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Two William & Mary Alumni Selected as Schwarzman Scholars

Nitya Labh ’22 and Alton Coston ’23 have been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious graduate fellowships

December 15, 2023
By Claire De Lisle M.B.A. ’21

Photos by Stephen Salpukas

Two William & Mary alumni — Nitya Labh ’22 and Alton Coston ’23 — have been selected as Schwarzman Scholars, one of the premier graduate fellowships in the world. The scholarship provides one year of funding for graduate study in global affairs at Schwarzman College on the campus of Tsinghua University in Beijing. It also provides an immersive experience in China, guest lectures from prominent global leaders, and career development resources including internships and mentors.

Labh and Coston are two of only 150 applicants selected from a pool of more than 4,000. This year’s cohort of scholars are from 114 universities and 43 countries around the world, with one-third of the cohort from the U.S. The scholarship is highly selective. Applicants are chosen based on leadership potential, intellect and character, and finalists are interviewed by panels of leaders from higher education, nonprofits and the private sector.

Labh was an international relations major at William & Mary, where she also served as a research fellow for W&M’s Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS) and as a researcher for the Global Research Institute and the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After graduation, she joined the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), a foreign policy think tank located in Washington, D.C. Read more about her in this 2022 W&M News article.

Coston was a public policy and Africana studies major at William & Mary, where he was awarded the university’s inaugural John Lewis Social Justice Award, which honors a student with the potential to carry forward the legacy of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis. He served as president of William & Mary’s African American Male Coalition and undersecretary of multicultural affairs for the Student Assembly. After graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Truman Scholarship, which provides funding for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling and internship and fellowship opportunities within the federal government. Read more about him in this 2022 W&M News article.