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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Eric Hamscher '11

Hometown: Erie, PA

Major: Global Politics

Minor: Poverty and Human Capability

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Head Resident Advisor for Upper-Division Students
  • President & Co-Captain of Mock Trial
  • General Co-Chair of the First-Year Orientation Committee
  • Bonner Leader
  • Kemper Scholar
  • Tutoring Coordinator for Rockbridge County High School
  • Volunteer at Valley Mission Homeless Shelter

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • 2010 Summer Internship at HCI Export Management Consultants in Lexington, VA (Assistant to the President)
  • 2009 Summer Internship at the Jane Addams Resource Corporation in Chicago, IL (Business Services Intern)
  • 2009 Spring Term Study Abroad: El Camino de Santiago, Spain
  • 2009 Service Trip to Birmingham, AL
  • 2008 Service Trip to El Progreso, Honduras
  • 2008 Service Trip to Immokalee, FL

Post-Graduation Plans: Teach For America 

Favorite W&L Memory: Living in "Baker 2" Freshman Year

Favorite W&L Event: Washington Break

Favorite Campus Landmark: Cadaver Bridge at night

I can remember when I first arrived to W&L, nervous yet excited to unload my bags in the BDG quad, say goodbye to my family, and begin the next stage of my life in college. Now, as a senior preparing to graduate in May, I feel as though someone has hit the fast-forward button. It all seems somewhat unreal. But as I sit back to think about my incredible experiences here these last four years, there are two things that really strike me as having made W&L, and thus my own college experience, truly unique.

First, few schools can match the sheer number and wide range of opportunities which W&L offers to its students. In true liberal arts style, W&L provides something to meet everyone's interests. This has been evidenced by my own ability to study material across academic disciplines, travel abroad, complete summer internships, and get involved in extra-curricular activities. Whether volunteering in the local community, playing the role of a witness or attorney in Mock Trial, or helping to plan Orientation week, I am always able to find something fun and engaging to occupy my time at W&L. But it doesn't stop there. Off-campus, I have taken advantage of opportunities to travel to Honduras, complete a pilgrimage across northern Spain, observe the inner-workings of a non-profit in Chicago, and learn about international business from an experienced consultant right here in Lexington. If there is something that you want to do on-campus, in another part of the country, or internationally, you will quickly find that there are professors, administrators, alumni and other students ready to help you make it happen. At W&L, your imagination is the limit to what you can accomplish.

The second thing that has made W&L such a unique experience for me is the people. W&L fosters an unparalleled sense of community among its members and simultaneously offers the kind of individual attention that can only be found at a school its size. Coming into W&L as a first-year, you realize that you are going to school with extremely motivated people who seek to cultivate a variety of talents. But at first glance, you would never be able to guess the sweeping extent of their accomplishments. Students at W&L are doers, and they are modest about what they do. Walking down the Colonnade on any given day, you might cross paths with an All-American athlete, the founder of a non-profit or a speaker of three languages. Not to mention the fact that, as you are walking down that same Colonnade, you are following in the footsteps of alumni who have gone on to become giants within their respective fields. Over 200 years of history demonstrate what W&L does right to prepare its students for success.

Looking back, I know that W&L has prepared me, developed me and molded me in ways in which no other college or university could have succeeded. The lessons I have learned, the people I have met and the experiences I have enjoyed all make me realize in this bittersweet ending to senior year that I am ready. I am ready to move to Philadelphia next year to pursue work with Teach For America and graduate studies at UPenn. I am ready to see what incredible things my classmates continue to accomplish after graduation. I am ready to challenge myself to exceed expectations and leave a lasting impact on society. So when I leave W&L in May to become an alumnus, I know that I will be going forward with lifelong friends, ambitious goals and the resolve to accomplish them