Victor Wu and Jason Zavras, members of the Class of 2022 at Dartmouth, majored in Quantitative Social Science (QSS) and graduated on June 12, 2022 as College valedictorians.
Victor, who is from Hercules, CA, triple majored in Quantitative Social Science, Environmental Studies, and Government and was awarded Phi Beta Kappa. He will attend Stanford Law School this fall and, with the goal of becoming a law professor, plans to pursue a PhD in political science in addition to a JD.
At Dartmouth, Victor coauthored publications on economic mobility and on correcting climate and COVID-19 misinformation. He earned high honors and the Downey Family Prize in Environmental Studies for his honors thesis, advised by Professor of Environmental Studies Richard Howarth, exploring community choice aggregations—programs that allow local governments to procure energy on behalf of their residents. Victor also received a Stamps Scholarship for a two-year research project on hydropower development in the Mekong River.
A member of the Dartmouth triathlon team who competed in the 2021 Olympic-Distance Triathlon National Championships, Victor says the sport—which requires hours of training in the outdoors—has inspired his passion for the environment. Victor's experience as a policy debater, most recently with the Dartmouth Forensics Union, has helped him focus his interest on environmental policy and law. Victor participated in the fall 2021 environmental studies off-campus program, studying community-based natural resource management throughout New England.
Victor has completed internships with the Environmental Law Institute and the U.S. Department of Justice's Natural Resources Division as well as the Dartmouth Sustainability Office and Bright Line Watch. Wu also participated in the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy's Global Leadership and Management and Leadership Development programs.
Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan (Bright Line Watch) says: "Victor is an incredible student who completed two separate independent research projects during his senior year - one for QSS and one for ENVS. Both represent publishable professional-quality research. I've worked with him in for several years and he never fails to impress with his dedication and commitment."
As a double major in QSS and Biochemistry, Jason Zavras will be working as a predoctoral research fellow at the MIT Broad Institute and Harvard University on cutting edge diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. During this time, Jason will be applying to combined MD-PhD programs and hopes one day to become a leader in biotechnology and work toward pioneering innovative solutions for those most affected by disparities in health.
In his final year on campus, Jason wrote an honors thesis, titled "Short-Term Save, Long-Term Loss? Recession and Population Health in the OECD" and supervised by Associate Professor of Sociology Jason Houle. In his thesis, Jason explored health the relationship between economic recessions and health outcomes.