Student Profile

Michael W 2020 St. Louis, MO

Michael W. '20

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

“At UChicago, I've met some of the most brilliant, dedicated, and genuine people the world has to offer.”

Have you selected a course of study? Are there any professors whose classes have changed or challenged you?

I was lucky enough to have decided my major early into my first year: public policy. Within that program, though I have many more classes still to come, I have been challenged by Professor Brophy's "The Politics of Health Care," which I'm taking right now. As part of my final paper for this class, I'll have to interview at least five actors in the health care field—meaning doctors, researchers, patients, lobbyists, and more. Not only will this paper be the longest one I've ever written, but the interview requirement is unlike anything I've done before. It's somewhat daunting, to be sure, but I'm excited to take my studies into the real world and listen to a practical perspective on what I'm learning in class. Of course, almost every class I've taken here has challenged me in some way. As they say, "There are no easy classes at UChicago." For example, I have declared a minor in creative writing. Despite what my parents and family back home might think, these creative writing classes are far from easy. They challenge me to write every single day, even when I don't want to, and they challenge me to develop complex and compelling characters, even when I'm in the mood to write something pretty and dull. So, yes, UChicago classes are challenging. Challenging, but completely worth it.

What activities are you involved with outside the classroom? Have you held any leadership roles in your extracurricular activities?

Last year, I was fortunate enough to become the president of Chicago Strategies, a student-run strategic consulting group on campus. Every quarter, we take on a Chicago-based client (such as candidates, elected officials, or nonprofits) and conduct and present research for them. Our past clients include Alderman Sophia King, State Rep. Carol Ammons, the North Lawndale Employment Network, and more. It's a fantastic way for our team of 20+ students to strengthen our research and consulting skills outside of class. As president, it's my job to find new clients (so, a lot of cold-calling) as well as to maintain our relationships with existing clients. I also coordinate our general meetings and ensure that our project leaders have everything they need to complete their reports. It is a tremendous responsibility for me; if I don't do my job, the group will fall apart. We won't have a client, and there won't be work for us to do. At the same time, though, I'm learning a lot about leadership and effective communication—skills that I can carry with me to a future employer.

If you could speak directly to the person whose gift supported your scholarship, what would you say?

Thank you so, so much. I'm sure there's someone who said this first, but I believe that we are, essentially, combinations of all the people we've met before. And at UChicago, I've met some of the most brilliant, dedicated, and genuine people the world has to offer. I've met new role models; I've come across new ways of thinking. All of this, I'm happy to say, is part of me now. Of course, my time at this school hasn't always been perfect. But I can't imagine spending these years anywhere else. I wouldn't want to.