From Isolation to Excellence: The A&S Class of '24 Earns the Spotlight

Students in graduation cap and gown UVA

As the last class of students to experience college life during the COVID-19 lockdown, the College of Arts & Sciences' Class of '24 rebounded from a first year in isolation with resilience and a keen sense of the importance of community and of the urgency of pursuing careers aimed at building a better world for everyone.  From pursuing graduate studies in medicine and medical research to following career paths as policymakers and advocates for the underserved, this year's graduating class takes with it the power of a broad-based liberal arts education and the skills to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

"The liberal arts and sciences matter more today than at any other time in human history," said Christa Acampora, Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. "Confronting and addressing the complex, the urgent and the global challenges of tomorrow will require a more capacious understanding of what is to be human and to be humane. We're proud of this year's graduates, and we are confident that they step out into the world beyond Grounds equipped to explore those essential questions, to seek new knowledge and new perspectives and to give us all hope for the future."

Meet some of the outstanding members of the College Arts & Sciences newest graduating class.

Meet the Graduates

This spring, sociology major, Blue Ridge Scholar, first-generation Haitian American student, and member of the Class of ’24, Darnisha Augustin, completed her Distinguished Major Program thesis on the impact of stress on the health behaviors of healthcare professionals.

The former managing editor of The Cavalier Daily, Lexi Baker begins a newspaper internship with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this summer.

This fall, Cole Blanton of the Class of ‘24 will head to the National Institutes of Health to do research on pediatric lupus. But first, he’ll graduate this spring with a distinguished major in neuroscience, adding minors in Korean and data science to his list of credentials.

Originally an environmental sciences major, Buckley realized that community and environmental policymaking are where he could do the most good.

The combination of history and STEM courses has created a nice balance in her undergraduate experience.

This spring, she wraps up her internship at the Fralin, as one of the installations she’s helped create opens to the public.

Before leaving for Kenya this summer on a Peace Corps assignment, Cruey is scheduled to graduate in May with bachelor’s degrees in religious studies and English.

Endo’s long-term goal is to become a pediatrician, but her study of Japanese has helped her be herself at UVA.

This spring, Engel will receive two degrees: a bachelor’s in chemistry with a specialization in biochemistry and a bachelor’s in music with a performance concentration.

As an undergraduate at UVA, Saoirse Farrell knew she was interested in making the world a more equitable place, but she wasn’t sure how to start. She found her answers in the College’s Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

After 15 years in the theater world, the graduating philosophy major has his eyes on law school now.

Ava Hollis graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and will continue on to complete a master’s degree in public health through the UVA School of Medicine.

A Miller Arts Scholar, Cecilia Huang is headed next to Northwestern University to pursue a master's degree in the Leadership for Creative Enterprises program.

As student chair of UVA Housing & Residence Life, Morgan Hughes juggled plenty of responsibilities with two majors.

Award-winning undergrad Isabella Lee graduates with a degree in chemistry and the experience of working in a cutting-edge research lab at UVA.

Cassie Lipton wanted more than just a college degree; she wanted to make a difference.

Lauren Mehfoud will be a postdoctoral Jefferson Scholars Foundation fellow this fall, teaching Engagements seminars for first-year students.

After graduation, Sean Miller will start his career with Oliver Wyman, a management consulting company with offices in Washington, DC.

Eden Phillips graduates this spring with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology.  A first-generation student from Appalachia, she has used her Distinguished Major Program thesis to examine the experiences of other students like herself.

Raghavan heads to medical school this fall, but a degree in economics and an outgoing roommate have given him new perspectives on the world.

Beginning her undergraduate career during the COVID pandemic helped Margaux Reppert see the importance of a public health mindset on her path to a career in medicine.

A double major in environmental sciences and religious studies, the Bedford County native of Virginia helped start an investment club to fund scholarships for UVA students of modest means.

After learning that she's been chosen as a Fulbright scholar, Alex Rosenthal will head to Australia to do research in astrophysics at the Swinburne Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

For Lawnie Maddie Stokes, the Lighting of the Lawn took on a new meaning in her last year at UVA.

“The faculty here teach you how to think and not what to think, and I really love that."

At UVA, Becky Williams combined her interests in astronomy and biology in a search for signs of life on other planets and clues to the origins of life on our own.

Meixin Yu's cognitive science major informed her creative work as an actor and producer of UVA stage productions.