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Student Stories

Kevin Heaney (MPP ’22) and Sydney Pulliam (BA ’22)

Thanks to two University of Virginia alumni, Batten students with an interest in national security have a new pathway to success through the Duke-Richards National Security Fellowship. Batten students Kevin Heaney (MPP ’22) and Sydney Pulliam (BA ’22) are the first recipients of the fellowship.

Matt Gillam

Matt Gillam (BA ’21), a proud Long Islander, knew he wanted to be a Batten student from the moment he learned about the School. After graduating this month, he'll bring the leadership skills he gained during his time at Batten, along with his passion for service, to the classroom with Teach for America.

jasmine Rangel student spotlight

The location of Batten Student Jasmine Rangel’s (MPP '21) childhood house changed the course of her life. Now, she’s working to ensure that everyone has a stable, affordable home. 

class of 2020 ceremonies

On Sunday, May 16, more than 2,800 of the graduates who gathered around screens last year massed behind the Rotunda, in person and in full color. A year in the making, Sunday’s ceremonies were full of touching moments, joyful reunions and some fun surprises, including a poem from Batten grad Hannah Semmes (BA '20).

MPP student Sean Bielawski. (Graphic by Macy Brandon)

A former sports journalist and investment banker, Batten’s Sean Bielawski, who will graduate with his MPP next week, has no regrets about saying yes to everything.

legacy and pilot award winners

The Pilot and Legacy Awards are the most prestigious student-nominated awards for graduating MPP and BA students. This year, a record number of nominations were submitted by Batten students, faculty and staff who were impacted by Batten’s Class of 2021.


Batten student Heeyon Joy Kim (MPP '21), who has been taking classes remotely from Korea during the pandemic, is working to be a voice for vulnerable children.


As he awaits the NFL Draft this week, Batten student and co-captain of the football team Terrell Jana (BA '21), looks back on his time at UVA, where he learned that athletes can shape public policy.


Tatenda Mabikacheche (MPP ’21) grew up in Zimbabwe during a period of incredible economic instability. What she’s learned during her time at Batten, she said, can help her country rebuild.

Rachel Walet

From UVA history to education in prisons, Batten student Rachel Walet (MPP ‘21) is unafraid to tackle tough issues.