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W&L’s Troy Larsen ’22 Awarded Fulbright Grant to Hungary Larsen will spend the next academic year studying at the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics and participating in a research group at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics.

Troy-Larsen-Nov-2021-4-scaled-600x400 W&L’s Troy Larsen ’22 Awarded Fulbright Grant to HungaryTroy Larsen ’22

Troy Larsen ’22, a math and classics major at Washington and Lee University, has been awarded a unique Fulbright grant to Hungary that will allow him to spend the next academic year studying at the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) and participating in a research group at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics.

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics is an academic program for advanced American and Canadian students. Larsen will leave for Hungary in September 2022 and plans to be there until May 2023.

“This opportunity feels too good to be true,” Larsen said. “I’ll be doing what I love in an environment I know will challenge me to grow as a person. It’s a massive vote of confidence in my potential as a mathematician and a leader. I’m honored to receive this award and thrilled to have the chance to represent W&L and the United States while abroad.”

The Fulbright grant allows Larsen to enroll at BSM free of charge. While there, he will take advanced mathematics coursework not offered at W&L, broadening his mathematical knowledge and diving deeply into his areas of scholastic interest. Larsen also plans to enroll in Hungarian language and culture courses.

“Over the last four years, I have dedicated myself to creating spaces in which all students, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, can grow and find success,” said Larsen. “During my free time while at BSM, I hope to help foster such an environment by working closely with Fulbright Hungary’s Roma Student Initiative, providing instruction in mathematics and advice on collegiate success to the historically underserved Roma communities in Budapest.”

Larsen credits Elizabeth Denne, associate professor of math at W&L, for first showing him the joys of research and as the mentor who inspired him to pursue a career in mathematics.

“Troy is an outstanding student,” said Denne. “I worked with him as his undergraduate research advisor for 10 weeks during the summer of 2020, and his performance was exceptional. He is extremely intelligent, works hard, and thinks critically and creatively about mathematics.”

Larsen’s passion for learning extends not only to the confines of the classroom but to numerous extracurricular activities across campus. At W&L, Larsen has assumed significant leadership roles in multiple student organizations while maintaining a rigorous academic schedule.

Larsen has been the general co-chair of the first-year orientation committee for W&L’s entering classes of 2024 and 2025. He also served as a university ambassador, auction chair for Mock Convention 2020, a peer counselor and treasurer of the peer counseling program, president of the Washington and Lee University Singers, and as an active participant in the Johnson Scholars Mentorship Program, and he competed as a member of the men’s varsity swimming team.

“Troy is an exceptional thinker who has outstanding achievements in both his major fields of study. He is also an active and generous member of our university community, serving in and leading many student organizations on campus,” said Rebecca Benefiel, professor of classics at Washington and Lee. “Troy is an excellent communicator, he has a brilliant mind, and he is a collegial collaborator. We are so proud of all that he has accomplished during his four years at W&L.”

Larsen graduated from Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In addition to being awarded W&L’s prestigious Johnson Scholarship, Larsen won a highly competitive Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2021, which promotes science, mathematics and engineering research careers. He also received the James McDowell Scholarship for the highest undergraduate grade point average over two years and the Taylor Scholarship for the most outstanding junior mathematics major. He was honored for his contributions to campus with the Madison Montgomery Shinaberry ’16 Outstanding Student Leadership Award and the Most Outstanding Peer Counselor Award. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, Eta Sigma Phi national classics honors society and Pi Mu Epsilon national mathematics honors society.

In the future, Larsen plans to pursue a doctorate in mathematics with the hope of one day becoming a professor and serving as a mentor to future undergraduate students.

The Fulbright Program was established over 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Washington and Lee University is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Students for the fourth consecutive year.

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