Alumni Spotlight


Kate Zhao (MSA ‘14) continues her academic journey at the University of Wisconsin this fall. After an exemplary undergraduate four years at Bates College in Maine, where Kate double majored in chemistry and math, she was accepted into the top Ph.D programs in chemistry in the United States. These included the University of Virginia, Tufts University, Brown University, Duke University, and University of Wisconsin.

“The success Kate had as a Miller School of Albemarle student coupled with her stellar performance at Bates College opened the door for her in nearly every top-level Ph.D program in chemistry,” commented Dr. Hugh Meagher.

Before enrolling in University of Wisconsin this fall, Kate taught an eight-day program in China called Veritas China. She shared her love of science and liberal arts with young students.


“Veritas China is a 8 days program to spread liberal arts education to students in China. We want the  students to know why the subjects are useful and meaningful, and we want to trigger the interest to students. Since in China, people study only for the standard exam to get in college but ignore why we study. I was teaching bacteriology in Veritas China to make more students like science and find out the excitement of science,” remarked Kate.

Like many MSA students, Kate has kept in touch with her teachers and mentors at MSA. In particular, Kate has relied on the sage advice of Dr. Hugh Meagher throughout her undergraduate career and during the application process to Ph.D programs.

“Dr. Meagher’s work with Kate highlights the community and mentor-mentee relationships that are present at Miller School of Albemarle. She is an exemplary student who benefits from exemplary mentoring from Dr. Meagher and other teachers on the Hill,” commented Head of School, Mike Drude.


Dr. Meagher’s positive influence on Kate’s life and academic path was recognized in her senior thesis, which Kate dedicated to Dr. Meagher.

In 2014, each senior was recognized at the senior dinner with a short citation written by Dr. Meagher. Below is what was shared about Kate.

Ke Zhao – whom we call by her American name of Kate, left her home in “Shindao” China four years ago to join us here at MSA.  Wow – talk about a student who has starred in every way possible on the Hill. She’s been at the top of her class for four years, her TOEFL and SAT scores are superior, her commitment to the community is strong and sincere – she too has been a member of our Honor Board.  To top it all, Kate just exudes goodness. All of these traits will serve her well at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine where she will matriculate this fall.

alumni, FeaturedVirginia