Jepson alumni Benjamin Weiser and Ally Osterberg in their Oxford graduation robes

Jepson Scholars earn master's degrees at Oxford

December 4, 2023

Ally Osterberg, ’22, and Benjamin Weiser, ’22, were all smiles on Nov. 4 as they celebrated their graduation from University of Oxford master’s programs. Their journey to Oxford began in spring 2022 when the Jepson School of Leadership Studies named the two graduating University of Richmond seniors Jepson Scholars, an honor that comes with all-expenses-paid scholarships to one-year Oxford master’s programs. 

Osterberg, who majored in leadership studies and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian studies at Richmond, earned a Master of Science in Latin American Studies at Oxford. Her master’s dissertation was on the historic causes of food insecurity and malnutrition in Guatemala. 

“This research led me to develop a really strong interest in malnutrition and hunger, an interest I wanted to explore more from a public health lens,” Osterberg said. Eager to extend her time in the U.K. after completing her Oxford studies, she recently started work in London as a junior consultant at Kaleidoscope Health and Care, a nonprofit social-enterprise consultancy with a health care focus. In this role, she travels throughout the U.K. facilitating events that bring together diverse voices to tackle a range of public health concerns. 

“I’m always learning something new about public health issues — from clinician burnout, to hospital strategy failure, to organizational development, to the health impacts of frailty and hunger,” she said. “It’s been so interesting to take a deep dive into a health system that is so different from the one I grew up with!” 

Weiser, who majored in leadership studies and political science at Richmond, earned a Master in Public Policy from Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. He completed his required master’s summer project with Drexel University’s Nowak Metro Finance Lab, located in Philadelphia. The lab helps cities develop strategies to fund public infrastructure projects, with a focus on supporting inclusive and equitable growth. Since his Oxford graduation, Weiser has worked at the lab as a graduate research analyst. 

“My work focuses on research and policies around industrial and energy transitions, infrastructure projects, and public procurement,” he said. One of his job duties involves crafting public-good case stories on infrastructure projects funded by infrastructure legislation and related federal investments. 

“These case stories offer insights to cities seeking to replicate these efforts,” Weiser said. “My Jepson education aids me in understanding how local leaders are guiding their communities to build support for and execute these projects, while my Oxford education allows me to provide a more technical analysis of specific projects and make recommendations for replicating infrastructure projects.”

Both Jepson Scholars described their Oxford graduate school experience as life-changing and expressed their gratitude to the Jepson School for making it possible.

“The single greatest lesson I learned from Oxford is that knowledge matters only if you use it, and the importance of how you use your knowledge cannot be overstated,” Osterberg said.

A lesson Osterberg and Weiser have learned well.