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Beverly Thompson Oral History Interview, 2018 November 9


Scope and Contents

Oral history conducted for the Living the Legacy: 50th Anniversary of African Americans in Residence commemoration. Beverly Thompson arrived at William & Mary in 1994, four years after graduating from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. In her five years at the College, Thompson forged lasting relationships with faculty and completed a dissertation as a part of her program. After graduating in 1999 with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, Thompson began working at Sandia National Laboratories. Shortly after, she moved to take a position at Leidos, formerly named Science Applications International Corporation. She currently serves as a senior scientist under Leidos while also doing humanitarian work under the United Nations. She also works with Career Girls, an online platform providing young women access to career exploration tools. In her interview, Thompson says that she owes her husband’s assignment to Fort Lee for her time studying computer science at William & Mary. Despite the College’s historically unwelcoming environment towards African Americans, Thompson says that her department created a “family type of space.” She cites the presence of female faculty as contributing to this feeling of community. In the computer science department, Thompson researched in the agricultural field. She claims that this research aimed at “helping humanity” inspired her to continue working on humanitarian causes throughout her career. In discussing identity, Thompson describes feeling burdened by expectations and stereotypes surrounding African Americans at the College, while also feeling supported as a woman in the computer science department. Thompson emphasizes how the College’s program prepared her for the research she would do after graduation both in the biomedical field and in international development.


  • Creation: 2018 November 9

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.


From the Collection: 2.0 Linear Feet

From the Collection: 273.7 Megabytes


From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository