses on how bison grazing, fire, nutrient recycling and microbes work to affect the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park. We went to Yellowstone National Park for 10 days and stayed in a cabin. When we weren’t out and about, we were making dinner together as a class, playing card games or watching a movie. In the mornings, we usually left around 7 or 8 a.m. with one of the park rangers. We set up enclosures to help with future studies, took various soil, grass and bison poop samples (the last bit was not the most exciting part of our trip). We saw Old Faithful erupt, walked through the Lamar and Hayden valleys, saw the grand prismatic spring and so many more amazing sights. The highlight of my trip was when a group of us went with a park ranger to track a bison for the rangers. We went into parts of the national park that very few had ever ventured into. We crossed small rivers and creeks, climbed up a few hills and saw perhaps every type of wildlife the park had to offer including a family of bears, coyotes and more! And to top it all off, we ended up finding the bison. It was such an adventure and a great educational moment.
Favorite W&L event: 
My favorite W&L event has got to be the Mock Convention. I was only a freshman at that point so I was not able to get involved as much as I would have liked to. But it was amazing seeing everyone rally together and really invest in the experience. I was part of the Massachusetts delegation and helped make banners for the parade.
What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I grew up in Ethiopia and have lived there for most of my life. I moved to the U.S. my junior year of high school. I went to an international school for most of my educational career so I have spoken English for as long as I can remember. People usually forget I am not American until I say something so obviously foreign. For example, I mispronounce some words like adolescence or Wheat Thins and they give me the “Ah, I keep forgetting you’re not from here.” Or I will relay an experience from my childhood that is so normal to me and they’ll be like “What?”
Another thing that most people don’t know about me is that the beginning of my sophomore year, I went with the founders of QuestBridge and a few other quest scholars from around the U.S. to the Eisenhower Executive Office building. We met with some of the prominent staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and discussed ways of creating a pipeline for underrepresented students to enter  and, most importantly, stay in STEM fields. It was an absolutely amazing experience to see the policy-based side of the thing I am interested in. I actually wrote a blog post about it for QuestBridge!
Related //,

Funding Hope in Memphis Vicky Kazmierczak '18 spent the summer in Memphis, learning the ins and outs of non-profit work — and how to hope.

“Whenever I went into the hospital and saw all of the wonderful children so full of hope. I knew that what I was doing with my department was making a difference in their lives”

IMG_3127-Victoria-Kazmierczak-800x533 Funding Hope in MemphisVicky Kazmierczak ’18 spent the summer in Memphis, learning the in’s-and-out’s of non-profit work and how to hope.

Hometown: Huntley, Illinois
Majors: European History and Sociology

Q. Tell us about your internship.

I worked as an intern with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fundraising and awareness organization called American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, or ALSAC, in Memphis, TN. I worked in the Strategic Partnerships department, where we created and maintained relationships with corporate partners to raise money to end childhood cancer to follow founder Danny Thomas’  dream, that no child shall ever die in the dawn of life.

Q. How was working in Memphis?

My favorite part was the rich history of Memphis and learning about how it got to where it is now. I learned this through a series of events with an organization called New Memphis, which aims to show interns the true Memphis experience.

Q. What did an average day for you look like?

I didn’t really have an “average day.” Some days, I was the lead intern in hosting our corporate partners and assisted the account manager in showing them around campus and in participating in events with our wonderful patients. Other days, I put together notes from brainstorms in order to come up with pitch decks for prospective clients. I also worked on innovation projects for the organization with other interns throughout the organization.

Q. What part of your experience was the most rewarding and fulfilling?

Whenever I went into the hospital and saw all of the wonderful children so full of hope. I knew that what I was doing with my department was making a difference in their lives and that the cure for childhood cancer will be found at St. Jude due to the amazing work of the doctors, researchers, and the funds the ALSAC raises to make that work possible.

Q. Who served as a mentor to you this summer, and what have they taught you?

I have had way too many mentors to name. Everyone I worked with in Strategic Partnerships was an incredible mentor to me. They inspired me every day and really made me want to reevaluate my own commitment to anything I did. They taught me to find value in every single thing I do, because the little things really do make a difference. Additionally, I was extremely impressed by the leadership of ALSAC’s CEO, Rick Shadyac Jr. His compassion and motivation will resonate with me for the remainder of my life.

IMG_3098-Victoria-Kazmierczak-800x533 Funding Hope in MemphisVicky Kazmierczak ’18 poses with the St. Jude statue in Memphis

Q. What have you learned at W&L that helped you in this endeavor, and what will you bring back to your life on campus?

The research skills I’ve gained at W&L came into play with researching market trends or partner information. I will bring back the mentality of kindness that I saw every day and of a strong belief in a mission.

Q. Has this experience impacted your studies or future plans in any way?

Yes – it’s made me particularly interested in public policy and non-profit work.

Q. Why is this kind of experience important to W&L students?

This kind of experience is important to W&L students because it allows us to use the skills we learn on campus to better the lives of others through work in the non-profit space.

Q. Describe your summer adventure in one word:

Inspiring

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