Hometown: Columbia, SC
Majors: Biology and Politics
What about W&L excites you the most?
I am most excited about pursuing my interests in a number of areas of study, and I am hoping to take my studies abroad for a semester or even a full year. Biology and Politics certainly present their own unique challenges, but it is the idea of mixing the study of Politics and the Biological sciences that most intrigues me. Also, I am looking forward to working with Dr. Strong, Mrs. Hutchinson, and other W&L faculty on improving the Johnson Scholar experience and making the scholarship more effective for future generations of students. Hopefully the the scholarship will develop into a program that is a household name for students applying to the nation's elite universities.
What is your proudest accomplishment thus far?
My proudest accomplishment is surviving my freshman year of college with a GPA above 3.75 and taking the initiative to attend summer programs-- such as a month in the Wind River Mountains with the National Outdoor Leadership School, and three weeks in Tanzania with Habitat for Humanity.
How did you hear about W&L and the Johnson Scholarship program?
My dad went to Washington and Lee nearly 30 years ago, so I grew up knowing about the university. I discovered the Johnson Scholarship while applying to the school and knew that it sounded like a fabulous opportunity.
What will the Johnson Scholarship do for you?
The Johnson Scholarship will give me opportunities to travel and study during my summers. It can help me find brilliant and interesting people with whom I can associate at school, and it can provide me an avenue through which I might give back to the school-- through volunteering time at the competition and giving feedback on how the program might improve. Eventually I hope the scholarship will become a unique association within the larger community of Washington and Lee alumni, and that it will support the development and growth of future generations of scholars.
How are you going to take advantage of your time at W&L?
In my remaining years at Washington and Lee I hope to refine my leadership skills and take more initiative in group endeavors. I also hope to develop strong relationships with friends, professors, and professionals who will form the fabric of my W&L experiences. Mostly, though, I want to enjoy my time at Washington and Lee and soak up the excitement of being young and having my whole life ahead of me.
What will you contribute to campus as a Johnson Scholar?
As a Johnson Scholar I hope to provide energy and balance in both my personal and academic lives. I feel like a solid example of the work hard-- play hard mentality, which allows me to lead in the classroom as well as in social settings. I do not have any specific aspirations in clubs or organizations, but I hope that people will see me as a strong, trustworthy, and intelligent character wherever I go on campus.
What's unique about you?
I think I am unique in the fact that I have difficulty separating my morals from the different aspects of my life. I think some people can reserve certain standards of decency and honor for their academic and professional lives, but fail to transfer those standards to their fraternity lives. I feel uncomfortable with the way personal conduct often contradicts the tradition of civility that our Honor System sets forth. I struggle with expressing these ideas in a way that might see real change on campus.
What inspires you?
The outdoors inspires me. I take every opportunity to explore the mountains around Lexington and I have dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail or exploring mountains and wildernesses in foreign lands. I like to see myself as a future journalist for National Geographic, or as a doctor working to fight HIV/AIDS in third world communities. Dreams and thoughts of a noble and active lifestyle inspire me to keep exploring my world and myself.
Name one thing you love or love doing.
I love waking up before sunrise and getting in the ocean just as the sun touches the waves. Surfing at dawn is a peaceful and gratifying experience.
What's your favorite place?
My favorite place is Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee when the sun is setting behind Lookout Mountain. I have lots of memories of watching this sunset in high school and I always felt good about life in those moments.
Which leader do you most admire, and why?
I most admire Greg Mortenson, the founder of the Central Asia Institute and builder of schools all across Pakistan and Afghanistan since the 1990s. I read Greg's book, titled Three Cups of Tea, and I fell in love with his appreciation for the outdoors, and his drive to make a real change in the world. He went into areas where people thought no white American could ever find acceptance, and he built relationships and erected schools that are helping to reverse the development of militant Islam. I admire his courage for going into the most desolate and needy places in the world, and I admire his determination to see his projects through-- no matter the time or the cost. In addition, his schools do not teach Judeo-Christian values-- proof that he is a pragmatist who cares more about providing aid than pushing agendas.
Why does leadership matter?
Leadership matters because every great idea requires initiative and direction in order to blossom. Not every leader needs to run at the front of the pack, but in order to make changes in our world we need leaders inspiring, building up confidence, and challenging people to work harder, think more critically, and make things happen. Washington and Lee will cultivate leadership in the people who wish to lead because it will challenge them to work, think, and act as men and women of character who want to make a difference in the world.
Why does integrity matter?
Integrity, which in this case I take to mean living by a personal moral and ethical code of honor, is important because it defines the world into terms of right and wrong. If one wishes to do his duty in life, not only to himself but to the people around him, he must first decide on a moral code and commit to living by that code no matter the cost. Once you have established a moral code for yourself the framework of your decision making process changes and you become a person of integrity. Once you have a personal moral code the thought process behind each decision is not "what is easiest?" or "what is best?"; rather, before you decide anything you think to yourself: "what is right?".
What is your intended career?
As of now I have a number of careers in mind. If Biology becomes my passion and I want to devote my life to helping others I might pursue medical school and start practicing medicine. If I decide that I enjoy Politics I may try to attend law school and de
What are some of your goals for your W&L career?
By the end of my W&L career I hope to have studied abroad, lived in a big city for a summer with an exciting job/internship, and to have grown into a man with integrity and true leadership skills. I don't have many specific goals, except that I'd like to attend graduate school at one of the country's best universities.
Where will you be in 5 years and what will you be doing?
In five years I will most likely be in graduate school--probably studying law or medicine, but if dreams come true I could be working in the Himalayas doing a story with National Geographic for the September 2014 issue. The future is uncertain.