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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Catherine Carlock '10

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Major: English and Journalism

Extracurricular Involvement:
  • Assistant Head Resident Adviser for First-Year Students / Head of Programming for First-Year RAs
  • Peer Counselor
  • The Rockbridge Report, the journalism school's local news broadcast and online print publication.
  • Work/study for the Office of Student Affairs
  • Chi Omega Sorority
  • 2006-2008: The Ring-Tum Phi, copy editor
  • 2006-2007: Volunteer Venture, trip leader

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Spring 2008: Study abroad trip to London and Stratford-upon-Avon with Professors Pickett and Velasquez
  • Summer 2008: Intern at The Charlotte Observer
  • Spring 2009: W&L New York Term. Worked for the CNBC show "Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer"
  • Summer 2009: Intern at The Virginian-Pilot

Post-Graduation Plans: Internship with in San Francisco, CA

Favorite Class: English 380, The Making of the Modern Self in Theory and Performance. It was a study abroad class with Professors Pickett and Velasquez.

Favorite Campus Landmark: The view of the Colonnade from the front doors of Lee Chapel.

There's a quote from Stonewall Jackson emblazoned above the VMI barracks--"You may be whatever you resolve to be." He wrote it when he was a cadet at West Point. Now, VMI cadets salute the statue of Stonewall as they exit underneath the archway where the quote is printed.

That's the kind of story I heard growing up. My father graduated from VMI in 1974, and my mother grew up in Lexington. They got married at Manly Memorial, on Main Street, and had their reception at VMI's Cameron Hall. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all live in Lexington. I've spent countless birthdays and Christmases traveling up and down Interstates 64 and 81 from Richmond to Lexington. I wore red and yellow scarves to VMI football games before heading back across Afton Mountain toward home.

In a way, I grew up in Lexington. I was worried when I chose to come to W&L for college that I would never experience the world outside Virginia. Boy, was I wrong.

At W&L, opportunities start in a freshman residence hall and don't stop there. I joined the newspaper staff as a freshman and was copy editing before Fall Term really even began. By the time the year was up, I had taken English, Journalism, Philosophy, Poverty & Human Capabilities, and Spanish classes. The Dean of the College flipped me a burger on his outdoor patio when he invited our class over for dinner during Spring Term. I knew I had chosen the right place.

I decided I wanted to double major in English and Journalism, but I never dreamed that my choice would take me the places it has. At the end of my sophomore year, I hopped planes to London, Dublin, and Stratford-upon-Avon to study Shakespeare with my English advisor. At the end of my junior year, I took a train to New York City to work for one of television's most uninhibited personalities. All throughout, I've published front-page stories at major metropolitan papers. I have the W&L J-school to thank for that.

Despite the fact that I spent much of my time in Lexington before arriving at W&L, I have discovered a world outside the Shenandoah Valley simply by walking down the Colonnade and saying hello to every person I see. As an RA, I have residents from California, Hawaii, and Vietnam. I've lived with New Yorkers who think 6 inches of snow is nothing special, tease Midwesterners who call soda "pop," and commiserate with Floridians who grumble if the temperature reaches below 60 degrees.

At some schools, students are limited in what they want to do by the major they declare. I love English and Journalism, but I also wanted to branch out and experience other things. W&L received me with open arms. I've helped build houses, acted onstage, joined a sorority, and lived in freshman dorms as an RA.

Being whatever you want to be doesn't just resonate with VMI cadets. It means something to me, too. Because really, the ultimate education in life is learning about yourself. Washington and Lee has given me endless opportunities to learn, not only about English, Journalism, and the world outside Virginia, but about myself as well.

At W&L, I can be whatever I resolve to be.