- Class of: Col ’18
- Hometown: Roanoke, VA
- Current City: Cambridge, MA
- Current Job: First year law student at Harvard University
- Favorite Charlottesville Spot: Either MidiCi or Brazos Tacos; I’m more of a sampler than a regular
Tell us about your current life and your journey after UVA.
I recently started my first year of law school at Harvard University. Before that, I worked at the UVA School of Law and was the Assistant to the Dean for Special Projects during the 2018-2019 school year.
Tell us how you got to UVA.
I’m originally from Roanoke, though my family is from North Carolina, and I’m the youngest of four boys. UVA wasn’t necessarily on my radar when it came to my college options at first, but one of my brothers attended while I was applying for college so I had a general understanding of the University. It was the biggest school I applied to in terms of enrollment, but even though it was crowded with people it still felt familiar. The Ridley Scholarship Fund was one of the deciding factors in why I chose UVA because of the immediate support it offered me. In terms of academics, history courses excited and engaged me the most as a student, and the importance of learning and understanding history is an idea I really carry with me.
Tell us about your experience with the Ridley Scholarship Fund.
Ridley was kind of my “home base” while I was at UVA—it was the first community that was familiar to me. The program offered traveling opportunities in the third and fourth years, which were chances to forge personal connections with donors and show them face-to-face how their contributions were helping us.
In my third year I worked as sort of a substitute intern for the actual Ridley intern at the Alumni Association, and in my fourth year I was in the position full time.
What’s a favorite UVA memory?
One of the locations that brings back the most memories is the first-year student housing area on Grounds. I was active in Residence Life, so I had friends on the residence staff and happy memories of move-in days.
What makes you say “Wahoowa?”
I have a bit of a complicated relationship with UVA, and so I’m proudest of the University when I feel that earnest efforts are being made to reconcile its past.
What’s something you learned at UVA that you apply to your life now?
Attending college really pulled me out of my comfort zone and helped me get used to taking risks. I really opened up and explored instead of getting too comfortable with routine. Before I had to make decisions that could have really far-reaching consequences, I was able to figure things out in a safer context and learn how to make those choices with confidence while at UVA.
What does being a UVA alumnus mean to you?
It means appreciation, and it means pride. I’m proud of finishing my degree and glad for the doors it opens, and I appreciate the friendships I made and the experience I had as a student. It also means accountability—I feel responsible for giving an honest report of my UVA experience and for helping UVA be better in 10 years than it was for me when I graduated. I want to make my experience as accessible as possible to others and hold the institution accountable for continued growth, and for humane and responsible stewardship of its place in the Charlottesville community.
What does being a Ridley alumnus mean to you?
Being an alumnus means investment. I was afforded countless opportunities because of Ridley but my commitment to it has always felt like something exciting rather than a heavy obligation. The program is a space for real opportunity, and I have a responsibility to stay involved and engaged with Ridley to help those opportunities happen for every student that it welcomes.