Name: William FurlowWilliam
Undergraduate School: University of Texas at Tyler
Undergraduate Major: BS Biology (Magna Cum Laude)
MS Program/Concentration: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Hometown and/or Current City: Rockville, MD

Why did you apply to Georgetown University?
I applied to Georgetown University because it has a thriving STEM ecosystem, where there is constant collaboration between faculty members, businesses, schools, and government agencies. This environment is clearly evident from the higher standards instilled in the student’s classrooms, throughout the various science disciplines, but also campus wide.

Georgetown University sets the standard, producing leaders who put the country ahead of politics through civil negotiation tactics, bipartisanship, and compromise. GU alumni exhibit strong analytical abilities, communication skills, and a penchant for action—all qualities that prominent, public-sphere leaders should possess. Courses with exposure to the lab, complemented with theoretical classes in a bioethical and legal framework (which include intellectual property issues), would most prepare me to work in science policy.

The faculty is prestigious, along with studies with laboratories at the nearby National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Defense and the private sector in the Washington metropolitan area. Perhaps most attractive to me is GU prowess in producing finalists for the Presidential Management Fellowship. When you combine these advantages with the faculty, and the rigor of the curriculum, which would facilitate term-time jobs and internships in the field, I cannot imagine an opportunity better tailored to my needs. Georgetown’s MS is placing me at the center of the most exciting, high-stakes debates our country is now facing and is equipping me to influence upcoming generations.

As a DMV Hoyas Biomedical Academic Scholarship recipient, you were selected because your application to Georgetown “demonstrated a commitment to biomedical research and graduate studies at the Masters’ level.” What do you hope to accomplish here at Georgetown and/or what is your interest in biomedical research or graduate studies?
Over the years I have gained so much knowledge working alongside scientists, policy experts, and leaders, through both school and work. This knowledge was gained through experiences that challenged me, by working at numerous non-profits in Washington D.C. that focused on science and at the intersection of law and science. Working at organizations such as the American Security Project and STEMconnector® truly challenged me to expand my comfort zone. These opportunities that afforded me the opportunity to meet with leaders within the science community to think up solutions, such as how to deal with the disruption that is occurring among Higher Education in STEM, or the implication that the Iran Nuclear deal has on the U.S.

            My interests in my graduate studies is to gain more insight into the Biomedical Sciences, so that I can apply that knowledge towards law. Law and science may seem like opposites, but my goal is to use my background in both to be a point of intersection and inclusion. It is from this intersection, that I am inspired to become involved in fields of law that incorporate science, such as Healthcare, or Intellectual Property Law, and to be an advocate for the scientific research community. I will draw upon my extensive scientific research background and then combine that with my legal education and skills to make an impact in human health, future technologies, and compassionate research that promotes forward thinking in law and science.

What is something interesting or unique about you that very few people know?
Interesting enough I was born and raised in a rustic, country town in East Texas (Yes my congressman is Louie Gohmert R-TX 1st District, to the political junkies) where I learned to build barbed-wire fences, maintain cattle, mow pastures, and treasure the ritual of outdoor chores. Conservative ideology was a way of life for my family, and I grew up immersed in very traditional beliefs and customs. That ideology taught me, among other things, that being gay was unacceptable and that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. When I realized that I myself am gay, these social norms pitted me against my community, thus creating an inner spark that pushed me to defy those who were attempting to marginalize me. Rather than be defined by others’ opinions of my sexuality, I embraced my own self-definition and resolved to help other LGBT people do the same.