Hayley Williamson '13
Hayley Williamson ’13 knew what she was looking for in a college
when she toured the R-MC campus.
“I liked the size of the campus and the fact that R-MC offers an astrophysics minor
and houses the Keeble Observatory,” says the Chesterfield, Virginia native. “I was
offered a scholarship, and that also played an
important role in my decision to become a Yellow Jacket.”
Williamson’s majors (physics and
mathematics) and minor (astrophysics)
suit her perfectly.
“Astrophysics was one of the reasons I came to R-MC, so it was natural that I should
minor in that,” she says. “I took a physics class when I was a freshman because
I had enjoyed it in high school—and part of the physics major includes several math
classes—so choosing my majors was easy.” In fall 2013, Williamson will attend the
University of Virginia as a Jefferson Fellowship Ph.D. student in Engineering Physics.
She plans to focus her research on the atmosphere of Mars.
The Art of Debate
Williamson has been a successful member of R-MC’s
Franklin Debating Society for four years. The team, which recently won the
competes intercollegiately in debate and a range of forensics activities. The Society
also annually hosts the touring British debaters as well as a 19th Century-style
debating event. Williamson currently serves as vice president of the Society.
“Professor Ted Sheckels, the debate team coach, has helped me to hone my public-speaking
ability,” says Williamson. “The ability to communicate well is important in any
discipline, including the sciences.”
During January Term (J-term) 2012,
Williamson studied abroad under the guidance of Political Science Professor Thomas
Badey, whose course, Major Governments
of Western Europe, included travel to London, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels.
“We went to a lot of museums that have items not found in the United States,” says
Williamson. “And it was interesting to learn about how other governments work and
compare them to our own.”
Internships = High-Level Research
Two internships at the Lunar and Planetary
Science Academy at Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland gave Williamson
valuable experience, and insight into her future.
“I did high-level research, which helped prepare me for graduate school,” she says.
“Additionally, the experience cemented my decision to study planetary science. I
now have several contacts that have helped me in advancing my career. Both internships
were huge stepping stones.”
Williamson praises R-MC professors for their mentorship and guidance.
“Physics Professors George Spagna,
Deonna Woolard, and Rachele Dominguez have taught me so much,” she says. “Professor
Spagna in particular helped me realize that I wanted to do something with space,
and he taught me what I needed in order to do that.”
“I see a bright future for Hayley,” says Spagna. “Beyond her innate curiosity about
the universe around her, she’s not afraid to ask good questions and then do the
work necessary to find the answers.”
Mathematics Professor Adrian Rice
also played an important role in Williamson’s success at R-MC.
“Professor Rice’s classes were always enjoyable,” she says. “For example, his History
of Math class illustrated how mathematics unfolded from simple arithmetic to the
many-layered, complex discipline it is today. It’s really fascinating.”
“I have known Hayley ever since she was a freshman in my Calculus I class,” says
Rice. “She must have enjoyed the experience, because she went on to take five other
classes with me. I can always count on Haley for a thought-provoking question or
an interesting comment on the material. She is an absolute pleasure to teach! And
she doesn’t just excel at mathematics and physics: she’s also a star of the college’s
debate team. She’s a true all-rounder, and the epitome of a liberal arts student.”
For 30 years, R-MC’s Bassett Internship Program
has been successfully placing students in internships in the U.S. and around the
globe. The Bassett Internship Program works closely with students to help identify
their interests and match them with an appropriate internship opportunity. Randolph-Macon’s
alumni provide a strong network of support for students
throughout their time at the college or in assisting them after graduation with
career direction and opportunities.
Students may choose to pursue academic, paid, or volunteer internships in a wide
variety of settings; recent internships have seen R-MC students gaining valuable
knowledge and experience in fields including health care, finance, non-profit, communications
and media, education, politics and law, and the arts.
The Randolph-Macon EDGE,
the cornerstone of the Center for Personal and Career
Development, helps students lead the pack when competing for jobs and top
graduate schools. Students have the support of faculty, career coaches, alumni and
staff as they focus on their personal and academic ambitions.