2019 Distinguished Young Alumni Awards Announced
Washington and Lee University is proud to announce this year’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award winner. We will also celebrate the 2018 Distinguished Young Alumni Award Winners due to last year’s Young Alumni Weekend cancellation. The recipients will each receive their awards during Young Alumni Weekend, October 25 -27. There is still plenty of time to register for the weekend if you haven’t already.
Hunter Branstetter ‘09
While a student at W&L, Hunter was involved in numerous organizations and activities. He served multiple years as a Peer Counselor and the Undergraduate Assistant Head Honor Advocate, was the Outing Club’s Kayaking Key Staff member, sat on the board of the campus Habitat for Humanity chapter, interned with Shenandoah, served on the Mock Con Speakers Committee, volunteered with the Nabors Service League and Campus Community Coalition, hosted a weekly music show on WLUR, worked with the General Activities Board and Buffalo Creek Music Festival, and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. A member of Phi Eta Sigma, Hunter graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English.
After graduation, Hunter was licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician and served on the Davidson County Rescue Squad in Nashville, his hometown. There he attended Vanderbilt Law School, where he was a member of many organizations, societies, journals, and publications. Upon receiving his law degree, he clerked for the Honorable Bernice B. Donald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. At the conclusion of his clerkship, he returned to Nashville to join Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison. He currently maintains a varied civil litigation and dispute resolution practice representing individuals, private businesses, public companies, professional organizations, utilities, and municipalities. He also strives to maintain a meaningful pro bono practice, for which he has received the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Attorney for Justice Pro Bono Service Award. He is involved in his local and regional bar associations, including spending a multi-year term as the President of the Nashville Lawyer chapter of the American Constitution Society.
Beyond his professional life, Hunter continues to pursue many of the same interests he held at Washington and Lee. He is a member of the Phoenix Club of Nashville, a nonprofit organization focused on fundraising for youth and youth programs, and sits on the board of Chatterbird, a nonprofit contemporary chamber orchestra. He serves as the Deputy State Director for the American Canoe Association of Tennessee and as a kayaking instructor for both Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and Vanderbilt University Outdoor Recreation. Several months ago, he traveled to Spain for the 2019 International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Championships. As a member of Team USA, he competed in Men’s Squirt Boating and placed ninth in the world.
Hunter continues to support W&L; he has served on the board of the Nashville Alumni Chapter and remains an active member
John Christopher ’09
As a student at W&L, John was an active and engaged student-athlete. In addition to being a four-year starter and captain on the wrestling team, John was an elected representative of the Executive Committee, a member of the Williams Investment Society, a member of University Big Brothers & Sisters, and a Kappa Alpha.
After graduating with a degree Business Administration, John moved to Washington, DC where he worked at a boutique financial consulting firm, founded by a W&L alum. After three great years in DC, John felt as though he had learned as much as he could from his position and made the bold move to apply for a fellowship with a non-profit organization in Surkhet, Nepal. Once accepted, John took what he thought would be a brief hiatus from his life in DC to spend eight months working in Nepal for the Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School. This was a really transformative time for John as he explored and fell in love with a new culture and country and was a time of reflection as he confronted a level of poverty and suffering that he had never seen before. A tipping point came during a trip to Nepal’s isolated and mountainous Karnali region, where John joined a friend to visit his home in the remote village of Oda. It was in Oda that John began having conversations with local community leaders to learn about the challenges facing families in the region, and in collaboration with his Nepali partner and Oda native, Karan Singh, began brainstorming ideas that would eventually culminate in the formation of The Oda Foundation.
Since The Oda Foundation’s inception in 2013, John and his team have transformed the organization from a one-room medical clinic in a converted cow-shed into a hospital and community center that sees over 50 patients each day and supports the education of over 250 local children. After five years of living and working in Nepal, John transitioned local responsibility and operations to The Foundation’s local director and co-founder, Karan Singh, Nick Kraft and their incredible 30-person Nepali team. The project to date has seen over 65,000 patients, worked with over 500 students, and provided support to 7,000 young women and adolescent girls through educational and vocational training. The Oda Foundation’s work has been recognized by The Aspen Institute, The Stanford Social Innovation Review, MedShare and the Government of Nepal, and the organization is gearing up to celebrate its six-year anniversary on December 12, 2019.
In addition to his continued support and love for his team in Oda, John is a consultant with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and currently based in Denver, Colorado. He earned his MBA at Columbia Business School (class of 2019).
*Note from John: The W&L community has been such a huge part of Oda’s story. I’d love to give a nod to the Generals who have played a particularly outsized role in making the project such a success. Big thanks to Larry Lawrence (P’08, 10, 12), Professor Sandy Reiter, Colin Ram ’08L, Kirk Adamson ’08, Byron Peyster ’09, Peter Lawrence ’08, and many more for everything you’ve done to support this journey. I’d also like to thank our donors, volunteers, and fellows who started their journey in Lex!
Andrew McEnroe ‘08
Andy graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Economics. While a student, Andy was a two-time letter winner and a four-year ODAC scholar athlete as a member of the W&L baseball team, an active member of Lambda Chi Alpha, and served as the Assistant Program Director for the campus radio station, 91.5FM WLUR. In addition, he was selected to the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society and provided membership to Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Omicron Delta Epsilon honor societies.
Andy currently serves a Senior Vice President with Raymond James in the Defense Technology & Government Services Investment Banking group based in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Raymond James, he worked as an investment banker for BB&T Capital Markets for seven years. In 2015, Andy earned a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School, graduating with Dean’s honors and distinction, and was awarded the Nahum Melumad Memorial Prize – the highest honor given to the member of the graduating class on the basis of outstanding scholarship and a significant impact on the Columbia community.
In addition to his investment banking work, Andy launched and ran First Team Broadcasting (FTB), an online, athletics-focused video and audio web broadcasting business from September 2008 through July 2015. FTB provided turn-key video and audio services and technology allowing organizations to connect with their fans and supporters through web-based broadcasts. The company worked alongside over twenty academic institutions and athletic organizations, including W&L, covering over 1,000 live broadcasts per year reaching a yearly audience of over 150,000. FTB was acquired by Stretch Internet, a Battery Ventures portfolio company, in 2015. Andy remains connected to W&L athletics as an occasional play-by-play announcer for football, basketball, and baseball contests on Stretch Internet and 91.5FM WLUR. You can listen to Andy this fall as he broadcasts W&L football games.
Lauren Rudolph ’08
Lauren graduated cum laude majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology. While at W&L, she was co-captain of the Women’s volleyball team that won the ODAC tournament all 4 years, compiling an 118-26 overall record (40-1 in ODAC regular season matches), reaching the sweet sixteen of the NCAA tournament in 2006. She served as president of Women in Technology and Science (WITS) and was an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta while on campus.
After graduation, Lauren earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology from Indiana University in 2013, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017. Her research focuses on how steroid hormones including testosterone and estradiol act to regulate the development and maintenance of the structure and function of nuclei that control reproductive behavior in rodents. Her work has broader implications for understanding the mechanisms by which steroid signaling occurs in the mammalian nervous system, in a wide range of contexts, from disease states to typical reproduction-related processes. She has presented her work at national and international conferences, recently developed and co-chaired a symposium at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting.
Currently, Lauren is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Pomona College in Claremont, CA where she teaches Neuroendocrinology and supervises student research in her lab. She is an active member of the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter and serves as chair of the Los Angeles Alumni Admissions Program.