When asked the typical interview question, “If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?,” Reece Wilson ’24 said, “I would want to meet myself in 10 years.” And not for the reason you might expect. Wilson is not interested in learning if his future self is rich or famous. He wants to know if he has remained driven and ambitious. He also wants to make sure that his future self has fulfilled his promise to return to his hometown of Kelty, Fife, Scotland, where he intends to build community resiliency by investing in youth education and opportunity initiatives.
In order to achieve his dream, Wilson applied to and was accepted to the Sutton Trust US Programme, which supports British students from low and middle income backgrounds to access top universities in the United States. The program is delivered in partnership between the Sutton Trust and the US-UK Fulbright Commission.
Highly competitive, the Sutton Trust US Programme receives 1,000 applications every year. Only 200 applicants are accepted to the first round of the program. Scholars travel to the United States to attend information sessions at MIT, Harvard and other colleges and universities. Wilson says he went from never having flown on a plane to taking 14 flights in 6 months to cities throughout the U.K. and U.S., including London, Nottingham and Boston. He was also selected after a competitive second round to receive further support during the college application process.
In his Common App essay, Wilson wrote his personal essay about an abandoned house in the city of Kelty. The essay is an extended metaphor for his feelings toward his hometown. His writing navigates themes such as fear of the unknown, poverty and stagnancy. Wilson will be the first in his family to attend college.
A key characteristic of Sutton Trust US Programme scholars is a demonstrated interest in the United States and a United States education. Wilson resolved to study across the Atlantic Ocean after he learned about the liberal arts model.
“I had no interest in attending lectures at a university, where a couple hundred students listen to a professor at the front of the room, return home and then memorize what that person said. I want to have conversations with my peers about how to change the world, and I definitely want to put the knowledge I learn into action,” he says. HWS stood out to Wilson specifically because of programs that integrate academic enrichment with professional experiences, such as the HWS Guaranteed Internship Program.
At HWS, Wilson intends to pursue studies in architecture. In high school, Wilson studied graphic design through an elective course. He received the highest marks in Scotland during his year-end assessment in which he demonstrated excellence abilities in digital and physical media. He also aced an oral examination. During his final year of high school, Wilson volunteered to teach graphic design computer programs to underclassmen.
Wilson has already connected with Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Stan Matthews and Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Lilianna Leopardi, with whom he is excited to take courses.