Hometown: Greenville, SC
High School: Greenville High School
Majors: Politics and Spanish
What about W&L excites you the most?
W&L today is a place of dynamic tradition - that is, the community holds strong to its core principles while adapting to the demands of higher education in the twenty-first century. Now is an exciting time to be a member of the W&L community, as the Johnson gift funds new scholarships, grants, lectures, and programs and the university transforms itself into a more diverse and international institution that prepares its students to live, learn, and thrive in an increasingly competitive and dynamic world. Though the university is growing and changing, it refuses to abandon its sacred traditions - the Honor System and Speaking Tradition are alive and well.
What is your proudest accomplishment thus far?
As a first-year swimmer, I qualified for and competed at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Minneapolis where I broke two individual school records in the 200 backstroke and 400 IM and was a part of the record-breaking 400 medley relay.
How did you hear about W&L and the Johnson Scholarship program?
A family friend was a senior at W&L when I began my college search and suggested I give W&L a look. When I visited W&L, I received information about the Johnson Scholarship program and decided to apply.
What was your impression of campus when you visited for the competition?
I was first impressed with how friendly W&L students and professors were. The campus was beautiful, the people were welcoming, and the hospitality was top-notch - not a bad first impression for a college. I instantly fell in love with intimate classroom environment - all the classes I visited were interactive - and I saw students and professors chatting together in offices, in cafes, and on the sidewalks. W&L felt as much a community as a university.
What will the Johnson Scholarship do for you?
The Johnson Scholarship has already done a lot for me as a first-year student. The scholarship, as advertised, covered the full cost of attendance for the year, enabling me to use outside scholarships to spend ten weeks in Spain at the end of my first year. The first six weeks I spent reviewing advanced grammar with a W&L program during Spring Term, and the last four weeks I spent studying Spanish culture in Seville with an independent program. Without the Johnson Scholarship, I would not have had the opportunity to study in Seville, Salamanca, and Madrid as a first-year student. In the coming years, I hope to continue to study abroad and to learn more languages as a result of the Johnson gift.
How are you going to take advantage of your time at W&L?
I made the most of my first year at W&L studying and swimming and hope to to find time to volunteer with the Spanish House and English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) program in the Lexington community. I tasted the beginnings of fluency in Spanish during the ten weeks I spent studying in Spain as a result of the Johnson Scholarship and hope that I can honor the opportunities W&L has given to me by using what I have learned in the service of others.
What will you contribute to campus as a Johnson Scholar?
I aspire to be an active force on campus during my time at W&L, building bridges between different segments of the community as a resident of the Spanish House and member of the Gay-Straight Alliance. The Johnson Scholarship calls students to be leaders and scholars in the service of others, and as a leader of the Washington, DC, Volunteer Venture pre-orientation trip, I hope to educate incoming freshmen on urban homelessness and its effects on impoverished families.
What's unique about you?
For better or for worse, I have been told I am a natural-born diplomat and a calming presence with the ability to bring people together. I hope to use those skills at W&L and beyond.
What inspires you?
As a pretty philosophical person, any act of understanding, sacrifice, or forgiveness inspires me, especially if unwarranted or between unlikely parties - the triumph of humanity and love over distrust and division.
Name one thing you love or love doing.
Traveling, hands down - put me on a plane, train, or car, and I will go anywhere. I would love to get my pilot's license and fly around the world.
What's your favorite place?
This spring, I fell in love with the Retiro Park in Madrid, and passing an afternoon there with friends and family would be time well-spent.
Which leader do you most admire, and why?
As an admirer of servant-leaders, I find inspiration in the work of Mahatma Gandhi or anyone who can put aside personal ambition for the good of his people. George Washington, namesake of our university, is another example of this type of leadership; he willingly surrendered his title as commander of revolutionary American forces and resisted others' attempts to install him as an American monarch.
Why does leadership matter?
Without proper, wise, informed leadership, a people can find itself divided, frustrated, and listless. A strong servant-leader who commands respect, instills discipline, provides vision, and promotes unity can lead his people to greatness.
Why does integrity matter?
As the wisdom of the Honor System reminds us, integrity sets us free. Trust and integrity are essential for long-term success in relationships, careers, or any endeavor. Integrity has no price, cannot be traded, and remains untainted if all else is lost.
What is your intended career?
As a sophomore in college, I have no one dream career, but I believe it will be public service in some capacity.
What are some of your goals for your W&L career?
With three more years at W&L, I hope to win an individual NCAA title, gain fluency in at least two foreign languages, survive my science GenEd, and graduate feeling as though I was a force for unity and understanding on campus.
Where will you be in 5 years and what will you be doing?
I will mostly likely be pursuing graduate study in law or politics.