Seven Williams College Seniors Win Fellowships to Study at Cambridge and Oxford

Media contact: Gregory Shook, director of media relations; tele: 413-597-3401; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 18, 2019—Williams College has announced the winners of the Dr. Herchel Smith Fellowship for graduate study at Cambridge University’s Emmanuel College and the Donovan-Moody Fellowship for graduate study at Exeter College at Oxford University. The six seniors awarded the Herchel Smith Fellowship are Ari Ball-Burack, Roxanne Corbeil, Mary Kate Guma, Erin Hanson, Elizabeth Hibbard, and Zachary Ottati. Drew Fishman was awarded the Donovan-Moody Fellowship.

Ball-Burack, a computer science and physics major from Berkeley, Calif., plans to pursue an M.Phil. in advanced computer science. A passionate believer in the need to combat the effects of climate change, especially in resource-limited communities, he aims to apply his education and problem-solving skills to help advance clean technology. At Williams, he developed energy data visualization software for kitchen appliances during the 2018 Winter Study program, and he is currently a teaching assistant in the physics and computer science departments. A sports enthusiast, he has trained snowboard instructors as well as taught snowboarding lessons for the Williams Outing Club. He is also the captain and president of Williams’ Ultimate Frisbee team.

Corbeil, an economics and Arabic studies major from Oceanside, Calif., will pursue a Ph.D. in development studies. With an interest in development in the Arab world, she plans to focus her studies on the mechanics of poverty and its historical, cultural, and political sources. Influenced by Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism, her senior thesis at Williams focuses, in part, on aid allocation and the transition of power from international to local agents in the development sector. Aspiring to a career in development, she ultimately aims to work in collaboration with bilateral and multilateral organizations in the aid industry, with the intent to unite policy proposals with policy makers.

Guma, a history and English major from Locust Valley, N.Y., will pursue an M.Phil. in medieval and Renaissance literature and an M.Phil. in criticism and culture. In summer 2017, she worked at Philadelphia’s Early Novels Database Project, where she catalogued and updated records of 18th century novels from the University of Pennsylvania’s British and American Fiction Collection. At Williams, she is the Class of 1960s Scholar in English and serves as chair for the Library and All Campus Entertainment committees, a representative for the Department of History’s advisory group, and the class secretary for the Class of 2019 Leadership Board. She is also a recipient of the Steward Kirk Materne ’29 Scholarship Award, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Scholarship, and the Charles Brigden Lansing Fellowship in Latin and Greek.

Hanson, an English and comparative literature major from Lexington, Mass., will pursue an M.Phil. in criticism and culture and an M.Phil. in modern and medieval languages. At Williams, she has participated in panel discussions for Williams’ Office of Accessible Education and the college’s Claiming Williams event in 2017. She was interviewed for the student literary magazine Parlor Tricks and has contributed articles for Williams’ student newspaper and the art e-commerce site Sugarlift. As a Ruchman Student Fellow with the Oakley Center for the Humanities, she will present a paper this spring on her thesis project titled “Aesthetics of the Broken Body: Toward an Eco-Phenomenology of Illness in Virginia Woolf.”

Hibbard, a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and political science major from New York, N.Y., will pursue an M.Phil. in international relations and politics and an M.Phil. in public policy. As a researcher who hopes to eventually do policy work in the U.S., she will dedicate part of her studies to the British Equality Act of 2010 to build on her current research on intersectional feminist frameworks in legislative discourse and better understand how feminist theories influence law. At Williams, Hibbard is co-president of the College Council, a research services assistant at Sawyer Library, and was a team leader for Kinetic at Williams. While an undergraduate, she completed summer internships at the Office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Quorum Analytics in Washington, D.C., and the Human Rights Foundation in New York City.

Ottati, a philosophy and English major from Walnut Creek, Calif., will pursue an M.Phil. in philosophy and an M.Phil. in romantic studies. Inspired by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, he plans to work closely with renowned Kantian scholars, exploring the intersections between Kantian epistemology and Romantic aesthetics. At Williams, he was a teaching assistant, a summer research assistant in the philosophy department, and a Junior Advisor. He is a member of the varsity swim team. An aspiring professor, he will take advantage of Cambridge’s multiple teaching workshops for its graduate students in order to further develop his discussion and presentation skills.

Fishman, a Chinese and political economy major from Miami, Fla., will pursue an M.Phil. in modern Chinese studies, combining intensive Mandarin language study with comprehensive classes on modern China. Conducting research in Chinese as well as attending a three-month program-sponsored language course in China at the beginning of his second year, he plans to write a thesis on China and international political economy. At Williams, he is co-president and treasurer of the Williams College Law Society and was a political economy research assistant. During his junior year, he studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and last summer he studied Mandarin at Harvard Beijing Academy in Beijing, China.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.