Honors Grad Comes Full Circle

Aug. 29, 2018
UA Honors alumni Travis Sawyer and Jeannie Wilkening at their graduation from the University of Cambridge


HONORS GRAD COMES FULL CIRCLE: Travis Sawyer returns with a Master of Philosophy Degree from Cambridge, launches into PhD studies

Travis Williams, along with peer Jeannie Wilkening, turned a 2016-2017 Churchill Scholarship into an advanced degree from the storied University of Cambridge in July. Now’s he’s back on campus here at the University of Arizona to cap it all with a doctorate in Optical Sciences.

With his passport pocketed for the time being, Travis took a few minutes to pass along his insights on school, life and what’s ahead.

HONORS: What are the most powerful memories from your Honors College experience?

Being able to conduct research supported by the Honors College Research grant (now called Spirit of Inquiry) was profoundly formative. Experiencing a new culture was incredible and the work I did inspired my growing love of research.

HONORS: What did you take forward from the College to prepare you?

The broad diversity of the Honors College paved the way for the wide variety of backgrounds and personalities I’ve encountered in graduate school, along with enabling an easier transition. Also, my Honors courses emphasized the creativity and critical thinking essential for graduate school success and beyond.

HONORS: What recommendations do you have for current Honors College students?

Get to know the faculty at Honors and those in your major, including outside the classroom setting. These connections, however brief at times, were some of the most rewarding and memorable of my academic journey. And they spurred me on to decide what to pursue upon graduation.