Student Profile

Victoria M. recipient of the Adamas Odyssey Scholarship

Victoria M. ’16

Hometown: Edmond, OK

What did you do this past summer?
This past summer, I was a Jeff Metcalf Intern at the New York Philharmonic Archives. This was a really exciting experience for me for a variety of reasons. I play viola, so it was amazing for me to get to work at Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic. I got to attend a New York Philharmonic rehearsal, and there were constantly exciting things happening and accomplished musicians flowing through. One of my projects was to create a summary of the Walter Damrosch collection in the New York Performing Arts Library; this was particularly exciting because I got to go through all of Damrosch’s old letters and papers. It’s amazing to realize you’re holding dozens of letters written by one of the most foundational conductors in American history. It was also only my second time in the northeast at all, and my first time to spend a significant amount of time there. Living in New York City was a very exciting experience, and I got to learn and do a lot. In the attached photo, I’m at the Hungarian Cafe, one of my favorite places in Morningside Heights (the neighborhood I lived in). I also got to travel to DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and several other east coast cities for the first time. I learned a lot from experiencing these cities that I had heard about my whole life but never seen.

Please comment on the pursuit of your major and minor, as well as any other academic interests.
I am double-majoring in economics and public policy, with a specialization in human rights. Economics is going well for me and I’m really enjoying it, so I hope to eventually pursue an economics PhD. I just finished up the Honors Economics sequence (for better or for worse, I’m one of only about six girls in my year to do so), and I’m looking forward to taking some interesting electives next year (Game Theory and Steven Levitt’s Economics of Crime are two that I’m very excited about). This spring quarter I am going abroad for the Vienna Human Rights program. I’m really excited because this will be my first time in continental Europe, and because I think the program will help me unify a lot of my academic interests. I’m very interested in central and eastern Europe, and I took a year of Russian my first year and a class on the Balkans my second year. I also really enjoyed my social science sequence and wanted an opportunity to take some more social philosophy classes. I think this program will allow me to unite my interest in central/eastern Europe with my interests in policy.

Please tell us about a significant or memorable experience you have had during your time at UChicago.
I’ve had countless amazing experiences at UChicago, from the opportunity to attend major events and see world-changing academics and politicians to small but significant personal victories. One experience that I learned a lot from was my time living in Phoenix House in International House. My first year was the first year that Phoenix House had been in existence. Because of this, I got to quickly take on a leadership role in my house, and my housemates and I got to have a large impact on shaping house culture. By getting to help essentially build the house from scratch, I actually learned a lot about how to build good policy and culture. Living in I-House was also an exceptional experience. In how many dorms can you just walk downstairs and stumble into a diplomat? There were countless exciting events, including a visit from Madeleine Albright, and I attended as many of these as I could. I also met many international students and it was very interesting to befriend and learn from them. But most importantly, I had amazing housemates that have become my closest friends, and who have made my experience here joyful, transformative, and a real adventure.

What activities do you participate in outside of the classroom? Are there any that are new from last year?
I play viola in the University Symphony Orchestra and a quartet, I’m a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity, and UChicago Democrats. I’ve gotten a lot more involved in UC Dems this year—I’m on the executive board, and my main project has been designing handouts for each meeting and developing the club website. I’m also serving as a Student Government Class of 2016 representative this quarter (as a substitute for my friend who is abroad). I’m enjoying having the chance to participate in SG and learn how it works. I’ve also gotten the chance to work on my own project—I’m working with the Socioeconomic Diversity Alliance, the Chicago Academic Achievement Program, and the College Programming Office to develop a summer reading list to help incoming first-years from more modest high school backgrounds gain some basic knowledge and terminology that will allow them to better participate in campus conversations, so that they’re not immediately intimidated upon arrival and can have the confidence to speak up.

As a scholarship recipient, to what extent are you grateful for the support you received? What are your thoughts on how you might one day give back to the University of Chicago?
Thank you so much for your generous support! Without such support, I could never have attended the University of Chicago. My time at UChicago has definitely been the most transformative period of my life, and I have never been happier—it is so wonderful to be constantly surrounded by brilliant people and endless opportunities. I really can’t thank you enough; the opportunity and support to attend UChicago really has been the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I hope that one day I will be able to do the same as you and give back to the University to give opportunity to promising students.