Senior Michael Q. May III Named Saint Andrew's Society Scholar

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 1, 2017—Williams College senior Michael Q. May III has received a scholarship from the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York to pursue graduate studies in Scotland in the 2017-18 academic year. May will receive $30,000 for his studies. May was one of two students chosen nationally to receive the scholarship.

Michael MayA physics and religion double major from Crockett, Texas, May plans to pursue a master’s in theoretical physics at the University of Edinburgh. He says he hopes to broaden his physics research in Scotland and that the experience helps him choose his specialty in the field. May previously studied particle physics at the University of Geneva while working at the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in a study away program his junior year.

“I am excited about the scholarship because it will give me the time I need to decide what field of theoretical physics I am most interested in before starting a Ph.D. program in the U.S.,” May said. “My year in Edinburgh will allow me to take all the electives I could want in a wide range of areas, from particle physics to mathematical physics.”

At Williams, May received a James B. Brinsmade Scholarship for physics, and has worked as an astronomy teaching assistant and a Writing Workshop tutor. He currently is wrapping up his physics thesis on the Dirac equation. He has worked at the Harvard School of Engineering’s summer program in collaboration with the Harvard Institute of Quantitative Social Sciences to extend the scope of currently used topic modeling programs in the R programming language from written text to video. He also developed software to aid in the identification of B(e) stars as an astronomy researcher at Williams.

May also has been active in student life at Williams. He is a member of the Williams sailing team, currently serving as captain; additionally, he was a member of the Williams Go Club and served as a first-year orientation leader.

The Saint Andrew’s Society Scholarship Program, created by the Saint Andrew’s Society at its bicentennial in 1956, has provided more than 150 scholarships “to promote cultural interchange and goodwill between Scotland and the United States,” according to the organization’s website. The society provides funding for two Scottish graduate students to study in the U.S. and two Scottish-American students to study in Scotland.

May is the fourth Williams student to be named a St. Andrew’s Scholar. Past winners are Anna Mullikin ’98, Emily Isaacson ’04, and Hannah Cunningham ’11 .


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.