Margaret Walker among 62 scholars chosen for national award
SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 BY CLARA TURNAGE
The program funds the first year of a member’s graduate study.
The Suwannee, Georgia, native graduated in May with degrees in public policy leadership and integrated marketing communications. She plans to put the $8,500 funding toward a law degree at the University of Virginia.
“This fellowship financially supports my long-standing passion for the law,” she said. “It allows me to more fully invest in my niche passions at the University of Virginia.”
During her time at Ole Miss, Walker became a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Scholar, Lott Scholar and Stamps Scholar and earned the Capstone Medal for Demographic/Economic Collegiate Research and a Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic honor. University officials inducted her into the UM Hall of Fame in April.
Walker said the accomplishment she’s most proud of, however, is serving as founder and president of Period@UM. The women’s advocacy group provides sanitary pads and tampons on campus. Under Walker’s leadership, the group distributed more than 20,000 products and rallied to bring free pad and tampon dispensers to high-traffic campus buildings.
“I am proud to have created an open, inclusive environment where students can work together toward a common goal,” she said. “Alongside Dr. Holland’s leadership class, Period@UM successfully campaigned for the university to fund free menstrual product dispensers across campus.
“Starting this conversation and advocating for change made an impact that will exist long after I graduate.”
Walker plans to continue her advocacy of women and menstruators.
“I look forward to working at the intersection of international law, conflict studies and gender advocacy,” she said. “Studying law at the University of Virginia will enable me to advocate for women in both the courtroom and policy arena.”
Ashleen Williams, an instructional assistant professor in the Office of the Provost, met Walker during the application process for the Stamps Scholar program. Even before her freshman year, Walker was passionate about issues of social justice and equality, Williams said.
“Her drive comes from a place of real authenticity, and I think she cares deeply about issues of justice,” she said. “She is dedicated to a love of learning and the betterment of humanity, and she certainly has put action behind her words. She’s not somebody who just talks a good game.”