For senior biomedical sciences major Karissa Highlander, the University of Mary Washington has been the ideal place to be an athlete and a scholar.

Highlander has pursued a research-intensive undergraduate science career while also starting at center on a women’s basketball team that this year soared to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Recruited from Osbourn Park High School in Manassas by Coach Deena Applebury, Highlander visited campus and soaked in the basketball program’s close-knit atmosphere. But what sealed the deal was the chance to participate in UMW’s Jepson Scholars Program, allowing her to do chemistry and microbiology research into alternative treatments for antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis.

And she’s found something else at UMW – a bonus family. When a military transfer moved her parents to California halfway through Highlander’s college career, people from both her athletic and academic spheres helped fill the void. Read more.