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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Devin Cooper '11

Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

Major: Biology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Washington and Lee Ladies' Club, Community Service Chair
  • Student Association for Black Unity (SABU), Community Service Chair
  • Senior Gift Project
  • Knowledge Empowering Women Leaders (KEWL)
  • END IT
  • Living Water for Girls, Volunteer

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Research Internships: The University of Chicago, Princeton University, Washington and Lee University, Wake Forest University, Fort Valley State University
  • Study Abroad: Salamanca and Madrid, Spain

Post-Graduation Plans: Attending Medical School at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine. I will be a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Indian Health Service (IHS)

Favorite Class: Biological Illustration with Dr. Bill Ober

Why did you choose your major? Science has always been "my thing". I love learning about life, hence I have gravitated toward biology.

What professor has inspired you? Dr. Jack Wielgus. Every time we meet to discuss academic plans and progress, he is always encouraging and uplifting. He really helped me make it through the tough academic times as a pre-med student.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? College life is what you make it. W&L gives you the space to explore yourself and the environment around you with a freedom that isn't offered at other colleges. You can make W&L "Your W&L"


When I first stepped onto the campus of Washington and Lee, I believed that I was prepared to complete my journey here on my own. I had spent most of high school doing just that. I had mastered the art of the "one woman show." However, my friends and acquaintances at W&L showed me that I did not have to travel the road to success alone.

In high school and even when I started college early at age 16, I had become accustomed to being the "smart Black girl." I had convinced myself that I would never be a part of a group of intellectuals that looked like me--brown-skinned, smart women. But the Washington and Lee Ladies' Club showed me otherwise. In the winter term of my freshman year, three women--Aisha Davis, Grace Andrews and Jamila Seaton--came and sat with me at lunch. They asked me how I was doing, how my classes were going and if I was interested in joining the Ladies' Club. At first I was shocked that they were even speaking to me; I was used to other Black women judging me. Those three women were welcoming and caring so I joined the Ladies' Club.

I started off as a general member, and in my sophomore year I became co-chairwoman of Ladies' Club. My work as co-chairwoman prepared me to be a leader in every aspect of my scholastic and personal life. I learned how to lead with humility, civility and the courage to fail. Under the advisement of Associate Dean of Students Tamara Futrell (affectionately called Dean T), I became the student leader and person that I was meant to be. I believe that the Ladies' Club has offered me the chance to develop as a whole person--socially, academically, spiritually and professionally.

All in all, this single experience, one among many, has given me the tools to be a great student, teacher and future medical doctor. The W&L Ladies' Club gave me a place to belong and helped me find my niche here on campus.