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W&L Celebrates Fellowship Awards Record Through hard work, supportive faculty and staff and an expanded Office of Fellowships, a record number of W&L students received nationally competitive fellowship awards in 2023-24.

Washington and Lee University has enjoyed another record-setting year for nationally competitive fellowships for the 2023-2024 academic year, with more than 57 awarded among record numbers of student meetings, applications and recipients. Student and alumni recipients attribute their success to the intensive guidance and support offered by university staff and faculty.

This year’s awards will provide students and young alumni with financial support as they pursue meaningful work on a global stage, including studying marine ecology in Panama, teaching English in Poland, researching mass incarceration at Stanford University and interning at a health care clinic in South Africa.

“I am astounded by our students’ ambition, imagination and fearless drive to pursue new and challenging opportunities to further their academic and professional growth,” said Matthew Loar ’07, director of fellowships and student research. “I am also grateful for the work of faculty and staff who help our students cultivate their interests and identify paths for exploration.”

Among the prestigious awards offered in 2023-2024 are 12 Fulbright grants, representing the university’s third consecutive year with double-digit recipients. W&L was also named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students for the sixth consecutive year, ranking third among the baccalaureate institutions recognized by the Fulbright Program.

This past academic year also saw a record 11 Gilman Scholarships and a record eight Critical Language Scholarships awarded, as well as a record three Goldwater Scholars (including the university’s first sophomore recipient since 2009) and — for the fourth consecutive year — a Beinecke Scholar.

Other awards this year include:

  • 4 —  Boren Scholarships
  • 1 —  Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Fellowship
  • 2 —  Japanese Exchange and Teaching Assistantships
  • 3 —  National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
  • 1 —  Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service
  • 2 —  Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowships
  • 3 — Teaching Assistant Program in France awards
  • 5 —  U.S. Teaching Assistantships to Austria

W&L also had one finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship and one finalist for the Mitchell Scholarship this year. Katie Yurechko ’24 was named the university’s first Marshall Scholar, and she will be pursuing a master’s degree in social science of the internet at the University of Oxford, followed by a master’s degree in computer science at University College London. Tanajia Moye-Green ’23 was named the university’s first Knight-Hennessy Scholar, and she will pursue a Ph.D. in sociology at Stanford University.

Supportive Environment
Of the more than 175 fellowship applications submitted by W&L students this year, a record 89 resulted in the student advancing to the next round of the competition — meaning they either received the grant, were placed on the alternate list or were named a semifinalist or finalist — representing the third consecutive year in which more than half of W&L applications did so.

Loar plays a large role in students’ awareness of and application to the numerous fellowships and scholarships available. As a 2006 Beinecke Scholar, a recipient of a 2009 American Graduate Fellowship and the current program director of the Beinecke Scholarship, he is well-versed in the fellowship application process and can offer invaluable guidance. He gets to know each student personally, helping them present the best version of themselves through their applications and find the best fit for their talents and ambitions.

“Dr. Loar has done so much for me during the application process and even beyond fellowships advising,” said Rheannon Loth, who received a U.S. Teaching Assistantship to Austria. “He helped bring me to W&L in the first place and has been a steadfast mentor of mine my whole time here. He has seen my true journey through college, and I would be nowhere without him — certainly not teaching English at a rural high school in Austria!”

The addition of Dallas Tatman, assistant director of fellowships and visiting instructor of anthropology, to W&L’s Office of Fellowships has also had a tangible impact on students’ fellowship success. Since Tatman arrived at W&L in July 2023, he has helped support and guide the ever-increasing number of interested students through the application processes. This past academic year, a record 137 students applied for at least one fellowship, and Loar and Tatman held a total of 1,250 individual student meetings with 348 individual students, demonstrating a commitment to student achievement that makes W&L’s ongoing fellowship success possible.

“I am delighted but not surprised by our students’ continuing success with their fellowship applications, and with the arrival of Dallas to the team, it is clear that we haven’t found our ceiling yet,” Loar said. “I am excited to explore the untapped potential in the coming years.”

Pursuing Passions
This year’s fellowships performance speaks to the intelligence and talent of W&L students as well as the significant time and energy that goes into preparing an application — a particularly impressive feat for such a highly involved campus community. This most recent cohort of recipients represents a diverse cross-section of campus involvement, including members of the Bonner Program, the Shepherd Program, student publications, Greek life, club and varsity sports teams, Contact Committee, Omicron Delta Kappa, Kathekon, Leading Edge, Washington and Lee Student Consulting and the Outing Club.

The mentorship of faculty and staff members — a hallmark of a W&L education — also plays a significant role in students’ awareness of and preparation for numerous fellowship opportunities. Through classes that expand worldviews, thoughtful conversations during office hours and involvement in campus organizations, W&L’s faculty and staff help guide students through their postgraduate decisions, encouraging them to take leaps and pursue their passions.

Nava Berwick ’27 realized her academic passion for South and Southeast Asia thanks to the support and mentorship of Timothy Lubin, the Jessie Ball duPont Professor of Religion. His classes helped prepare her to study Indonesian in Indonesia this summer through a Critical Language Scholarship, bringing her one step closer to her dream career as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State.

“Meeting Professor Lubin [at the Academic Fair on Admitted Students Day] felt like finding gold, and we have bonded over our shared interest in Indonesia through class and office hour discussions,” she said.

Jack Maloy ’24 credits his professors, including Lisa Greer, professor of earth and environmental geoscience, and Chris Connors, the William E. Pritchard III ’80 Professor of Earth and Environmental Geoscience, for pushing him to think creatively and nurturing his adventurous spirit, leading to his acceptance of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Germany.

“I could not have done it without help from them and many others,” Maloy said.

Michelle Morgan ’24, who received an ETA to North Macedonia, is particularly grateful for the encouragement of Elliot and Emily King — associate professor of art history and executive assistant of university advancement, respectively — who “have done so much to make my Washington and Lee experience valuable and rich and have become like a second family.”

W&L faculty also serve as examples for students pursuing careers in education. Gillian Holloway ’24, a Fulbright ETA in Spain, says Holly Pickett, professor of English, “has been a mentor to me and has given me a model for the teacher I want to be.” Goldwater Scholarship recipient Austin Molitor ’25 plans to pursue a doctorate in pure mathematics and similarly views Carrie Finch-Smith, professor of mathematics, as his inspiration.

“Professor Finch-Smith has left such a positive impact on me and makes me want to be the kind of professor she is to a younger generation,” Molitor said. “She is always able and willing to help. She inspires me so much, and I would like to have same kind of effect on future students.”

Read more about individual fellowship recipients and visit the Office of Fellowships to learn more about available opportunities and the application process.

If you know a W&L student who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.