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winter 2018
  • GreysonMann
  • DavidMoore
  • AnnaLe
  • WilliamsWhitaker

Scholarly Pursuits

Wofford graduates receive prestigious Princeton and Fulbright appointments, and a student-athlete earns a Goldwater Scholarship.

Greyson Mann ’14 spent four years looking forward to walking across the stage at Wofford’s recent graduation – “the single most important weekend in a college student’s career” – but he missed it.

He doesn’t regret it, though. Instead, the Chinese and government major from Laurel, Md., was attending a mandatory orientation session for his next big thing – a two-year teaching fellowship with Princeton in Asia (PiA), a Princeton University-affiliated program aimed at promoting the free interchange of the best ideals of the civilizations of both East and West.

“I had to tell myself I’ve already given up so much for my dreams, I just can’t stop now,” Mann says.

He immersed himself into his studies – especially Chinese language and culture – while at Wofford and wants to continue that focus.

“All four years of college have led to this appointment,” he says. “Whether it was my Chinese language and government studies, or my extracurricular activities here at Wofford, I always focused on fostering greater understanding for international issues.”

Mann got his first taste of Asia when, after graduating from Fork Union Military Academy, he and his best friend took a summer trip to Shanghai, where he will be going with PiA. “He introduced me to Chinese culture and helped spark the passion I have had the past four years for learning the language and understanding its culture.”

Since then, he has remained immersed, including studying abroad in China last spring with the Middlebury language program. “It was an amazing experience that pushed my academic abilities to their limit,” Mann says. “However, I began to immerse myself and study so much that I actually neglected my own health. If it wasn’t for the care of a Wofford friend’s father, who was a native of Beijing, I might not have recovered so quickly and continued to achieve all that I did.”

The experience demonstrated the sort of kindness Mann says he’s experienced in China and was part of the reason he always will be passionate about improving Chinese and U.S. relations, one person at a time.
“I don’t think I ever had just one moment when I realized that the Princeton in Asia program was an ideal opportunity for me to pursue,” he explains. “It honestly just always felt right, and the natural progression of my studies.”
Mann says PiA looks for “passionate and adventurous candidates” for its fellowships, and he believes his passion for influencing personal health and wellness issues in China was among the reasons he was selected.

“Throughout my travels in China I have been shown immeasurable courtesy, which has made my travels smoother and arguably even saved my life once or twice,” he says. “These experiences also have helped me gain a greater sense of self-understanding, because I have been forced to break my comfort barrier.”

At the end of their initial two-year tenure with PiA, every fellow is eligible to apply for a $10,000 grant, with which Mann would like to open a Western-style health center.
“I have noticed that the physical, mental and emotional stress of Chinese students is taking an extremely negative toll on youth, and even leading to suicide in extreme cases,” he says, adding that he envisions a health center with a gym, counseling and other resources needed to relax and gain both mental and physical stability.

Mann says he likely will be teaching language arts in both English and Chinese, and perhaps coaching sports while at the YK Poa School in Shanghai.

“PiA will be an amazing two-year experience that will help me continue to improve my Chinese language ability and knowledge of the culture,” he says. “The PiA experience also should help me improve my resume and gain acceptance to a top-tier graduate school for international relations in two years.”

He praised Dr. Li Qing Kinnison, associate professor of Chinese studies; Dr. John Farrenkopf, professor of government; and Dr. William DeMars, professor and chair of the department of government, with contributing to his “pursuit, success and decision to participate in PiA.” 

Fulbright Teaching Assistant Program

David Moore ’13 and Anna Le ’13 have known each other for years – they were neighbors who met in the second grade and graduated from Paul M. Dorman High School in Spartanburg, S.C. District 6.

Now, they’ll be neighbors, of sorts, again as they both take 2014-15 English Teaching Assistant Program assignments this fall in Asia through the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Moore, a triple major in chemistry, mathematics and German and a Richardson Scholar, was the college’s 29th Presidential International Scholar. He will go to South Korea on the Fulbright.

At Wofford, Moore studied abroad in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Italy and South Korea. He conducted research in nuclear chemistry during an internship in Germany at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Currently, he is completing an internship in Chicago. Moore will attend Rice University following the completion of his Fulbright assignment.

Le, who will go to Vietnam under the program, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa while at Wofford, where she majored in chemistry and was on the Dean’s List every semester. She was the recipient of the Arthur B. and Ida Maie S. Rivers Award at Wofford in 2013, and she studied abroad in Vietnam, Italy and Chile.

Le spent the past year attending Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, N.C. She plans to attend medical school at Tulane University after her Fulbright assignment is completed.

Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Two Wofford College student-athletes – juniors Alissa Williams of Kentwood, Mich., and Justin Whitaker of Alpharetta, Ga. – have been honored by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Williams was named a Goldwater Scholar while Whitaker received an honorable mention.

Both students run cross country, indoor track and outdoor track for Wofford.

Williams, the daughter of Bart and Wendy Williams of Kentwood, is majoring in biology and computer science, with a minor in mathematics and an emphasis in computational science. She is a member of Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society.

Whitaker, the son of Ray and Lauren Whitaker of Alpharetta, is majoring in physics and mathematics, with a minor in computer science and an emphasis in computational science.

The Barry Goldwater Foundation recently announced the awarding of 283 scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States.

“I think the fact that we were both recognized by the Goldwater Foundation shows a lot about Wofford,” Williams says. “To have not one, but two students recognized by Goldwater in the same year puts us in the same tier as large research institutions and big-name liberal arts colleges, who regularly have multiple students recognized. It shows that a Wofford education has prepared us just as well for the internships and graduate schools that will ultimately make us successful in our chosen fields.”

She notes that the two worked “entirely with a collaborative spirit” in applying for the scholarships, which “truly exemplifies what Wofford is all about,” adding that she heard horror stories about students from the same institution undermining and sabotaging each other’s applications rather than working together. “Justin and I were completely supportive of one another throughout the application process, and we both wanted the other to succeed. We both wanted to do our best, but we wanted the other to have his or her best chance of winning as well.”

Williams also is a 2014 Papadopoulos Scholar, earning her a research internship this summer at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “I’ll be working with Dr. Paul Flicek, who helps maintain the ENSEMBL database for genetics-related research,” she says. “He has sent me some papers about my likely summer project – looking at the evolutionary conservation of transcription factors near CTCF, which is the only known mammalian insulator. Biology is an international field, and it’s truly a great opportunity to pursue my research interests in England.”

She adds that receiving the Goldwater Scholarship “is a culmination of the work and effort of many people, without whom this would never have been possible. I’m grateful for all of the people who have helped get to this point – my summer research mentors, my professors, my parents, my teammates and my friends. The Goldwater Scholarship puts me another step closer to my goals, and I hope that I will be able to give back one day by contributing to scientific research.”

She plans to earn a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or computational biology and to conduct research in a related field.

Whitaker plans to pursue a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences.

Williams is a member of Wofford’s school-record-setting 4x800 meter relay and distance medley relays teams in outdoor track. Whitaker runs the 800 meters and mile in indoor and outdoor track and is a member of the school-record-setting indoor distances medley team.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Of the scholars, 172 are men and 111 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Twenty-two scholars are mathematics majors, 191 are science and related majors, 63 are majoring in engineering, and seven are computer science majors. Many of the scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering and computer disciplines.

The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 117 Marshall Awards, 112 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 14, 1986. The scholarship program honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.

Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed 7,163 scholarships worth approximately $46 million. The trustees plan to award about 300 scholarships for the 2015–2016 academic year.
By W. Tyrell Jemison ’14 and Laura Hendrix Corbin