W&L’s Muensterman Awarded Prestigious Beinecke Scholarship Kathryn Muensterman ’22 has won a $34,000 Beinecke Scholarship to help fund her graduate studies.
Washington and Lee University junior Kathryn Muensterman ’22 has won a $34,000 Beinecke Scholarship to help fund her graduate studies. Muensterman is majoring in English, with a minor in medieval and renaissance studies.
The Beinecke Scholarship is highly competitive. Since 1975, the program has selected 680 college juniors from more than 110 different undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at any accredited university. Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately before graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.
Muensterman plans to use the scholarship to aid her interest and research in literature, medieval studies and religion.
“I have been fortunate to study and explore all three research topics since my first year at W&L,” Muensterman said. “This scholarship will be a tremendous help as I pursue similar areas of research in graduate school.”
Next year, Muensterman will work with Genelle Gertz, W&L professor of English, on an English honors thesis on medieval women’s spiritual writings.
“Kathryn exudes calmness, kindness and seriousness,” Gertz said. “She brings joy to everything she considers. She is the student who understands what you try your best to convey, writing and speaking back with greater insight and elegance than you had imagined in the first place. She is also the first student I have had who volunteered to work for my research team without pay and who attended all summer meetings, contributing as much to the work as other paid, full-time students.”
Matthew Loar, director of fellowships at W&L, helped Muensterman with her Beinecke application.
“Kathryn Muensterman already has the makings of a transformative scholar and teacher,” Loar said. “There’s something in her writing and her thinking, an elegance, a complexity, an alertness to the larger stakes, that just can’t be taught. Her application deeply impressed the members of W&L’s Beinecke selection committee, and I’m so pleased that the Beinecke Scholarship Program saw fit to recognize Kathryn as W&L’s newest Beinecke Scholar.”
Erich Uffelman, Bentley Professor of Chemistry at W&L, has also worked with Muensterman throughout her college career and with her research.
“Equally at home with a hyperspectral reflectance imaging spectroscopy system or a Jane Austen novel, Kathryn can edit a manuscript on cultural heritage analysis with the same facility that she can create an organic chemistry pun involving photochemical cycloaddition reactions and the poetry of Dylan Thomas. All of this, combined with a winsome personality, makes Kathryn Muensterman an extraordinary young woman indeed,” Uffelman said.
After graduation, Muensterman plans to earn her master’s degree and a doctorate in English literature in the U.S. or the U.K., specializing in medieval and early modern women’s spiritual literature.
“I’m incredibly thankful for and encouraged by the opportunities the Beinecke will afford me as I look toward applying to graduate programs next year,” Muensterman said. “I have been so fortunate to work with professors at W&L who have taken such personal interest in my academic success, and I am sincerely grateful to each of them.”
The Beinecke Scholarship Program creates an endowment to provide scholarships for the graduate education of students of unusual promise. The program encourages their pursuit of opportunities available in the study of the arts, humanities and social sciences.